Common Relationship Doubts That May Be More Serious Than You Think

Having doubts about the future of your relationship is totally normal. Whenever doubts start coming into your head, it's up to you to start weighing the pros and cons to decide whether or not your relationship will go the distance. Of course, some doubts are more overwhelming than others. If a particular issue you've been struggling with won't disappear from your mind, it's time to reevaluate if the relationship is actually right for you or not. 

Having a sit-down with your partner to discuss any doubts you're having is a great approach to take if the relationship is something worth fighting for. The more upfront and honest you can be, the better. Gathering insight and advice from people you trust can also make a positive difference since the people closest to you typically have your best interests at heart. Figuring out how serious your looming doubts are, to begin with, is an important place to start.

1. They've given you an ultimatum about something

Giving your partner an ultimatum can be pretty damaging in any relationship. Good relationships don't often reach the point of ultimatums because healthy couples are able to make compromises. If your partner has given you an ultimatum about something at least once during the course of your relationship, it's more serious than you might think. After caving to their ultimatum by agreeing to go along with whatever they wanted, understand that they may potentially hold that sense of power over you again at some point in the future. Remember that ultimatums are not the same as boundaries, which are good to have. "The difference between an ultimatum and a boundary is similar to the difference between having someone force you to choose by gunpoint and someone asking you to follow a law," licensed mental health counselor Michela Dalsing tells Psych Central.

There is an entire reality TV show called "The Ultimatum," which has been garnering attention on Netflix. The show focuses on young adults who threaten their partners with ultimatums on strict timelines. The collective opinion from viewers who've discussed the show on social media says forcing your partner into an ultimatum is simply not the right thing to do. Dating a partner who's comfortable throwing ultimatums at you should definitely fill you with some doubts about the future.

2. You don't see eye-to-eye about having kids

You might not think it's a big deal that you and your partner don't see eye-to-eye about having kids during the early stages of your relationship, but this is a doubt that needs to be taken seriously right away. A talk with your partner about whether or not they want children should happen before things move too far along. If you've decided you definitely want to become a parent, don't think you'll magically change the mind of someone who refuses. If you've decided that having kids would be your worst nightmare, it's a mistake to stay in a relationship with someone who has their heart set on parenthood.

The conversation revolving around having kids isn't one of those slight doubts that can be put off or avoided until the future. According to Healthline, having an open and honest conversation about child-rearing early on in the relationship can help a couple remain in sync as the partnership grows. Knowing where you and your partner both stand (as early as possible) will give you both the chance to act accordingly. Since having kids can be such a polarizing topic in any romantic relationship, do your best to figure out if you and your partner are on the same page about it sooner than later.

3. You can't agree about finances

One of the leading causes of divorce happens to be finances. When you and your partner can't agree about finances, it's actually a lot more serious than meets the eye. Discussions about finances should happen while you're still in the dating phase. Chatting about money before tying the knot and becoming legally bound will save you in the long run. Discuss the way you want to approach finances to decipher whether or not your mindsets are aligned.

After you marry someone, figuring out how to combine your finances becomes a lot more complicated. If you and your partner decide to get a divorce, your finances get even messier as you figure out who gets to keep what. Since finances can be such a divisive conversation topic, this isn't something to put on the back burner when it comes to the doubts you're having about your relationship. Open and honest (and calm) chats about your spending habits, how much debt you each have, and your financial goals and fears are beyond crucial — and according to Investopedia, individuals in a committed relationship owe this conversation to each other. When conversations about money can take place without creating tension or drama, you and your partner have the chance to get on the same page about your expectations. 

4. You sense narcissistic traits in them

As soon as you sense narcissistic traits in your partner, it's up to you to reevaluate your love story. Can you have a healthy relationship with a narcissist? Unfortunately, people with narcissistic tendencies don't always have the capability of making changes. Staying with a narcissist and hoping they'll be able to showcase empathy toward you at any point in time is possible, but not always realistic. If you suspect your partner might be on the spectrum of narcissistic personality disorder, there are nine signs to keep an eye on. 

