7 Signs Your Relationship Is Going Through Some Growing Pains
As we all know, the blissful honeymoon phase of a relationship won't last forever. At some point, it should transition into something deeper and more meaningful. Unfortunately, that transition won't always be the easiest. If you've been experiencing more issues in your relationship after the honeymoon phase, experts say your relationship may be experiencing some growing pains.
"Growing pains are present everywhere in life," psychologist Kelsey M. Latimer, PhD, CEDS-S, founder of Hello Goodlife, tells Bustle. "We initially love something new at the start, but after about six months we start to question the big decisions we make."
For instance, once the honeymoon phase ends, you may discover small things about your partner that you don't really like. According to Latimer, growing pains are necessary for figuring out if these seemingly small things are dealbreakers or things you can work through.
Growing pains may be uncomfortable. But as Amy McManus, licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle, it can be really beneficial for your relationship. "This is a phase during which couples often reach out to me for therapy," McManus says. "But for those couples who embrace the tough work necessary to get to the next phase, it's an extremely rewarding process,"
When things aren't going so well in your relationship, it can cause some concern. But don't worry just yet. Here are some signs your relationship isn't headed for a breakup, it's just going through some growing pains.
1. You're Not Agreeing On How Much Time You Should Spend Together
"Often a sign of growing pains is that one partner wants the couple to spend more time with each other, while the other might have work or other obligations they can’t reschedule," Dr. Caroline Madden, therapist and author of How To Go From Soul Mates to Roommates, tells Bustle. When this happens, the partner who wants more time together may take this personally and feel like they aren't a priority. The reality is, you can't be with your partner all the time and you shouldn't expect it. Life can get in the way, and sometimes your relationship will need to be put on the back-burner. As long as you communicate your need to spend more time together and your partner makes an effort to do so, you can overcome this issue together.
2. Their Quirks Are Starting To Irritate You
If you're spending a lot of time with someone, quirks you initially found cute may start to become annoying. According to Latimer, this is very common and isn't too concerning. The important thing here is to figure out what's really bothering you. Is it really just their annoying habit or something bigger that needs to be discussed? Either way, it's not a bad idea to communicate how you're feeling.
3. You Wish The Relationship Was Moving At A Faster Pace
If you're ready to take the relationship to the next level but your partner isn't there yet, it can leave you feeling like your relationship isn't going to go anywhere. But as Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, tells Bustle, this is OK and normal for a lot of couples. Some people need a little more time to be emotionally ready for a committed relationship. As long as you're communicating and open with each other about where you want the relationship to go, you can enjoy things one day at a time.
4. You Don't Talk As Much
Communication is important. So if you don't talk as much as you used to, it can be a cause for concern. But according to Mackenzie Riel, relationship expert with TooTimid, it doesn't necessarily mean anything bad for your relationship. "A lack of communication could be because of stress at work that's causing you or your partner to go MIA, or just a life rut," Riel says. As long as you make an effort to check in with each other, you should be fine.
5. You Bicker Over Little Things
"When you have growing pains, you may start to get on each other's nerves which would cause some tension," Riel says. If you or your partner is stressed, it can add to that. But just remember that all couples fight at some point. Bickering here and there shouldn't be any cause for concern, as long as it doesn't get mean. If you disagree over small things, it's OK to let your partner "win" every now and then. According to Riel, some things are just not worth the stress.
6. You're Not Completely Sold On Their Friends
You may not like your partner's friends at the beginning of your relationship, and that's OK. This doesn't necessarily say anything about whether or not your relationship will last. According to Trombetti, as long you're "reasonable," you don't have to be completely sold on them. With more time, you may learn to love them.
7. The Relationship Is Starting To Feel Dull
"Sometimes you hit a lull because you and your partner are in such a routine of behavior with eachother, that neither one of you does much to woo or wow the other anymore," Riel says. If romance has been lacking in your relationship, it's not the end of the world. It just means you need to make an effort to bring some excitement back into the relationship. "Plan a fun date or write them a love letter," Riel says. "All you need to do is find a way to bring back the honeymoon phase-feelings into your relationship."
Again, every couple goes through growing pains. It's completely normal and most of these small things can be worked out with a little time, patience, and communication. Once you overcome this phase successfully your relationship will be much stronger and closer. So it's not a bad thing at all.