It's so easy to get swept up in the rush of lovey-dovey feelings you get from dating someone new. While you should enjoy those moments, relationship experts say the first three months of dating can determine whether or not your new
relationship is the real thing or has an expiration date.
"The three month-mark in a relationship is usually when you either take the
relationship to the next level and become more serious, or you decide that love isn't going to grow and you break ties," dating coach, Anna Morgenstern, tells Bustle.
Every couple goes through the
stages of relationships at their own pace. But three months is considered to be the average length of the first stage of a relationship. According to psychotherapist and relationship coach, Toni Coleman, LCSW, you should be ideally making that transition from "casually dating" to "exclusive" around that time. But this varies depending on how much time you actually spend together and how much distance is between you two.
According to Coleman, "
losing interest" isn’t exactly the reason some couples can't seem to make it past 90 days. "It's not so much losing interest in one another as it is making a decision that this relationship is not one they want to invest more in and deepen," she says. "They simply don't feel that the friendship, connection, attraction and interest are strong enough."
So will your new relationship make it past those crucial first 90 days? Here are 11 signs your relationship won’t last past three months, according to experts.
1 Your Partner Isn’t Consistent With Their Communication lechatnoir/E+/Getty Images
At the beginning of a relationship, texting, calling, and messaging might happen often. But if your partner is no longer predictable or consistent with their communication,
Emily Pfannenstiel, a licensed professional counselor who specializes in therapy for women, tells Bustle that's not a great sign.
"As your relationship progresses, your communication should be too," Pfannenstiel says. "They should be excited and wanting to talk to you! Playing coy is one thing, but if you feel like they go MIA on you every couple days, that's not good."
According to her, it may take some time to get used to each other's communication styles. But in the early stages, it's especially important to check in and show some investment in the new relationship. If you're unsure of your partner's level of interest, Pfannenstiel suggests matching the level of communication they give you. If they're barely communicating, it’s time to have a discussion about it.
2 Your Partner Isn't Their Genuine Self Around You
By the three-month mark, both you and your partner should feel comfortable being yourselves around each other, according to
Samantha Daniels, dating expert and founder of Samantha’s Table Matchmaking.
"You should feel no boundaries when it comes to texting when you feel like it, introducing them to your family, and being mad” if they say something to make you feel bad and letting them know it, she says. "The three-month mark is when the dating games should be stopping and you can both be your genuine, honest, real true selves." For some people, it may take a little longer to open up and be truly comfortable. So you may have to be a little patient, depending on how your partner is.
3 They Don't Invite You To Hang Out With Their Friends
If your partner starts making more plans with friends and isn't making the effort to include you, Morgenstern says, that's an early sign your relationship may not last. When this happens, the tendency is to cling onto the relationship so that you don’t lose it. You may text them more or ask to spend more time together. But as she says, "that is the absolutely worst thing to do."
Instead, give them space to figure out their feelings in order to move forward. "Plan a trip with friends for the weekend and have an amazing time reconnecting with your inner circle. Coming from a place of self love and inner confidence will save your relationship," Morgenstern says. "And if your partner does break it off, you'll be setting yourself up to walk away from the relationship as a whole person.”
4 Your Partner Doesn't Find Small Ways To Keep Moving The Relationship Forward
In order to create a well-balanced dynamic in the early stages, you shouldn't be initiating everything as your relationship goes on. If your partner's interest in the relationship isn't strong enough to take it to the next level, they may take less of an initiative, be less affectionate, and show less physical closeness. In short, there's going to be distance and you'll feel it.
"Couples should want to see each other, especially in the beginning," Daniels says. "So if you feel that your partner is straying away or they're coming up with invalid reasons to cancel plans, then this may be a sign they are losing interest."
If this is an issue, discuss it with your partner. You can offer up a plan where you plan a date one weekend, and they come up with something to do the next. But if nothing changes and you're still the only one moving the relationship forward, they may not be as invested as you are.
5 Your Partner Isn’t A Shoulder To Lean On
If your partner can't listen to you and show support in those first three months, Daniels says your relationship may not make it long-term. If you're going through something at work or with your family, they should be there to talk and listen to you.
"This kind of thing is what takes your relationship to the next level," she says. "It establishes a level of trust and strength for both of you to feel comfort when seeking comfort." And the same goes for them. If you're not the first person they go to when they learn something bad, they need to vent, or they need someone to lean on, they may not see the relationship as something serious.