These signs include an attitude of self-importance, entitlement, and the aspiration to solely spend time with people they deem important or special. Some other signs include acting in an exploitative manner for their own benefit, a lack of empathy, arrogance, and the need to be heavily admired. The final sign to pay attention to would revolve around how envious they are. According to Duke Health, if your partner has showcases at least five or more of these signs, it's possible that they're dealing with narcissistic personality disorder.

According to WebMD, narcissistic individuals — who are often charismatic and oh-so-charming — might not behave negatively right off the bat, especially in a new partnership. Even if the relationship starts out blissful and fun, things can take a turn. Don't stay in a relationship with someone who has narcissistic tendencies based on a desire to chase the high of those early memories. 

5. They dabble with substances or an over-the-top party lifestyle

It's not the biggest deal ever if you and your partner enjoy partying together every once in a while. Being under the influence with the person you love can be an adventurous and fun experience, as long as everything's being done legally and safely. But if your partner is taking things too far by dabbling with illegal substances or engaging in an over-the-top party lifestyle that goes beyond what you're comfortable with, you are right to have doubts about the future of your relationship.

According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, worsening drinking or drug use can create an emotional distance that's difficult to overcome in a relationship. You may not be in the mood to party with your partner whenever they want to, but if they choose to keep living that lifestyle anyway, doubts about what's next may start creeping in.

One of the ways you can handle this would be by directly addressing your concerns with your partner. If they get defensive and do everything in their power to fight for their right to continue partying and using illegal substances, you probably won't get very far. If they're open to the idea of slowing down from making too many detrimental lifestyle decisions, there's a chance your relationship won't crumble.

6. You've caught them in a lie or two

The unfortunate truth about dating a liar is that if someone is willing to lie to you about something small, it's possible they'd be willing to lie to you about something bigger. Catching your partner in a lie or two means you're probably now living in fear of whatever else they might be lying about at any given moment. It's unfair of you to stay in a relationship where you're generally anxious without the peace of mind you'd automatically feel when dating a truthful partner.

By that same token, if you've chosen to forgive your partner for any lies they've spewed in the past (big or small), you should be willing to honor that. After all, it's unfair of you to continue dragging your partner through the mud about things they've lied about in the past if you already told them they'd be forgiven. Stomaching the fact that your partner has lied to you without bringing it up again might not be something you can do. Decide if their little white lies are something you can live with.

Regain advocates for setting a boundary of what exactly you can tolerate, as there will likely come a time when you can't accept the lying any longer. Whether you share the boundary you've set with your partner or you choose to keep it to yourself, stick to it by holding your ground.

7. They've exhibited jealousy

Exhibiting a small amount of jealousy isn't the most abnormal thing in a healthy relationship. It becomes incredibly problematic if it's exhibited in a harmful way, though. Pings of jealousy can be normal when you love someone, but that jealousy shouldn't evolve into rage, controlling requests, or isolation. If your partner's jealousy has evolved to those levels, it's definitely time to start doubting the relationship.

You deserve to feel comfortable pursuing all the friendships and platonic relationships you want outside of your romantic relationship. A jealous partner will get angry at you when you spread your attention between them and other people at any given time. Never sacrifice your social life to appease the person you're dating. A jealous partner may also get upset with you for spreading your attention among hobbies and activities that don't include them. Never believe you have to put your passions on the back burner to keep a smile on your jealous partner's face.

According to marriage consultant Sheri Stritof in Very Well Mind, "There's no reason to believe that jealousy will improve without being addressed. Jealousy is not an emotion that can be banished with wishful thinking. It goes right to the core of the self and has deep roots, and it takes awareness and effort to overcome these feelings." Some serious inner work may be required on your partner's part in order to thrive in a long-lasting relationship. 

8. You don't vibe with their friends and family

If you intend to stay in a long-term relationship with your partner, getting along with their friends and family is pretty important. It matters even more when it comes to marrying your partner and becoming legally bound to them at some point. If their friends and family don't like you (or you don't like them), it's possible that your romantic relationship will begin to feel strained, but there are some tips you can follow when it comes to navigating your partner's friend group (and their family, too). 

