If Your Partner Can’t Open Up About These 11 Things, They Might Not Be "The One"
There's nothing more frustrating than being with someone who just won't open up to you. Sure, it's understandable that some people aren't always comfortable discussing certain issues, especially early on. But if you care about someone, of course you're going to want to help them in any way you can. So if your partner won't open up emotionally, could that mean they're not "The One?"
If you're going to be in a long-term, committed relationship, Susan Golicic, PhD, Certified Relationship Coach and Co-founder of Uninhibited Wellness tells Bustle, "There should really be nothing couples can't discuss. Subjects and topics of discussion should be wide open and endless."
Everyone is entitled to have their fair share of secrets and things they keep to themselves, and you should feel free to share those things once you're comfortable. Expecting your partner to open up in the very early stages of dating is also pretty unfair. But once you've been together for a while and you really believe they could be "it," major topics like future goals, family, money, sex, and insecurities, should be discussed, especially if they affect your partner or relationship in some way.
If your partner is not open to discussing these things, they may not be the one for you, Golicic says. "No one wants to feel they can't communicate openly in trust and love with their partner."
So if your partner can't open up about the following things, according to experts, it may be time to reconsider the relationship.
1. How They Really Feel About You
If your partner isn't able to open up and discuss how they truly feel about you, they may not be "The One." While they don't have to say they're madly in love with you right away, Tiya Cunningham-Sumter, author and Certified Relationship Coach tells Bustle, they should be able to say they care about you or enjoy your company. After all, if you're going to invest your time and energy on someone, you do have a right to know where you stand with them.
"Thoughts on the other partner or the direction the relationship is going shouldn't be kept secret," Cunningham-Sumter says. "If it's awkward or uncomfortable to discuss, there may be another issue needing to be addressed."
2. Their Plans For Their Future
Do they want to go back to school? Are they looking to move any time soon? Do they want to start a business? Better yet, do they want to get married someday? According to Cunningham-Sumter, plans for the future is another subject couples should be able to openly discuss.
"These kinds of conversations are important as you're getting to know someone," she says. "If a person isn't willing to share this information with you, it could be a sign they aren't that interested in a future with you in it, or they may not be as trusting within the relationship. If it's hard to open up about these things, it will be an ongoing struggle in the relationship."
3. Whether Or Not They Want Kids
It's a good idea to know in advance if your partner wants kids, Dr. Fran Walfish, relationship psychotherapist and author, tells Bustle. "I can’t tell you how many heartbroken couples have landed in my office way down the relationship road and discover they can no longer continue the relationship because one definitively refuses to have children."
The conversation also shouldn't be limited to just whether or not you want to become parents. As LGBTQ advocate and speaker, Hannah Simpson tells Bustle, it's important to be open about how you're going to make it happen as well.
"All couples should be discussing not just 'if we have kids, how many, and when,' but LGBTQ couples in particular, may also need to discuss how they will be welcoming children into their family. It's essential know the feelings each partner has with how they may contribute—genetically, gestationally, and financially—toward that goal," Simpson says.
The subject of children can be a major dealbreaker in relationships. Although being on the same page can make your life easier, being able to openly discuss your opinions with each other is just as important.
4. What They Want (And Don't Want) In Bed
If your partner can't be open with you about what they really want sexually, you might have a problem. "The bedroom should be you and your partner's sacred place," Bethany Ricciardi, sex educator and relationship expert with Too Timid “The Romance Company” tells Bustle. "If there's one place where you should be able to communicate honestly, it should be in there."
If you aren't feeling fulfilled by your partner, it's important to be open with them in a kind way. And they should be able to do the same for you. "Your partner should be able to compliment you and tell you how sexy you make them feel. You should also be able to tease and flirt with each other before, during and after sex," Ricciardi says. "If you're uncomfortable telling them how you did or didn't enjoy the sex, or they're uncomfortable discussing it," they may not be The One.
If you think your partner could be "The One," they should be able to talk candidly about their money and financial situation. "Money is an important one to be able to discuss as it affects so many aspects of your relationship including your goals and how you interact in the world," Rori Sassoon, Relationship Expert and CEO of VIP elite matchmaking service Platinum Poire, tells Bustle. "It’s important to be on the same page financially. Your relationship will always intertwine with money, so being able to manage expectations around this is a must."
6. Their Career
Sassoon says it's also just as important to have a partner who's open to discussing how they get their money. It may be a red flag if your partner does not want to share any details about their career, Sassoon says. While they don't have to tell you every aspect of their jobs, sharing nothing may not be healthy for your relationship.
7. Their Family
If you want to start a family of your own, knowing how your partner grew up and what their relationship with their parents and siblings was like is really important. As Michelle Frankel, dating coach and Founder of NYCity Matchmaking tells Bustle, it can tell you a lot about their attitude towards family in general.
"You don't have to have had the same type of childhood as your partner, but you should be able to be open and honest about it," Frankel says. "If you are contemplating a future with someone they should be open to talking about how well they get along with their family, if they're close to their siblings, how often they have family get togethers, or if applicable, why they don't bother attending."
8. Their Fears And Insecurities
What keeps your partner up at night? If you're going to be with someone long-term, they need to able to show you their vulnerabilities. "If someone can’t share these things with you, it will be very hard for you to truly understand them and what makes them who they are," Frankel says.
9. Their Mistakes
If a person can't say, "I'm sorry," psychologist and author, Douglas Weiss Ph.D. tells Bustle, they may not be "The One" for you. Being with someone who can't own up to their mistakes or apologize will be very difficult for your relationship long-term. "If they can't be flawed, you [may] be blamed for everything in the relationship," Weiss says.
10. Their Past Relationships
By the time most people meet "The One," they will have already accumulated some kind of past relationship baggage. Although you don't ever have to talk about each other's past relationships if you don't want to, it's not something you should hide.
"A person should be able to talk about their past relationships; the good, bad and ugly," Dr. Venessa Marie Perry Founder and Chief Relationship Strategist of The Love Write tells Bustle. "It's important to let your partner know that you’re not going to be judgmental or critical, but that you need to have a better understanding of who they are by learning about their past." If your partner declines to discuss it, however, this may be a sign that the person is hiding something. "The One" should be someone who's honest and transparent with you.
11. Their Health
Understanding your partner's health and family health history is important. Perry says, "You'll also want to know if they're predisposed to certain illnesses in the instance [they] begin to exhibit certain signs that indicate they aren't well." If your partner is not able to be transparent about their health needs, then it will be harder for you to understand their situation and offer your support later on.
If your partner has trouble opening up, Diann Valentine, Relationship Expert and author of Going The Distance For Love tells Bustle, all hope is not lost, but it's important to consider your approach when trying to help them be more open. Sometimes people will feel attacked if you pressure them for an answer, so they'll just shut down. Sometimes, they just fear being judged, so it's best to wait for another opportunity when they feel more comfortable. "A good approach to consider is to start the conversation discussing your own shortcomings, as this could disarm the other person and make them more receptive to the questions you are asking," Valentine says.
But ultimately, if you can't talk to your partner about important issues, then you might want to reconsider whether they're really "The One" or not.