6 They Don't Make Solid Future Plans With You
A partner who sees a future with you will hint at it through the words they use. They may talk about a trip that they want to take with you or plans for your birthday in a few months. But it's equally important to pay attention to the follow-through.
If your relationship is one that is destined to get stronger, Coleman says you will make solid plans for the future together. Even if you don’t meet their family within those first three months, you can make plans for it for the near future. But if your partner can't even commit to making dinner plans for next week, that's a sign you may not make it long-term.
7 Your Partner Is Self-Centered
Relationships don’t always have to be 50-50. But a partner who doesn’t consider your needs early on isn’t likely to change their ways as time goes on. If you consistently notice that they’re solely focused on themselves, monopolize most of your conversations, and don’t show any curiosity towards your life and your future plans, your relationship may not last long.
If that’s the case at three months, there’s a good chance that your partner’s needs will always come before yours or the needs of the relationship. As relationship coach
Ryan Haddon tells Bustle, “The one-sidedness will lead to resentment, and whatever you have just won’t go the distance.” 8 You Have To Work Extra Hard To Understand Them
You and your partner don’t have to agree on everything to have a good relationship. You also don’t need to share the same friends, interests, or hobbies. But if trying to see eye-to-eye with your partner frustrates you, or you get a sense that you don’t really “get” your partner by the three-month mark, your relationship may not go any further.
According to Haddon, relationships that last have clarity and understanding. “You and your partner may be different, but you find yourself interested in how they see the world from their unique perspective,” she says. “That can create chemistry and romance that can really keep growing over time.”
9 Your Partner Wants To Move The Relationship Faster Than You’re Ready For Westend61/Westend61/Getty Images
It’s important to check-in with yourself to make sure you’re comfortable with the pace in the early stages. Some people are perfectly fine with moving super fast, while others need to take their time getting to know someone. If you’re someone who fits in the second category but your partner is ready to make big next steps, this may not be the right situation for you.
Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and dating expert, tells Bustle, “Someone that wants to move fast and lock the relationship down quickly may have some flaws that will keep the relationship from lasting.” For instance, wanting to commit right away may be a sign that your partner is too impulsive. Once the initial excitement wears off, they may decide to move on to the next thing that excites them.
If you and your partner are on different pages about the pacing of your relationship, you’ve had a conversation about it, and they still keep wanting to push forward really fast, they may not be the one for you long-term.
10 You Bring Out The Worst Traits In Each Other
The early stages of a relationship shouldn’t feel like a never-ending soap opera. If your relationship is filled with jealousy, resentment, and constant arguing over the same old things, it likely won’t last after three months. “These are hard-stops for long-term, healthy relationships,”
Erica Cramer, LCSW, relationship expert with Cobb Psychotherapy, tells Bustle. “I'd seriously consider that probationary period over and save yourself the time and heartache.” If you’re feeling more frustrated than happy early on in your relationship, that isn’t a good sign for the future.
“You can't expect something that's broken so early on to become something else,” Cramer says.
11 Your Values Don’t Align
While your differences in hobbies and interests can add some excitement to a relationship, it is important to have similar values and goals for the future. According to Cramer, “These are a big determinant in whether a relationship can be successful on a long-term basis.” If your partner values freedom and space in a relationship and you don’t, this may cause problems down the line.
At some point, this may lead to constant arguments over the time you spend together and your partner’s commitment to the relationship. Figure out what your basic needs are early on, Cramer says. If you there’s something you can’t live with long-term, this new relationship may not be the right one for you.
Susan McCord, dating coach and talk show host, tells Bustle, "Relationships take work and need to be nurtured." As you go further along in your relationship, your partner should be putting a good amount of effort into the relationship.
It's tough to realize that the person you're dating isn't putting in enough effort to be in a committed relationship with you. But as Coleman says, "You can't keep someone interested if they're not." Besides, why waste your time?
Experts Anna Morgenstern, dating coach Toni Coleman, LCSW, psychotherapist and relationship coach Emily Pfannenstiel, licensed professional counselor Samantha Daniels, dating expert, founder of Samantha’s Table Matchmaking Susan McCord, dating coach for millennials Susan Trombetti, matchmaker, dating expert, and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking Ryan Haddon, relationship coach Erica Cramer, LCSW, relationship expert with Cobb Psychotherapy