When you're happy and in love, it can easily blind you to the problems in your relationship. If you believe that your relationship is going well, it can come as a complete shock to you when your partner tells you that they're no longer feeling it. There's nothing wrong with being positive about your relationship and where it's headed. But if you're too optimistic about your relationship, experts say, a lot of things can go wrong.
"If you are too optimistic about your relationship, you can start to take your relationship for granted," Katie Leikam, LCSW, therapist and owner of True You Southeast, tells Bustle. It becomes easy to forget that relationships take work every day. But relationships need "tune up and maintenance." Without it, she says, your relationship isn't going to last.
It's easy to believe that things will last forever when things are going good. But the danger in thinking this way is you stop being fully present in your relationship. According to Leikam, you may not be in tune to your partner's feelings and emotions, which can slowly break the relationship down without you realizing it. So here are some subtle signs that you may be dangerously optimistic about your relationship, according to experts.
1. Their Go-To Person For Advice Is No Longer You
Your partner doesn't have to go to you for everything. But they should be able to talk to you about the deeper, emotional stuff that's going on with them. That's intimacy and it's part of what builds and keeps a relationship strong. If you find that your partner is finding too much emotional connection with someone else and they are relying on this other person far more than you, Leikam says, your relationship with your partner may not be as strong as you think it is and it's time to talk about it.
2. They've Started To Do A Lot Of Things Without You
If your partner starts finding more and more reasons to exclude you from their activities, Leikam says, they may be pulling away. Yes, having space to do things without your partner is healthy. But if it comes to the point that your partner spends more time with other people than with you, the relationship may not be going as well as you think it is.
3. They Tell Other People About Their Accomplishments Before You
It’s good for two people to have a life outside of the relationship. But if you've started becoming the second or third person your partner shares things with, both good or bad, Leikam says, it could be a sign your relationship isn't headed in a good direction.
4. They've Started To Take More Than They Give
"There is no way that one person should have to always be giving," psychotherapist Laura Dabney, M.D., tells Bustle. There should a good amount of "give and take" from both partners. The effort someone gives in a relationship may start to drop off as you get more comfortable. But it should never drop off completely. If they stopped putting in the effort, it may be time to talk to them about what's going on.
5. They've Stopped Paying Attention To The Details
In relationships, the small things count. For instance, if you tell your partner that you hate a certain type of food and they take you to a restaurant that only serves that type of food, that's a problem. "Your partner is either not paying attention, or [may not] care to," relationship expert Vikki Ziegler, tells Bustle. Furthermore, if you find yourself forcing a kind gesture from your partner, you may be trying too hard to force something that isn’t there.
6. They Cope With Problems In Unhealthy Ways
If your partner avoids or copes with problems in unhealthy ways, you should never ignore it. Examples of this include ghosting when you have a fight or turning to alcohol or other substances to help drown out their personal problems. "What you're witnessing now is a window into how your partner will handle difficult emotions in the future," Licensed Professional Counselor, Julie Williamson, tells Bustle. While you may want to encourage them to get help, remember that you need to look after yourself as well.
Editor's Note: If you or someone you know is seeking help for substance use, call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357).
7. They've Stopped Saying "Thank You"
If you go out of your way to do thoughtful things for your partner and they don't seem very appreciative, you may be a little too optimistic about your relationship. Appreciation is something that you just feel. It's not something you can make excuses for like, "They were probably just tired." According to Ziegler, a lack of appreciation for the things you do for them can be a sign that they've become less committed to the relationship than you are.
When you realize that you're a little too optimistic about your relationship and where things are headed, it's important to take a step back and ground yourself. In order to do so, Leikam says you need to understand that things can change over time and relationships can be fluid. "Commitment can be very strong, but in the beginning or when things are taking a downturn, commitment can also be fickle," she says.
So take things day by day. Be present and pay attention. Check in with your partner to see how things are going for them. That way, there are no surprises.