Going through a rough patch in your relationship is inevitable. At some point, you or partner may be going through something, you may become distant from each other, or your relationship may reach the point of being so comfortable that it's almost boring. Unfortunately, not all couples can overcome it successfully. If your relationship is going to
survive a rough patch, experts say loyalty is an essential trait to have.
"The best way to look at a relationship is as though it's a rubber band — sometimes it's taut, and sometimes it's loose,"
Kac Young, PhD, relationship expert and counselor, tells Bustle. "Just because it's one or the other at any given time, it doesn't mean that it's wrong, bad or broken. It's simply going through a phase just like every natural person, place or thing on earth."
Relationships work the same way. They go through their fair share of good times and bad. But regardless of the rough times, a
truly loyal partner, or one who's in it for the long haul, will see a rough patch in your relationship as a "normal, natural and seasonal passage of growth," Young says.
So how do you know if that's the kind of partner you're with? Here are some things only a truly loyal partner will do during a rough patch in your relationship, according to experts.
They Will Encourage You To Be Honest About Your Feelings
Rough patches in the relationship can have you and your partner
walking on eggshells around each other. As Natalie Moore, licensed psychotherapist and relationship expert, tells Bustle, people will often sugarcoat certain truths in order to prevent the tension from escalating. "But this typically unconscious strategy is short-sighted," she says. "Dishonestly will, in reality, only make the problem worse because it erodes trust." Instead, a loyal partner will keep the "long game" in mind. They will see the benefit of staying truthful, even when it’s uncomfortable in the moment.
They Put Aside Their Feelings And Opinions To Listen To You
When you're in the middle of a big fight with your partner, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that you're on the same team. If you're not careful, you may end up saying things you don't mean. But a truly loyal partner will know when it's time to talk and when it's time to listen. "They will put aside their own feelings and issues and really listen to their partner," intimacy expert
Isabella Frappier, tells Bustle. They won't get defensive, interrupt, or start talking about how they're right and you're wrong. "They will listen so they can learn more about their partner, grow emotionally, and strengthen the intimacy in the relationship," she says.
They Work With You To Approach Rough Patches As A Team
When someone isn't loyal, they'll turn into a completely different person when things get tough. They may become selfish and will start doing things that are only beneficial to them. But when you're with someone who's loyal, they'll stay consistent, communicative, and will always hope for the best. As Rachel Perlstein, LCSW, relationship coach and co-founder of
A Good First Date, tells Bustle, "They'll approach rough patches as a team with a 'we' outlook, as opposed to taking a protective stance and thinking about issues as a 'me or you' or 'me versus you' situation."
When your partner is loyal to you, they will never paint you out to be the bad guy. They won't give you the cold shoulder or think of ways to get revenge. Instead, Young says, they will
do their best to remain kind. "They'll remember why you fell in love with them in the first place, give you the benefit of the doubt always, and will initiate a healing conversation by using words of love and endearment," she says. If you and your partner can work on that together, the rough patch will be over.
They Won't Lose Sight Of The Bigger Picture
"When you’re in the middle of a huge fight it can be challenging to see the big picture and act accordingly," Moore says. But a mature partner who's in it for the long haul knows that a rough patch doesn't automatically mean a breakup. "They know that discord is part of a normal relationship and will be able to take steps to move forward towards peace-making," she says.
If They Need Space, They Will Let You Know In A Way That Eases Your Mind
Everyone needs space once in a while, especially when there's trouble in the relationship. If your partner is loyal, they will let you know that they
need space in a way that doesn't make you worry. "Instead of walking away without any follow-up, they will inform you of their need for space, work with you to work your problems out, and reconnect with you in a place that makes you feel validated and supported," author and therapist, Connie Omari, LPC, tells Bustle.
They Remind You That They Always Have Your Back
When someone is going through a personal rough patch, it's easy for those who don't care enough to leave. But when a person expresses that they will be there for you no matter what, Omari says that this is a true sign that they will work with you through any sort of trouble in the relationship. During a rough patch, a loyal partner will never make you feel anything less than loved. According to Omari, an affirmation of their feelings will not only be expressed verbally, but will be backed up by their actions.
Loyalty isn't something that's typically given freely. It's something that's usually earned. The good news is, you can build
loyalty in your relationship if you feel like it's lacking. According to Omari, the best way to do that is to help your partner feel safe enough to be honest and vulnerable. "Sometimes, we avoid being vulnerable with our partners out of fear," she says. "But when we don’t trust that our partner will support us, then we often choose not to ask for their support."
It's difficult to overcome any sort of rough patch in your relationship when one partner can't open up and be honest about what's actually going on. But if you and your partner work at building trust and loyalty in your relationship, you two will be well equipped to overcome any rough patch that comes your way.