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Red flags in relationships

What are some problems you might notice early in a relationship that seem small or that you might ignore, but that tend to get worse over time?

1) Inability to handle constructive criticism– as your relationship grows you will have more feedback to give. If your partner cannot or will know accept and utilize feedback your relationship will not grow.

2) A tendency to fight dirty– conflicts are bound to happen in a relationship. If someone goes below the belt every time you fight it will get increasingly more difficult to solve problems, stay intimate and honest. There are statements that can never be taken back once they are said.

3) Poor follow through on agreements– couples can come to an agreement and if one partner does not follow through it diminishes trust and the couple’s ability to solve problems. No one wants the job of constantly reminding a grown adult what they agreed to.

4) Poor boundaries with friends and relatives– If your partner cannot say no to loved ones the couple will be negatively impacted. If the extended family knows every fight or issue it will become awkward to spend time with family. When forming and maintaining a couple it is required to develop a feeling of separateness, of “us” to maintain their connection. Partners that share too much outside the couple can erode the feelings of connectedness, at times leaving one with a sense of betrayal.

What are some problems you might notice early in a relationship that seem small or that you might ignore, but that tend to get worse over time?

1) A tendency to change their mind depending upon what the last person they spoke to said. Partners need to know where the other stands to make decisions and feel known by the other. If one partner is a chameleon it can lead to distrust.

2) Poor self care– when considering a long term committed relationship, notice how the partner maintains themselves. Do they take care of medical and psychological issues? Can they maintain their home? Becoming your spouse’s parent because they won’t care for themselves kills sexual attraction and builds resentment.

3) Workaholics – many overwork to avoid emotional intimacy. Since emotional intimacy is the currency of relationships it is important to consider whether work has become an avoidance tactic.

4) Little to no emotional curiosity regarding your experiences/hopes/feelings. We don’t care about what another has to say if we don’t feel cared about. If you have a partner that greets you with their needs, wants and disappointments and expresses no curiosity about yours, just trust me on this one, get out now.

What should you do if you notice one of these problems early on? What’s the best way to address it as a couple, and is it possible to see improvement?

– Ask about the partner’s perspective of the problem. When discussing this issue, screen to see if your partner acknowledges the problem, expresses a desire to change, or if they have a tendency to blame others. If it the latter secure a good couples therapist

– Explore the options to solve the problem. Settle on a solution that feels like a compromise instead of a sacrifice. Talk about what are the roadblocks to the solution and create a plan that addresses the barriers.

– Solicit professional help when needed. That can be a therapist, a coach, a pastor and couples retreat whatever speaks to your issue. Do not look for a generalist, look for someone that loves/specializes in working with your issues and couples in general

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