7 Situations That Can Predict Whether A Relationship Will Last, According To Couples Therapists
Not every relationship is built to last. If you want to know if your relationship is going to make it, there is one thing that can clue you in. According to experts, how you and your partner act in certain moments can determine if you have a relationship built to last or not.
"Every single moment of every single day can make or break a relationship," Rachel Wright, MA, LMFT, the co-founder of Wright Wellness Center, tells Bustle. "Every moment we're together with our partners is an opportunity to make or break a relationship."
Contrary to popular belief, it's not always the big fights or the big moments that determine whether or not your relationship has staying power. In fact, Wright even argues there are really no "big moments" that make or break us. Instead, it's the collection of all the small ones that make the biggest difference.
The reality is, all couples will have their share of ups and downs. If you're looking to be with your partner forever, you should expect it. But how you respond in certain moments is the key here. So here are some big and small moments that can predict whether or not a relationship will last, according to couples therapists.
1. Disagreements During The Wedding Planning Process
If you are planning a wedding with your partner, you likely already know it is considered to be a high stress situation for most couples, Brian Jory, PhD, author of Cupid On Trial—What We Learn About Love When Loving Gets Tough, tells Bustle. You may disagree on a lot of different things from how much you spend to how many people you're going to invite. But according to Dr. Jory, couples who are built to last know that a relationship is not a competition. "They don't pick a position in disagreement and then defend that position at all costs," he says. Instead, find ways to cooperate and compromise.
2. Times Of Financial Distress
It's no secret that money and financial issues can contribute to a relationship's end. In fact, a 2018 study by SunTrust Bank found that one in eight divorces are caused by student loan debt. When you're starting to built a life with someone, a lot of debt can hold you back from buying a house or having kids. Fights about money can also get pretty ugly, especially if one partner struggles to get it together. Sometimes it really is a compatibility issue, but couples who are built to last can overcome this by working together and remaining positive. "They won't criticize more than they affirm," Dr. Jory says. "They don’t show contempt by name calling, mimicking, ridiculing, or humiliating. Because all of these are predictors that a relationship will not last."
3. Traveling Together For The First Time
Traveling with your partner for the first time can definitely test your relationship. A lot of things can go wrong. Dr. Jory says couples who are likely headed for a breakup will stonewall each other by refusing to talk, or the couple might even avoid airing out their feelings until all this tension has built up. These things will not only ruin your vacation, but it can also hurt your relationship.
4. Everyday Fighting
The small fights and arguments you have everyday can say a lot about whether or not your relationship will last. "Every single fight is a chance to move closer together emotionally or to break apart," Katie Ziskind, LMFT, owner of Wisdom Within Couseling, tells Bustle. When you fight, you should use your conflict resolution skills, share your feelings, and then let it go. According to Ziskind, couples that hold on to negative energy from past fights and use it against each other, don't usually stay together.
5. Moments Of Victory Or Failure
"Not validating your partner in a moment of despair or victory is a small moment that can make or break your relationship," licensed professional counselor, Nickia Lowery, MHS-C, NCC, tells Bustle. Think about how you act when your partner comes home feeling down or super excited. Are you just as bummed out or excited as they are? "How you respond in these situations can speak not only to your ability to support them but to their significance in your life," Lowery says.
6. Moments When You Decide Your Partner's Texts Can Wait
When you've been together for a while, your texting habits may not be the same as it was in the beginning. While Lowery says this may seem minor, it can speak to your inability to communicate effectively if you are consistently ignoring your partner. "What does that say about your feelings about your partner?" she says. "This shows a lack of respect for what your partner has to say and leaves your partner feeling unheard or perhaps powerless depending on the context of what's going on with the relationship at the time."
7. Moments When You Don't Follow Through With What You Say You're Going To Do
Saying "maybe we can do lunch today" may seem insignificant to you. But if you say it a few more times and not follow through, your word is no longer valid. A consistent lack of follow through violates trust. "Consistency is important in a relationship," Lowery says. "While these are definitely some of those moments we may not think of as a big deal, they are very impactful in a relationship."
So it's not always the big things that can make or break a relationship. The small things can and usually do add up. It's important to remember that every moment in your relationship matters, whether you realize it or not.