8 Relationship Doubts You Should Never Ignore
By CARINA WOLFF
No relationship is perfect, and you aren’t going to always love 100 percent of the person you’re with. But some apprehensions in a relationship hold more weight than others. There are some doubts about your relationship you should never ignore, as they could indicate trouble for the future. Some conflicts can be worked out naturally over time, but other relationship red flags require some serious contemplation on your end.
“Your instincts are very important to listen to because they often clue you in to what you really feel about a situation, instead of what you think is socially appropriate to say or do,” couples therapist Laurel Steinberg, PhD, tells Bustle. “Regarding relationships, when we don’t behave in ways that are truly authentic to who we are, the whisper presents itself. If not attended to, this can result in anxiety and/or depression and possibly committing to be with the wrong person.”
Rather than ignoring the issues that are gnawing at you, it’s important you face them head on and figure out how they affect your relationship, both in the present and potentially in the future. Here are eight relationship doubts you should never ignore if you want a successful, long-term partnership, according to experts.
1. Chronic Dishonesty
If your partner is constantly lying to you, that’s something you shouldn’t take lightly. “Along with communication, honesty is a cornerstone to any relationship,” relationship therapist Dana Koonce, MA, LMFT tells Bustle. “Having doubts about your partner’s ability to be open and honest is a relationship flag that should not be ignored.”
When someone is chronically dishonest and it is affecting a relationship, it’s important to address it. “Talk about the problem externally, addressing the behavior rather than the person, and talk about how it affects you and the relationship,” psychotherapist and relationship expert Kelly Bos, tells Bustle.
2. Level Of Attraction
Feeling doubts or insecurities over your level of attraction to your partner or whether they are attracted to you is another important relationship doubt that shouldn’t be ignored. “Once the initial ‘honeymoon period’ wears off, we often see people in a different light,” Koonce says. “Doubts about your physical compatibility may not necessarily be written off as just ‘minor blips.'”
Feelings can be flighty and easily influenced, but if you are noticing an issue with your partner around attraction and you value this relationship and want to make it work, talk about it. “Try not to attach them to the problem but talk about the problem as it’s own external issue and have ideas at hand on how you can work on it as a couple,” Bos says. “Often we get stressed that the attraction won’t come back and we start living as if this is our future. Try to stay in the moment and enjoy the moment at hand without worrying about the future or next steps.”
3. Incompatible Future Goals
It’s important that your future goals align with your partner’s. “When talking about future plans and goals, do you and your partner find that your visions do not align with one another at all?” Koonce asks. “Having doubts about whether your future fits in with someone else’s vision of their future should not necessarily be ignored or explained away.”
It is important to discuss with your partner the meaning of the issue and whether you are actually on a different page or if it is just perceived that way. “Communication can always help, but it is also reasonable to end things when goals are incompatible,” Koonce says. “Too often we compromise and in the end still realize that the relationship was not heading in the same direction.”
4. Different Core Values
“Everyone has their own specific set of personal core values, and these often dictate the way a person approaches their life,” Koonce says. “Partners with core values that are entirely opposing one another — for example, one partner places a high value on working hard in life, while the other partner ranks this extremely low on their list of core values — would benefit from evaluating whether this is a doubt that can be managed or if it is something that could potentially be a road block to growth in the future.”
To evaluate whether or not your core values will pose a long-term problem, Bos suggests looking at level of importance, how it affects your other relationships, and how it affects your feelings of satisfaction in this relationship.
5. Feeling Small
You shouldn’t let it slide if your partner as always diminishing you or making you feel beneath them. “When we are in a toxic relationship, often subtle digs and devaluing comments can leave us feeling small or unimportant,” psychologist Kate Balestrieri, Psy.D., CSAT-S, tells Bustle. “This may follow on the heels of big declarations of love or commitment or may be in reaction to real or perceive rejection or criticism. We may be quick to explain away these almost imperceptible remarks and give a partner the benefit of the doubt, while all the while feeling insignificant.”
Making you feel this way can be a precursor to emotional abuse, and if this continues, you should consider seeking help from loved ones or a therapist to exit the relationship.
6. Questioning Their Loyalty
You should never be left wondering if you are the only one. “If you and your partner have declared exclusivity (or defined the parameters for an open relationship), notice if you start doubting your partner’s adherence to these boundaries,” Dr. Balestrieri says. “Often our gut knows when something is off, and if we doubt our partner’s fidelity, that is a huge alarm to investigate.”
If you’ve taken a good look at your thoughts, suspicions, and doubts, check in with a trusted other to process your fears and feelings. “Then it is best to be direct and non-accusing when asking your partner about your concerns. If they get angry or try to turn it around on you (i.e., gaslight you), it is usually an indication that you have caught them and they are trying to throw you off the scent,” Dr. Balestrieri says.
7. Questioning Your Loyalty
Some minor fantasies are completely harmless, but if you can’t stop thinking about the idea of being with someone else, it’s time to give your relationship some thought. “If you find yourself really wanting to date or wanting to have sex with other people, don’t commit to be in a monogamous relationship with the person you’re with,” Dr. Steinberg says. Take time to evaluate your feelings and be upfront with your partner regarding them.
8. Public Humiliation
“If your find your partner humiliates you in public by being socially inappropriate on a regular basis, don’t ignore this,” Dr. Steinberg says. “Not everyone is great at everything. By alerting the offender to specific subjects or ways of engaging that are off-putting, the person can change their approach. If the offenses are so big that others end their relationships with you or refuse to see you with your partner, this can become a dealbreaker.”
Relationship doubts are something to seriously consider, and these are some you should never leave ignored. Take the time to consider the parts of your relationship that don’t feel secure, and discuss them with your significant other, a therapist, or another trusted loved one.
Editor’s Note: If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1(800) 799-SAFE (7233) or visit thehotline.org.