Many believe that meeting your soulmate means they'll finally be able to experience that easy, effortless relationship that only seems to exist in the movies. But in reality, that's not really the case. In fact, experts say, effortlessness in a relationship may be a sign that your
partner may . "I find that 'things coming easy,' ironically enough, is often an indication that the happiness one might be experiencing in a relationship may be founded on a rather flimsy foundation," not be your soulmate Mark B. Borg, Jr., Ph.D., Clinical/Community Psychologist and author, tells Bustle.
Instead, Dr. Borg explains,
the sturdiest couples are those who are able to navigate troubling times, develop the fine art of compromising, and make use of conflict to repair things. "This is consistent with contemporary developmental theory that suggests healthy emotional and relationship development occurs via the process of 'rupture and repair.'" Dr. Borg says.
Every challenge that arises is an opportunity for you to build and strengthen your bond. As uncomfortable as these challenges may be, they also cause you to grow. "The happiest relationships have a foundation of security that cannot be established if things are always easy, and nothing ever goes wrong," he says.
Healthy relationships require a level of maturity, and it takes some work to build a relationship that's made to last. So if these things are easy to do, experts say, your partner may not be your soulmate.
It feels great to win. But if you're always right and you're the winner of every single argument, your relationship may have problems. This could mean that your partner isn't really being seen or heard. "Relationships are about a give and take,"
Alisha Powell, PhD, LCSW, therapist and social worker, tells Bustle. "It’s important to communicate your feelings and sometimes be willing to let go of needing to be 'right' so that your partner feels secure and understood."
Fighting Over The Same Issues Again And Again
Fighting and bickering are completely normal. Every couples does it and sometimes
fights are necessary in order for your relationship to grow. But if you're arguing about one thing and it easily ecalates into a fight about a completely unrelated and unresolved issue, you may have bigger problems. "Fighting about the same thing over and over again may indicate that you and your partner have a fundamental difference in values or needs," Madison McCullough, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and therapist, tells Bustle. "These issues can certainly be examined through reflection and open communication, but they may also indicate a level of incompatibility that is hard to fully resolve long-term."
Keeping Your Spending Habits A Secret
You don't have to disclose your spending or saving habits if you don't really want to. But if you're looking to build a future with someone and you have no problem keeping your money situation a secret, they may not be the one for you. "Finances, budgets and spending habits can make or break even the best relationship," relationship expert and
spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport, tells Bustle. If you feel the need to lie or hide, it's worth asking yourself why. Do you not trust your partner to be open and understanding about your situation? Do you think they'll judge you? Or do you have a personal issue with money that you need work on yourself? It's important to get to the root of why you can't be honest about your finances because money can eventually become an issue for your relationship down the road.
Canceling Plans With Your Partner
"Schedules can pose problems in relationships no matter how well matched partners are in terms of common interests, life goals and recreational time," Rappaport says. Timing may not always be on your side. But couples who are successful long-term know how to prioritize the relationship. If they make plans in advance, they stick to it and make sure to follow-through. But if you have no problem cancelling plans with your partner, you may not view your relationship as a priority. If it's a constant thing, your partner may feel like you're taking them for granted.
Finding Small Things You Wish You Could Change About Your Partner
Whether you vocalize it or not, judging your partner or wishing they'd change something about themselves is not a good sign for a relationship that's meant to last. "A forever, soul-connected, authentic romantic connection means that you may not like certain things about them, but you accept, adore and love them anyway," Jamie Bronstein, LCSW,
"The Relationship Expert," tells Bustle. Judgment is usually a result of distance. So when you're quick to judge your partner, it may mean that you're feeling disconnected to them or the relationship.
Shutting Your Partner Out
When you're in a healthy relationship, you should feel like you're part of a team. But if you have a "me" versus "we" mindset, you may have a problem. As
Michele Lisenbury Christensen, MA, Relationship and Sex Coach, tells Bustle, walling off is a pattern in which one partner basically creates blockages in the relationship. "Some people wall off when things are personally difficult for them. While others shut their partners out when they’re doing well, only to come close again when they 'need them,'" she says. "Regardless, we have to allow our partner in if we want the relationship to last." If it's easy for you to shut your partner out for whatever reason, you're not creating a partnership that's built to last.
Saying Or Doing Whatever Comes To Mind Without Thinking Of The Consequences
You should be able to express yourself freely. However, it's important to do so with tact and regard for your partner's feelings. "When we say whatever comes to mind, or when we act out our feelings in dramatic, concrete ways, without regard for the impact of our words or actions, we’re caught up in unbridled self-expression," Christensen says. "It’s self-indulgent. If a partner puts up with it long-term, that in itself can create an unhealthy dynamic." Some examples of this include having loud fights, screaming, throwing things, getting drunk because you're upset with your partner, or leaving without saying a word. These are all signs of immaturity in a relationship. According to Christensen, "Learning to settle yourself down is a key to happily settling down together and building a relationship that can last."
Being with your soulmate may not mean that things will come easily. But it does mean you're willing to put in the work to build a relationship that lasts.