While red flag is more of a warning but relationship deal breakers is a surefire reason to immediately abandon a relationship.
The blush of new love can easily mask potential problems, many of which don’t emerge until a relationship matures. There is so much magic in the beginning of an intimate relationship that most people focus on those aspects, rather than any that could divert them from that joy.
New couples also tend to think that past relationship problems won’t resurface in their current relationship. Sadly, my experiences do not match their optimism.
When the blush of new love subsides, the issues that were potentially problematic from the beginning of any relationship are bound to arise, challenging and sometimes obliterating the wonderful connections that preempted them. If not resolved, they can become dealbreakers, potential destroyers of the relationship.
As those less-than-desirable interactions mount, they can trigger negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. What might have once caused a mild reaction in either partner now becomes much more intense. Anger, resentment, and impatience begin to increase in frequency, last longer, are more intense, and take longer to heal.
If those early red flags had been faced and ferreted out when the relationship was new, the partners might have been able to overcome them. With the resilient reserves of new love, they might have been able to resolve or negotiate how to work around them.
Perhaps those slow, emotional leaks in their relationship love-boat could have been sealed while there was ample time to keep it afloat.
You’ll know that dealbreakers are emerging if you are increasingly finding fault with one another in ways you haven’t before. Once these issues are identified, you may still be able to work through them in time to rescue and regenerate your love.
Here are 9 common examples of eventual dealbreakers that are often denied or ignored in new relationships.
You may be able to recognize some of them that already exist in your current relationship.
1. Unequal Desires
In four decades of practicing therapy, I have never met a couple whose every desire was equaled by the other partner. Every intimate partnership faces the challenge of how to deal with those differences, especially as the relationship matures.
If those unequal appetites are crucial to either partner, there is bound to be strife as the couples struggle to keep them in balance. Over time, resentments and disappointments can mount if they dismiss their importance.
“I like to make love a lot, but without a lot of drama or worry in advance. My partner tells me that she needs a couple of days to warm up. When we finally do get there, it’s always good, but it’s happening less and less.”
“I need my friends. When we were first together, of course I spent all my time and energy with him. But now he actually gets pissed at me when I want a night or a weekend with them. I just didn’t know that other people were not that important to him.”
“I keep wanting to put money away for our future, but she wants the kids to have every lesson available. I want them to have experiences, too, but we’re living paycheck to paycheck, and I’m getting tired of it.”
“I truly love his family, but come on, every Sunday night for dinner? I want time alone with him and fun with other people. He’s so scared of disappointing his mother. It’s beginning to really upset me.”
“We had so many plans for adventures when we were first together. Now it seems like we are getting to be a really boring, predictable couple. I don’t even want to dream anymore, because nothing changes.”
2. Unresolved Past Relationships
At the beginning of new partnerships, most people do not confess any past relationship issues that may still be unresolved.
I’ve received many panicked calls from patients when they inadvertently come across an angry or seductive text on their lover’s phone, or get a personal phone call from someone who was left behind.
There can also be friends or family members who are not welcoming of a new partner. Sometimes it is a political, religious, or racial bias. Or, at other times, they had close connections to the prior partner and feel judgmental of the way the relationship ended. These kinds of prejudices may feel very reasonable to those who hold them, but often put the new love relationship in jeopardy.
3. Shifting Priorities
Every relationship has limited resources. Time, energy, money, availability, and other commitments need to be emotionally and physically funded by them.
When people are first in love, they do everything they can to invest all of their resources into the new relationship, often at the expense of other priorities. As the relationship matures, they will have to change those distributions. Other obligations re-emerge and require the partners to reassess how they apportion their commitments.
“We used to spend every spare moment with each other. We didn’t make any decisions without the other person’s okay and support. Now he wants to start a new business, and I desperately want us to invest in a house of our own. I never minded giving up everything for him, but I’m feeling more and more on the back burner here.”
“She promised me we’d have a family, but she keeps putting it off because of her career. I’ve been totally understanding, but now I’m beginning to feel like she’s not going to be into this. She keeps giving me excuses, and I’m feeling like she’s not being honest anymore.”