How To Tell If A New Relationship Will Last Or Fizzle Out Quickly
Everyone loves the honeymoon phase. It can be giddy, and sexy, and full of excitement. But with a new relationship can also come trepidation, and wondering how to tell if a relationship will last is only natural. And while long-term success can be hard to indicate, there are definitely some sure-fire signs that things might be about to fizzle out.
"Some relationships have characteristics that cause them to last longer than others," David Bennett, certified counselor and relationship expert, tells Bustle. "From a scientific standpoint, relationships that last tend to have partners who value commitment, see the relationship in a very positive light, and have support from the social networks of both partners. Relationships that lack these factors tend to fizzle quickly, even if partners seem to express satisfaction in the relationships." But when you're falling in love (or in lust) it can be hard to break down what's really going on. That's why relationship experts, who see this kind of thing every day, are here to help.
No one wants to be blindsided by a sudden breakup, or by hindsight giving them a dose of reality. So while you're entering a new relationship, you can instead keep an eye on what's going on, to make sure you're headed for something solid.
Here are nine signs a new relationship will fizzle quickly, according to experts.
1. You Rushed Into This
Anecdotally, yes, there are some relationships that begin with a whirlwind romance. But if you have found yourself suddenly in a relationship, it's likely a sign that things are going to fizzle out.
"[Be careful of] going zero to 60 in 12 hours flat," Nicole Richardson, Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, tells Bustle. "If you rush into things, it is typically based on assumptions that you have made about the other person. When we assume, we often do so at our own peril." Remember, you're dating a real human being, not an idea or ideal. If you think you know them after a few days, or a few weeks, you likely don't. There are so many benefits to taking it slow.
2. You Aren't Having Serious Conversations
It's fun to get to know someone by asking about their least favorite animal, or most embarrassing childhood moment. But if you've made it all the way into a relationship without discussing things much more serious than that, you might want to assess where things are headed.
"[It's important to be] able to ask and answer real questions. Every conversation doesn’t have to be serious and heavy but if you don’t have any serious conversations, it will be difficult to build into something bigger," Richardson says. So try talking to your partner about something that's bothering you next time it comes up, or sharing a story that's a bit more meaningful. It'll be good to gauge how they react.
3. You Are Not Looking For The Same Things
You may not want to address this head-on if you're feeling particularly smitten, but it's important to. Otherwise, you might be surprised when things don't work out down the line.
"[It's not good if] you are not looking for the same kind of the relationship. If one of you wants a commitment and the other person doesn’t, things are likely to fall apart," Richardson says. So when you start opening up about those bigger topics, try opening up about the future of your relationship, too. It's better to know sooner, rather than later, how this person sees things going between you two.
4. They Are Emotionally Uncommitted
Lack of emotional commitment can mean a lot of things, but all of them are worth looking out for if you're suspicious your new relationship might not make it very far.
"One sign [when things don't work out] is that they weren’t really that committed," Bennett says. "For example, they may have kept a 'backup' person around, whom they were clearly attracted to and would engage regularly. Another is that they emotionally cheated a lot with other people. Finally, if you noticed a lot of hostility and unkindness in how they dealt with you, that would have been an early red flag." So basically, emotional commitment comes in many forms.
Plus, if they're wrapped up in their ex, stay away, says Richardson. It may seem like something you can move past together, but it's worth it to let your potential partner heal on their own.
5. The Relationship Is Built On Passion Alone
Sex and lust are fun. But if they're the foundation of your relationship, it's probably not going to keep you two together for long.
"[Be wary if] you are head over heels and the only thing you feel is lust. For a relationship to be long lasting, there needs to be deeper, emotional feelings to hold the relationship together when the initial excitement fizzles," Caleb Backe, health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. Another subtle sign lies in pillow talk.
If your post-sex conversations aren't scratching the surface, this might not be the real thing. "[It's a bad sign if] you never move past sex to have actual conversations [or if] sexting happens on a regular basis but you both don't talk about deeper things and thoughts and dreams," therapist and social worker Alisha Powell, PhD, LCSW tells Bustle. You deserve a sex life that's integrated smoothly into your relationship as a whole, not the sole star of the show.
6. Kindness Isn't At The Forefront
A new relationship can sometimes feel exciting with a dose of sarcasm and playful teasing. But unless your relationship is also backed up with a big dose of kindness, it probably won't last.
"Research by John Gottman has shown that kindness is a huge predictor of relationship longevity. If you and your partner are kind and generous to each other, you’re more likely to last. If you always resort to name calling, drama, abuse, and hostility (basically taking a defensive posture a lot), then the relationship will likely fizzle quickly," Bennett says. So even if the teasing or the fights seem sexy, it's important to know that they're not as good of a sign as plain-old kindness.
7. It's You Against The World
It may seem like it sometimes, but the two of you are not actually re-enacting a movie, you're living real life. So if you and your partner have your backs up against everyone else in your life, that's probably not great.
"While it may be exciting for you and your partner to stay together even if nobody approves, in the end, lacking support from your family and friends spells doom for a relationship. Without support from your social networks, a relationship will ultimately fizzle," Bennett says. And if you feel like this isn't applicable to you because your partner hasn't actually met anyone else in your life, that's not a great sign either.
"[The relationship will likely fizzle if] you don't bother with introducing them to your family and friends because you know that they'll never fit in and you'll be judged," Powell says. So trust the vibe from people you care about; they might be on to something.
8. You're Always The One Making Plans
You deserve a partner who is going to invest their time and energy in finding ways to be with you. And if they aren't putting in work to hang out with you, then that's not what you need.
"Always being the one initiating conversations or making plans is one of the big red flags people look back on ... When one partner is not excited or interested about spending time with the other partner, the relationship usually fizzles out," Backe says. So if you realize you've been the first to text, or first to suggest date ideas, for a while — bring it up with your partner. If they don't want to, or can't, change, they might not be worth staying with in the long run.
9. You're Skirting Around Bigger Issues
In the end, you know more than anyone outside of your relationship if it's going to work out or not. And if you're tiptoeing around certain issues already and you just started dating, you likely know things aren't going to last very long.
"Arguing all the time is not a good sign in a relationship, but never arguing with you partner can mean that there is an elephant lurking in the room and unresolved issues. Not being able to communicate openly with your partner could be a sign that the relationship may not last," Backe says. So try opening up about the things the two of you may be avoiding, and see how it goes.
You'll never be able to fully predict if a relationship will last or not (unless, of course, you're the one about to end things). But if you're wondering whether your new relationship is going to fizzle out soon or not, there are things you can keep an eye out for. Luckily, most of them are solvable with open communication and honesty. And if there are things that can't be solved, you can always just move on from this partner who may simply not have been meant to be.