If it's your partner's friends and family who aren't huge fans of you, try to pinpoint the reason for their thoughts. Figure out if there's any way you can sway their opinions to change the way they feel about you. It's possible the reason they don't like you is something that can be worked through or changed to benefit everyone involved. If you're the one who doesn't approve of your partner's friends and family, consider shifting your opinion of them by getting to know everyone on a one-on-one basis. There's no use trying to sweep something this serious under the rug. All parties involved must be willing to work together to create peace and unity.

9. They've labeled their exes as crazy

One of the biggest things that can cause doubt is how your current partner describes their exes. If they call all of their exes "crazy," you have some deep thinking to do. When someone labels all their exes "crazy," it's a serious copout. It's also an easy way for people to avoid taking responsibility for their part in the downfall of their former relationships.

Seth Meyers, licensed clinical psychologist, explains in Psychology Today that we should all be incredibly wary of anyone who calls their exes "crazy." "In some relationships, one partner ends up acting 'crazy' because, as a pattern, they have been lied to, controlled, cheated on, or manipulated. Such experiences can cause so much distress and anxiety that the individual becomes overly emotional, stuck in a fight-or-flight response given their intuition that the relationship isn't emotionally safe," he says. So, what exactly was done to a person to create such an intense fight-or-flight, visceral reaction? This is a question you should consider as soon as your partner starts telling you that all of their exes were "crazy." 

10. You don't see eye-to-eye about engagement or marriage

You deserve to be in a relationship with someone who sees eye-to-eye with you about engagement and marriage. It's possible that the idea of getting married repulses you and fills you with fear. If so, stick with partners who can live without marriage for the rest of their lives. It's also possible that getting married for that fairytale happy-ever-after moment is a dream you've had since childhood. In that case, stick to partners who will make that dream come true. 

Don't get caught up in a relationship with someone who doesn't agree with silent hopes that they'll change their mind. This conversation is quite similar to the one you'd want to have with your partner about having kids in the future. Getting married is just as serious as bringing kids into the world since marriage is a legally binding contract. The longer you stay in a relationship with someone who doesn't agree with you about marriage, the longer your time is being wasted.

In Mind Body Green, licensed marriage and family therapist Weena Wise reminds readers: "Marriage is such a serious commitment that you shouldn't have to convince your partner that what you've built together is worth committing their life to." In the same way you shouldn't sit around hoping they'll change their mind someday, you shouldn't go out of your way pressuring them to want what you want.

11. Their communication skills are lacking

You deserve to be in a relationship with someone who knows how to communicate with you. Dating someone who gives you the silent treatment when they're angry is problematic. Dating someone who raises their voice at you or calls you names when they're upset is also an issue. People who aren't emotionally mature will always struggle with communication skills, and poor communication skills can have an effect on the longevity of your relationship. "The extent to which each partner is skilled at expressing themselves, their needs, and their preferences is the greatest indicator of the health and fulfillment of the relationship," licensed clinical social worker Darcy Sterling tells Forbes. As soon as you realize you're in a relationship with someone who doesn't have solid communication skills, understand that you're going to have to take on the role of an educator to some degree. 

It will be up to you to teach your partner how to properly communicate with you moving forward if you actually want the relationship to thrive. This type of responsibility simply isn't for everyone. Some people prefer to date others who already have solid communication skills figured out. If you have enough patience to deal with a partner who doesn't know how to communicate, you'll be just fine. If you'd rather date someone who knows how to express their feelings in a mature manner, doubts about your partner's unsatisfactory communication skills should be addressed.

12. They get uncomfortable when you're emotional

Anytime you're feeling emotional, you should be able to turn to your partner for emotional support. Dating someone who gets uncomfortable whenever you show signs of sadness or anxiety is alarming. You have every right to doubt your relationship if your partner awkwardly slinks out of the room or avoids communication with you in moments when you need to be comforted and reassured.

