9 Early Signs A Relationship Won't Last Long-Term, According To Experts
When you're in the beginning stages of a brand new relationship, it's easy to get swept up in how amazing everything feels — after all, it's not called the 'honeymoon phase' for nothing. But if your goal is long-term love, it's important to be able to view your new partner without rose-colored glasses, and be aware of the early signs the relationship won't last long-term. Yes, relationships tend to get stronger and deeper over time, and a slightly rocky beginning doesn't necessarily spell doom for the relationship. That being said, it's unwise to sweep red flags under the rug, because often, the beginning of a relationship reveals a lot about how things will play out in the long run.
"If you want to know how a story ends, look at how it begins," Shirley Johnson, a psychotherapist who specializes in helping women build self-confidence and heal co-dependent tendencies, tells Bustle. "What is most important in the early parts of the relationship [is] to actually be realistic about what one is experiencing. Paying attention to what is going wonderfully, and what is actually not working... When being aware of what is going on in a relationship, even of something painful, there is way more of a chance to actually address and possibly heal the issue and create a long-term relationship."
It might feel like you're being overly cynical if you're actively looking out for red flags in a new relationship, but you're actually much better off if you notice something that has you questioning the future of your relationship early on: that way, you'll have a chance to address it before any resentment builds or you waste more of your precious time. If you want to make sure that your new boo has real potential. Here are nine signs that could indicate your new partner isn't long-term love material.
1. You *Only* Feel Passion/Lust
In the honeymoon phase, it's totally normal to get swept up in a passionate whirlwind of lust, and feel like you can't get enough of your new partner. But if you feel like your relationship is based solely on this intense, passionate, gotta-have-them feeling, and there's not a lot else you have in common, that's a sign that things won't last when the sexy vibes fizzle out.
"The major indicator that a relationship may not last is when there is only passionate love," Beverly B. Palmer, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist and Relationship Expert, tells Bustle. "If the emotional high from the passion is the only thing holding you and your partner together, the relationship is at risk. If you 'fell head over heels in love' you can just as easily fall out of love... Holding on to your partner as the passionate love diminishes, when there is no other glue in the relationship, doesn’t work of course, because the tighter you hold, the more slippery your partner becomes. If you have common interests and empathic communication, that is the glue that can hold a relationship together even after the passion wanes."
2. You Feel Like You Can't Fully Be Yourself
For a relationship to last long-term, it's so important to feel like you can always be your genuine, authentic self around your partner. If you just started dating, it might take a bit for you to open up, and that's OK — but if you find yourself walking on eggshells lest you slip up and reveal part of yourself you don't want to share with your partner, that's unsustainable in the long run.
"If you can't be your full self in the beginning of a relationship, it can be a sign that you feel like there is a part of you that isn't appropriate for the relationship," Johnson says. "When we leave out any authentic part of our self — whether it be [an] angry part, depressed part, [or] kinky part — then we are setting up the relationship to stay on the surface, which will not support long-term potential."
3. Your Partner Communicates Infrequently
Every couple has different standards for how much or little they communicate with each other, but in the beginning of a relationship, it doesn't bode well for the future if you feel like your partner doesn't prioritize you, and communicates less frequently than you'd like.
"While almost everyone can easily say that they are busy, when you find that someone isn’t being responsive early on in the relationship, it might be a sign that they don’t prioritize you, or relationships in general," Erika Boissiere, LMFT and Founder of The Relationship Institute of San Francisco, tells Bustle. "There are no hard rules on how 'responsive' someone needs to be, and it’s equally important to be patient. However, remember, don’t be overly patient with someone who will end up wasting your time."
4. You Don't Like Their Friends
The company we keep says a lot about who we are, and if you realize early on that you can't stand your partner's friends, that could indicate that you're not really compatible long-term.
"[Not liking your partner's friends] is a huge indicator that the relationship might be headed for troubled waters," Boissiere says. "The bottom line is that we chose our friends, and often times, we chose people that are similar to us in some way. If you find that you don’t like their friends, be aware that your newest love might have some qualities in some of those friendships you don’t like."
5. You Notice Your Partner Adopting All Your Interests
In any long-term relationship, both partners need to be independent to some degree, and have their own unique interests and hobbies that are separate from their partner. If you notice that your new partner immediately tries to adopt all the same interests as you, that could be a red flag that they'll be too dependent on you for their happiness in the future.
"We find partners that are similar to us, and also, we look for those who are different from us," Boissiere says. "Be on the lookout that when your beau suddenly transforms into all your likes and dislikes, this might be a red flag. You love opera? Suddenly they do as well. You love dogs? What do you know, suddenly they have a puppy. You like swing dancing? They’ve enrolled in five classes. When the twinship is too strong, the other partner often gets bored or suspicious of the other partner’s motive. After all, we like people for their own uniqueness, not our identical match."
6. Your Feel Like Your Opinion Isn't Valued
The foundation for any healthy long-term relationship is mutual respect, which means that both partner's opinions are equally valued in any given situation. If you get the sense (whether subtle or not) that your partner values their own opinion above yours, that's a sign they won't make a great partner long-term.
"Sometimes this feels good at the beginning — maybe they always choose the restaurant, or what day and time to meet," Amy McManus, LMFT, Relationship Expert, and Owner of Thrive Therapy, tells Bustle. "It can feel like you are really being taken care of; you don’t have to do any of the 'work' of dating. But does their monopoly extend to the topic of conversations, who you spend time with, or even opinions on current events? If your opinion is discounted or ignored, pay attention to this red flag."
7. You Accept Their Faults, But They Don't Accept Yours
The longer you're with someone, the better you'll get to know the 'real' them — which includes getting acquainted with each other's faults and quirks. If your new partner has an issue with some of your less-than-perfect qualities, but expects you to totally accept them with no questions asked, that doesn't bode well for your romantic future together.
"If the other person expects you to be forgiving and accepting of their faults but they are not forgiving or accepting of yours, this is not reasonable," Susan Golicic, Ph.D., Certified Relationship Coach & Co-founder of Uninhibited Wellness, tells Bustle. "No one is perfect, and we all have faults that need to be accepted. If you are going to be there for them, they need to be there for you as well."
8. They Treat Others Poorly
In a new relationship, everyone is going to be on their very best behavior, which means that you should really pay attention to how your partner treats not just you, but those around him or her — because chances are that's how they'll treat you one day, too.
"Early in a relationship, people treat their partners great, because both parties are in love," David Bennett, Certified Counselor, Relationship Expert, and Owner of The Popular Man and The Popular Teen, tells Bustle. "However, look at how your partner treats others — their family, friends, and particularly service staff, like cashiers and waiters. Eventually, when the love fades, they'll treat you this way, guaranteed."
9. They're Still Stuck On An Ex
It should go without saying, but if your new partner seems to still be stuck on an ex — even if all they do is talk badly about him or her — that's a major red flag that they aren't interested in or ready for a long-term future with you.
"Stalking their ex on social media? Getting caught up in drama with the ex? Maybe even daydreaming about them? These are all very bad signs," Bennett says. "This means that their heart truly belongs to their ex. If this is the case, all it will take is one instance where the ex is extra 'nice' or comes back to end the relationship."
At the end of the day, it's up to you (and only you) to decide what your dealbreakers in a new relationship are. As long as you're aware of what you do and don't want in a long-term partner, and are savvy enough to notice any early red flags that your new partner might not be what you want in the long run, there's no reason why you won't have a happy, successful relationship — even if you have to dump a few duds along the way.