Over the course of your relationship, you have many, many conversations with your partner. Initially, the conversations tend to be more surface-level, talking about your job, where you grew up, where you went to school, your friends, things you like to do, and maybe a bit about members of your family. Later on, however, as things get more serious, there are some other kinds of conversations you might want or need to have. That being said, they're not your soulmate if you ever have any of these conversations, regardless of whether or not you thought the relationship would last long-term.
Difficult or serious conversations can bring up potential deal-breakers, which you may not have realized you were on different pages about before having that conversation. But knowing where your partner stands on certain things or how they're potentially going to speak to you when tensions or emotions are high is really important, and if they don't handle these conversations well (or, in some cases, bring them up in the first place), then your relationship might not be so meant to be after all.
Though every relationship is different and dynamics in each relationship can vary, these kinds of conversations might mean that you need to do some serious reflecting on what you want, what your partner wants, how those things might fit together (or not), and what kind of future the two of you really have.
1. They Bring Up Kids, But You Don't Want Them
Of course, if you want this relationship to last, at some point you probably do need to talk about how kids do or don't fit into your future. But it can also be a bit of a minefield because having kids might be a deal-breaker for them, while not having them could be one for you.
Heidi McBain, MA, LMFT, LPC, RPT, a licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Romper in an email exchange that this conversation can reveal that you're actually at opposite points, which might mean that your relationship won't work out. "Therapy can be a great place to discuss these topics at a deeper level to see where they are stemming from, and to learn if one person may decide to change their wants/desires in order to stay together as a couple," McBain adds.
2. Regular, In-Depth Conversations About An Ex
A quick conversation about an ex might not be anything that you need to worry about, but if they're always bringing up an ex, that could be a bad sign. "It may make you feel they are not quite over their ex, and it can also make you feel like you may not be able to measure up to their ex," Celeste Viciere, LMHC, a licensed mental health clinician, author, and host of Celeste The Therapist podcast, tells Romper by email. And if they're comparing you to their ex or aren't entirely over them yet, that can cause problems in your relationship.
3. They Want To Settle Down, But You See That As Being Tied Down
The way that you want to live your life is also pretty important when it comes to navigating whether or not your relationship might last long-term. Dr. Grant Brenner, MD, a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and co-author of Relationship Sanity, tells Romper via email that this is the sort of conversation that can reveal that you might not both want the same things out of life. And that could mean that they might not be your soulmate after all.
4. Every Conversation About Their Problems Blames Someone Else
Everyone has to confront different problems and issues over the course of their life. But if each conversation about your partner's issues consists of them assigning blame to someone else, that could be an indication that your relationship might not actually last. "In order for a couple to work, we each have to pay attention to the individual roles we play in situations," Viciere says. "If your partner does not take responsibility, they may end up blaming you whenever something goes wrong."
5. Conversations That Show You Have Different Needs In The Relationship
It's perfectly OK if you need different things out of your relationship, but that might also mean that you're not a good fit together, or that you need to figure some things out.
"Conversations about the compatibility of needs root out red flags," Dr. Mark B. Borg, Jr., PhD, a clinical psychologist and co-author of Relationship Sanity, tells Romper by email. "But they are red flags that turn out to be what the community psychologists refer to as primary prevention — techniques for avoiding future catastrophe. However, sometimes having needs that seem incompatible is not the end of the story. I strongly encourage my patients and couples — especially the ones who see me for premarital counseling — to search for the red flags through difficult conversations to see if there is a way, with insight and awareness, to work through seeming incompatibilities."
Maybe something isn't the deal-breaker you thought it was or maybe there are some misunderstandings that can be worked through or sorted out.
6. Conversations That Show That You Have Different Values
Differing values can make it seriously difficult to make your relationship work long-term. If you disagree about things that are most important to you, finding common ground and overlooking your differences might seem nearly impossible. "If your partner is talking about things that go against your value system, you should pay attention to that," Viciere says. So knowing yourself, what you want, and what's most important to you is essential.
7. Conversations In Which They Say Hurtful, Negative Things About You
"In relationships, you should be working to build partnerships and build each other up," Viciere says. "This can't happen if you are always being talked to in a negative manner." Some things just aren't OK in a relationship, and these sorts of comments can definitely cross the line.
Ultimately, you'll have to decide when to reevaluate things, when to ask for help, or what you're unwilling to tolerate or negotiate on. But these kinds of conversations between the two of you might mean that you just may not be right for one another, as much as you might wish that you were.