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3 Signs That a New Relationship May Break Your Heart

1. They think their life is much more difficult than yours.

Key points

  • The desire for a new relationship to be successful may lead people to discount potential red flags.
  • Someone who always believes that their life is harder than others' may end up being a manipulative partner.
  • A person who has different standards for themselves than for their partner may be egocentric.

The chemistry that exists at the beginning of a relationship can be intoxicating. Yet operating “under the influence” can impair a person’s judgment in two ways. First, the desire for the relationship to endure may tempt a person to rationalize red flags. Second, when getting to know a new partner, a person may strive to understand and empathize. Although this is a good approach, it may create a blind spot when it collides with the person’s unconscious desire to see the partner positively. A person who only wishes to see the good in a partner may subconsciously justify questionable behaviors.

An important way to balance the spell of fresh love is to reflect on how one feels in the relationship. Three feeling states may signify that the new partner may cause future heartache. If a person continually experiences these emotions in a relationship, he or she may need to step back and think critically about how to proceed.

Partners that signify trouble

1. They believe their life is more difficult than others'. For example, Tim calls Lisa after arriving home on Saturday from two long days of travel. Lisa immediately laments, “I would take your day over mine. My boss called and asked me to work. Then, my co-worker locked me out of my accounts. I hate stupid people.”

Usually, an empathic person immediately resonates with a partner’s troubles and wants to provide support. Tim asks Lisa what he can do to help, despite feeling exhausted and sleep-deprived from traveling. Lisa subtly implies that she’d like him to come over, pick up something for dinner on the way, and assist her with the technological issues. Tim wants to impress Lisa and prove to her that he cares. Although he believes Lisa perceives her issues as more taxing than his, he neglects his own obligations to satisfy Lisa’s wishes.

A partner who routinely focuses on their own life and hardships and rarely takes the time to fully understand a partner’s plight may cause problems in the future.

2. They believe their friends and family are more important than the partner and the prtner's loved ones. For example, Bill spends a great deal of time talking about his daughters. Kim is impressed that he is a caring, loving, and invested dad. Yet she notices that Bill rarely asks about her own kids. When making plans, he often repeats, “My daughters come first in my life.” Kim agrees with his stance that his children should be his first priority. Yet when she needs to change plans for her kids, Bill seems annoyed and indignant. Kim feels as if Bill believes his children are more important than hers and that he needs to come before her children if the relationship is to progress.

A partner who has a separate set of standards for himself or herself may be an egocentric mate. Moreover, any partner who makes someone feel as though they are “lucky” to be a part of his or her elite group may have narcissistic tendencies.

3. They gloss over their partner's feelings. For example, Jake lives far away from his friends and family. During his divorce, his ex-wife alienated him from mutual friends. When his closest friend in town discloses that he is relocating, Jake is devastated. He mentions it during a phone call with his new partner, Taylor. Although aware of his situation, Taylor briefly touches on it, but reverts the conversation back to himself, “It’s got to be tough not having friends and family here. Hey, where do you want to eat tonight? I have a migraine. I am so hungry. I really need to eat. We can talk about your friend thing at dinner.” Yet throughout dinner, Taylor fails to re-address the subject. Jake feels “stupid” for sharing his feelings in the first place.

A partner who does not make a concerted effort to understand how a person feels when he or she is disappointed, hurt, sad, overwhelmed, lonely, or angry, may be a partner who lacks empathy. Empathy is the ingredient in a relationship that creates and sustains authentic closeness. A partner who is deficient in this department may cause a person to feel alone in a relationship—and feeling alone despite having a partner sometimes feels more isolating than actually being alone.

Trust yourself

At the start of a new relationship, it may be wise for a person to trust what he or she is feeling. Often, it is important data. A person who communicates how he or she feels and experiences self-doubt because a partner labels him or her “too sensitive” or “insecure” may consider the partner’s lack of empathy as a significant problem. A person who sees and manages relationship red flags early may protect himself or herself from heartbreak.

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