6 Relationship Warning Signs Couples Should Never Ignore
The problem: A neglected partner
Surprisingly, only one-third of relationships break up because of cheating, studies show. But people don’t cheat if they’re happy, according to matchmaker Flicker. It’s another case of one or more partners not nurturing the relationship and leaving the other feeling neglected, she says, using celebrities Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert as an example.
“With Blake and Miranda, he’s saying she cheated and she’s saying he cheated — it doesn’t matter. They were never around!” Flicker says. “For 30 days out of the month, they didn’t even see each other. The relationship came apart because they didn’t spend any time together. They didn’t compromise.”
The solution: Flicker says a couple can come back after cheating if they get to the core of their problem and talk about it. The partner who’s feeling neglected needs to say so, and the other partner needs to step up.
Your partner doesn’t say “I’m sorry.”
While this may not seem like as big a deal as the previous red flags, the inability to say “I’m sorry” to a partner can have far-reaching repercussions. If your partner refuses to apologize when he or she has done something wrong, this is a red flag for a perception of inequality in the relationship. This inequality can be interpreted two ways, however; your task will be to uncover the ‘why’ before you can address the issue.
In the first scenario, an inability to say “I’m sorry” can be a way for your partner to project dominance or superiority in the relationship. When faced with a problem, you partner will unload responsibility to any one other than him or herself. They’ll talk around the issue instead of addressing it in a direct manner.
In the second scenario, I speak from experience; there are times when an apology has deep, nasty roots of inadequacy. Apologies are an admission of guilt, which is essentially saying, “I’m not perfect.” None of us are perfect, it’s true, but to expose yourself in such a way with the one you love leaves you vulnerable to criticism or rejection.
Not offering support when it matters
The problem: Loss of trust
“It’s a biggie,” Saltz said, adding that a loss of trust isn’t always the result of a dramatic betrayal. Often, it’s a matter of little things adding up.
Saltz gives the example of a husband sharing about a bad episode at work and his wife responding that he was the one at fault.
“It’s lack of support in a vulnerable moment,” Saltz said. “And the repetition of that kind of thing; you start to feel like, ‘I just can’t bare my soul to my partner,’ and that can be difficult to recover from.”
The solution: According to Saltz, couples need to recognize what’s happening and learn how to talk about it. Seeking help from a therapist is a good idea, however, couples often come to her too late.
“It’s not that they can’t be fixed, but by the time couples reach this point, often no one wants to,” she said.
Chronic nitpicking and criticism
The problem: Underlying disdain
When partners let negative feelings take over, they begin to see each other through a disdainful lens, said Dr. Gail Saltz, a New York City psychiatrist and TODAY contributor. When she hears her patients criticize even the simplest things about one another — such as how one partner chews his food — she knows they’ve let disdain get out of hand, and that, she says, “is a hard thought train to reverse.”
The solution: “One of the first things I do is to really discuss what brought them together in the first place, and get them to focus on that,” said Saltz. “The question is, are you able to dig out and resurrect what you liked that outweighed what you didn’t like? When you see your partner, do you see the positives outweighing the negatives?”
Excessively busy lives that keep couples apart
The problem: A neglected relationship
“Once people start going on their own way and getting busy and they stop making a point to spend time with one another one-on-one, their relationship starts to go sour,” said Flicker, (matchmaker) who compares a relationship to a dance that one person can’t do alone. People become so immersed in their careers and so used to spending time alone, she says, “they forget how to be a couple.
The solution: Make time for one another. Talk to each other. Do activities together. Here, the matchmaker follows her own advice.
Your partner is quick to become angry, yell or throw things.
Everyone gets angry sometimes, it’s the frequency and severity of your partner’s reactions that should act as a guide for your concerns. Expressing anger, even by yelling, can release tension, frustration and pain—if done in a safe manner; but it should not be used as a method of control in any situation. Using anger to instill fear in another is unacceptable behavior in any relationship.