When you're in a relationship, rough patches can be a cause for concern. While every couple goes through ups and downs, not every couple will successfully make it out intact. But according to experts, there are a few things that can determine whether your relationship will survive tough times or not.
"One of the top reasons couples come to my practice is because they don't know how to manage conflict well," therapist Heather M. Garner, LCSW-C, tells Bustle. "Most relationship fights boil down to 'if you would just do it my way' or 'if you would just see it my way.' But our partners won't see it our way or do it our way because they are not us."
How you handle conflict as a couple can make or break your relationship. As Garner says, "Most people engage in behavior during times of conflict that can be extremely damaging to the fabric of the relationship." That's because some people haven't learned the proper conflict resolution skills necessary for a healthy relationship. If you know how to work out problems, but your partner doesn't, it's not going to do your relationship much good. So if your partner does the following things when you're having trouble, experts say your relationship may not last.
1. Minimize The Importance Of Certain Issues
"In my experience, the most damaging communication pattern is when a partner refuses to speak when their partner attempts to discuss a concern with them," Garner says. "I call this 'making lumpy carpet.'" Basically, sweeping issues under the rug is a form of "passive avoidance" that never really works. If you want harmony in your relationship, you need to be willing to talk out your issues as they come. More often than not, putting things off until later only makes things worse. The partner who minimizes the other's concerns may just be creating resentment in the relationship.
2. Take Their Frustrations Out On You
Life isn't always easy. Your partner may have a stressful day at work or issues with their family that are becoming overwhelming. It happens, and it's good to be understanding. But as Jordan Madison, LGMFT with Friends in Transition Counseling Services, LLC, tells Bustle, "It'll be very hard for the relationship to last, if every time things are hard your partner is taking their anger and frustrations out on you." You should be able to express your emotions and frustrations to each other. However, they should never snap at you, disrespect you, or treat you poorly just because they're going through something. "Resentment and hurt feelings may grow, and the relationship is susceptible to crumbling," Madison says.
3. Shut You Out
Everyone handles stress in different ways. Some people like working it out with other people, while others like dealing with it themselves. "The latter way of coping is an understandable one, but for a healthy relationship to last it may not be the best," Madison says. "One of the benefits of being in a relationship is having a partner to go through life with." If your partner shuts you out or doesn't communicate when things aren't going well, it's going to be hard for you to feel like you're on the same team.
4. Shut Down
If your partner completely shuts down when things get hard, this is a sign your relationship may not last. This is different than shutting you out — this is a person who refuses to make compromises or changes for the good of the relationship. Instead, they'll just go along with whatever you say because it's the easiest thing to do. "It's going to be hard for the relationship to last if your partner can't seem to handle when things get rough," Madison says. "Relationships are not always going to be easy, so you should be able to trust that you can count on your partner when things get hard."
5. Call Out All Of Your Faults
If you and your partner get into an argument, and your partner gets personal by throwing out hurtful jabs, your relationship is not going to last. "This means that your partner is going to blame you instead of looking at themselves," Katie Ziskind, LMFT, owner of Wisdom Within Counseling, tells Bustle. They'd rather paint you out to be the bad guy than admit that they're also part of the problem. In order for a relationship to last, both you and your partner need to be willing to recognize your own issues. More often than not, it's never completely one partner's fault.
6. Yell Or Talk Over You During An Argument
"Healthy couples talk calmly and respectfully about big issues," Ziskind says. You don't need to yell in order to feel heard. Your partner will give you time to talk and they will actually listen. But if your partner talks over you or starts raising their voice during arguments, it shows they may not respect you as much as you think.
7. Think Of Their Individual Needs Vs. The Needs Of The Relationship
If your partner's need to be right is more important to them than a need fix an issue, your relationship may be in trouble. According to Mackenzie Riel, relationship expert with TooTimid, this shows that your partner feels like their needs are much more important than yours. "They're more worried about healing themselves of negative feelings than trying to work things out with you," she says. It's basically you versus them.
The good news is, your relationship isn't necessarily doomed to fail. You can turn things around, if you're patient and understanding and your partner is willing to communicate and work on their conflict resolution skills. It takes both of you to make a relationship work. It's not always going to be easy. But if your partner is willing to work with you and put in the effort, your relationship can last.