Bickering over whose turn it is to pay. A fight over a change in plans for the weekend. A disagreement over household chores and responsibilities. An argument over not listening or remembering something that was said in a previous conversation.
These may seem like relationship red flags, but the truth of the matter is: All couples fight every now and then. Conflict doesn’t have to always lead to a breakup. Fights or disagreements can lead to better solutions and a stronger connection and bond.
If you find yourself fighting all the time with little to no solution, then it may be a relationship red flag.
Here’s how to tell when the conflict in your relationship is healthy (and when it’s not).
Relationship Green Flags
Healthy relationships look different in every single situation. Happiness in a relationship isn’t something where one size fits all. Each couple and individual in a relationship has their own specific wants, needs, values, goals, hobbies, and more.
You may look back on something you dated years ago and wonder what you saw in them or why you dated them in the first place. A relationship that happened ten years ago is probably very different from one that you have or are looking for now. That’s because you’ve grown and changed, and so have your desires and what you’re looking for.
The signs of a healthy relationship usually include open communication, trust, independence, curiosity, playfulness, physical and emotional intimacy, teamwork, and conflict resolution.
Relationship Red Flags
Although healthy relationships can look different depending on the couple, there are certain relationship red flags that can be big indicators of unhealthy conflict in a relationship.
No Respect for Boundaries
Boundaries are crucial in any type of relationship. If you have a set boundary and you made that boundary clear to your partner, they should be respectful of that. If you start to notice pushback or pressure on a specific boundary you have set, it’s a big indicator that there isn’t mutual respect in place.
Emotionally and/or Physically Distant
Relationships form and grow through constant communication and connection. If you start to notice more distance in your relationship, physically and/or emotionally, this is usually a good sign that your relationship may be struggling. You should want to be with one another. You shouldn’t be trying to avoid each other or find excuses to not be with one another.
Disagreements Stay Disagreements
Even in a healthy relationship, conflict can still happen, but conflict resolution is usually what makes a relationship healthy. In an unhealthy relationship, conflict usually stays as a conflict. It’s typically not a good sign if you’re constantly talking about the same issues over and over again with little to no resolution.
An open and healthy relationship means that you’re able to openly and effectively communicate with one another. This means having the ability to equally speak and listen to one another. If you notice that you’re not able to get a word in, or if your partner isn’t actually listening or remembering the things that you said, this can be a sign of a relationship that’s struggling.
What You Can Do
All relationships, even healthy ones, need a little extra TLC every now and then. Here are some things you can do to help work on your relationship:
- Embrace your differences
- Consider their side
- Work through problems together
- Communicate effectively—both speaking and listening
- Try new things
- Discuss your wants, needs, goals, and dreams
- Try couples therapy
If some of these relationship red flags seem to be waving a little too close to home, it may be time to reach out to an unbiased third party, like a therapist, for support.
Couples therapy can help. Please feel free to schedule a free consultation or book an appointment today.