Psych Central says people who fear emotion are liable to develop a more pessimistic outlook on life. Avoidance causes people to start hiding out from certain people and activities. It can even make certain avoidant folks irritable when you spend time with them. Dating someone who reacts in these ways whenever you show signs of emotion isn't exactly fair to you. Between the two of you, you'll end up being the one who carries the burden of emotional labor. In other words, you'll be there for them when they need it, but they won't necessarily be able to return that favor.

13. They've belittled your passions

How did your partner react the last time you told them something you were excited about? A good and loving partner who cares about you will share in your excitement whenever you talk about something you're passionate about. A partner you should have serious doubts about will belittle whatever you're saying and make you feel dumb for getting hyped up in the first place.

One Love notes that belittling is a seriously unhealthy relationship behavior to be faced with. It's a sneaky one since it typically happens behind closed doors in quiet privacy, and it doesn't always include yelling, name-calling, or anything overly aggressive. Still, it's considered a manipulative style of abuse that can form a repetitive pattern if it happens enough times in a row. Never dismiss it when your partner belittles you because abuse that happens emotionally and verbally is just as serious as abuse that happens physically or sexually.

14. They're hyper-focused on appearances

It's high time to start doubting your relationship if your partner is hyper-focused on appearances. Looks fade with age, which means it's a bit scary to date someone who only seems attracted to you based on your outward appearance. What will happen when you get older? Will they cut things off with you to start dating someone more youthful? It makes sense to date someone who cares about your personality and what you have to offer on the inside, as well.

Barrie Davenport, certified life coach, writes in Live Bold & Bloom that you can tell someone is hyper-focused on your looks if they "have a physical attraction to you but [aren't] interested enough to invest the time in building an emotional connection and getting to know your values." Do they care when you talk about your best memories from your college years? Are they interested when you share details about your political or religious views?

You can find out just how focused on appearances your partner is by asking them a few thought-provoking questions to get the ball rolling. Discover what they think about women who gain weight after a pregnancy or women whose looks would change after getting diagnosed with an illness. Show them photos of celebrities who were once thought of as sex symbols, and have now gotten older. Pay attention to your partner's responses as you decide what your next moves are.

15. You are their sole support system

"Someone who lacks an outside support system may disproportionately rely on a partner for support," according to marriage and family therapist Steven Ing in Psychology Today. The notion of a relationship like this seems incredibly overwhelming. 

There will be too much pressure on your shoulders if you're the only support system in your partner's life. Ideally, whenever your partner has something serious going on, they would also be able to turn to family members, friends, or even some of their colleagues for support. You'll feel the weight of overwhelming pressure dragging you down if your partner doesn't have anyone else in their life to turn to besides you.

Encourage your partner to seek out friendships with others who will potentially lighten your load. Make suggestions about where they can go to meet new people and how they can reach out to others in a way that will bring positive responses their way. Openly discuss the benefits that come along with spending quality time with like-minded people they'd relate to. If they seem completely closed off to the idea of socializing outside of their relationship with you, you're definitely in for some trouble.

16. You're always making the compromises and apologizing first

Start having some serious doubts about your relationship if you're the one who's always making compromises and apologizing first. Think back on the last handful of disagreements you had with your partner and count up how many times you were the one who caved to their wishes or approached them with an apology. Relationships are two-way streets and they should never feel one-sided. If you're the one taking on all the emotional labor, you're going to end up getting burned out and resentful.

"Over-apologizing is motivated by trying to manage the other person's emotions and make them feel better," therapist Jocelyn Hampsher tells Psych Central. If you're trying to manage your partner's emotions through apology or compromise, or you're always made to feel like the bad guy, the stress of fighting to save your relationship can potentially ruin it altogether. Next time you're in a situation with your partner where you know they should be the one making a compromise or apologizing, stand your ground and hold firm to your beliefs. As soon as you cave to their wishes, you no longer have a leg to stand on. If you find that you're dating a partner who is unwilling and incapable of compromising or apologizing, realize that your relationship will undoubtedly be riddled with a lot of trouble moving forward.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).