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7 Small Issues That Experts Say Can Undermine Even the Best Relationships

Posted By Courtney Woodside  
09/05/2019

When it comes to relationships, one of the most common pieces of advice you’ll hear is to let the little things go. Don’t sweat the small stuff. But according to experts, that isn’t always the best piece of advice to follow. There are some seemingly small issues that can undermine even the best relationships.

“Small issues can be cumulative over time,” Christine Scott-Hudson, licensed psychotherapist and owner of Create Your Life Studio, tells Bustle. “It’s like a ‘death by a thousand paper cuts.’ Because small issues tend to be overlooked and unaddressed, the cumulative effect can create long held resentments.”

So here are some seemingly small issues that can undermine even the best relationships, according to experts.

1. Doing The Same Thing Every Date Night

“Even if you’re trying to save money, try not to fall into the habit of Netflix and Chill every single Friday and Saturday night,” Scott-Hudson says. “Get creative!” Weekly date nights give you an opportunity to bond with your partner when life gets in the way. If you do this every week, that can be a really great thing for your relationship. But in order for weekly date nights to be effective, it’s important to shake things up every now and then if you don’t want to fall into a rut. “As we grow older, sometimes things can feel safe but also predictable and routine,” Scott-Hudson says. “Novelty is good for couples. Trying new things bonds you together.” Predictable routines can lead to boredom and distance.

2. Telling White Lies

Hiding small purchases from your partner, or telling them you’re “fine” when you’re not, may not seem like a big deal. In the moment, staying quiet can seem like a good idea because it can prevent an argument. However, as Samantha Daniels, dating expert and founder of Samantha’s Table Matchmaking, tells Bustle, if one person is prone to lying about little things, they have it in them to lie about the bigger things. Trust issues can undermine a happy relationship really quickly. “If this is happening, talk things over and figure out why you feel the need to do this,” Daniels says. It’s important to get to a place where you can tell each other the truth without fear.

3. Giving In To A Partner Who Always Needs To Have It Their Way

Your relationship may not always be perfectly balanced. But more often than not, it should be an equal amount of give and take. One partner shouldn’t always give in to the other in order to keep the relationship in a good place. That’s not how healthy relationships work. “If this starts interfering with your day to day life, this is an issue,” Daniels says. “Keeping it 100% about them and zero percent you can be very tiresome.” It’s also unsustainable.

4. Having Unaddressed Tension With Your Partner’s Family And Friends

You and your partner can be happy in your own little world. But a relationship isn’t just about two people. As Jess O’Reilly, relationship expert and resident sexologist at Astroglide, tells Bustle, “More people marry for love today, but they still represent a union of multiple families with diverse political, religious and financial histories.” The way your family and friends interact with your partner, and vice versa, can affect the outcome of your relationship. It’s pretty hard to keep a relationship going long-term when the people you love most don’t get along. It’s especially hard if family is really important to you. If you don’t get along with your partner’s family, Dr. O’Reilly says you can begin to address this by taking responsibility for your role in the conflict. “Start with yourself,” she says. “Accepting even a tiny bit of responsibility can be disarming and may be the first step required to repair or improve the relationship.”

5. Forgetting To Say “Thank You”

When you’ve been with your partner for a while, it’s easy to take them for granted. Your partner may know that you love them, but a lack of verbal appreciation can undermine even the best relationships. “Saying ‘thank you’ is the simplest way to show appreciation, even if it seems like it doesn’t matter to your partner,” Celia Schweyer, dating and relationship expert at DatingScout.com, tells Bustle. Failing to show your appreciation over a long period of time can lead to resentment. Saying thank you is an easy way to show your partner that you acknowledge and appreciate their efforts.

6. Being Jealous

“Jealousy can sometimes be cute, but most of the time it’s very toxic,” Schweyer says. If you trust your partner and you have confidence in your relationship, jealousy shouldn’t become an issue in your relationship. Jealousy happens, but what’s important is how you handle your emotions. “You can either choose to be chill about it, or you can choose to be controlling and overprotective,” Schweyer says. “Your actions towards it will determine the course of your relationship.” Choose the healthier route.

7. Assuming You And Your Partner Are Always On The Same Page

“One of the core pillars of a good and stable relationship is communication,” Schweyer says. “Without this, it’s almost impossible to be on the same page as your partner.” It’s important to remember that people change. Even if you started your relationship off wanting the same things, circumstances can change. So to avoid any unpleasant surprises, it’s always important to keep checking in with each other. “This can also help you be more expressive of your love towards your partner and be really affirming when things don’t go quite right,” she says.

It takes some work to have a happy relationship. But if you pay attention to these seemingly small issues, you can prevent them from impacting your relationship in a negative way.