15 Things Happy Couples NEVER, Ever Do
There are plenty of articles out there about all the things you can DO in a relationship to make it better, but the true secret behind happy couples are the things they DO NOT do. While every couple and every relationship is different, there are some golden rules of things to avoid doing if you want your relationship to go the distance. Happy, healthy relationships don’t emerge out of thin air, they are things that you have to work on and work towards on a daily basis through setting good habits. A lot of people don’t recognize that relationships between super compatible people often don’t work out because partners are not setting healthy patterns or habits in the relationship. Compatibility is not the only thing that determines the success of a relationship!
Happy couples work towards their happiness by being intentional about how they approach their relationship. Just like setting good habits can lead to a happy relationship, bad habits can lead to unhappy relationships. Some couples fall into the trap of setting bad habits early on and their relationship can never recover. Here is a list of 15 bad habits that happy couples don't do.
Happy couples do not nag each other. Note here that there is a difference between asking your partner to help out with something/reminding them to get something done and nagging your partner. Yes, sometimes you might need to gently remind your partner to do something, but if you are constantly reminding your partner to do little things then you are probably nagging them more than reminding them. Nagging is repeatedly pestering your partner to do something in a harassing way. When partners nag each other it creates a power differential because one partner feels as if they can tell the other partner what to do and feels as if they know better than their partner. This power differential causes the relationship to feel more like a parent/child relationship than a relationship between equals. Happy couples respect their partner’s judgement and understand that it’s important to let their partner make decisions and not try to force them into taking advice or action if they do not want to.
Gossip about each other
Happy couples have each other’s backs, which means that they don’t gossip about each other behind their backs. It is totally normal and even healthy to vent about your relationship problems to close family and friends, especially if your partner is just really getting on your nerves. But it’s important not to let venting turn into unkind gossip. If you are frustrated with your partner and feel the need to vent or gossip about them to another person, try to stop yourself, put your finger on exactly what is bothering you, and go to your partner instead. This will help you get to the root of the problem and will help you avoid needless and potentially hurtful gossip. This will also put less strain on your relationships with your friends and family members! While your loved ones will always be there for you to vent to, they probably don’t want to know the ins and outs of your relationship and would prefer you to keep the gossip to yourself in the first place!
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When you are in a relationship, it’s important that when you have disagreements or arguments that you do your best to move past them in a constructive and meaningful way. Happy couples do not keep score about who won the last fight or who has had to compromise more. Instead, they recognize that fights and disagreements are a natural part of any relationship, and work on improving communication, compromising and moving on once fights are over rather than dwelling on the fights and keeping a running tally of wins vs. losses. At the end of the day, you and your partner are a team. It’s important to remember this and avoid getting into a mentality that pits you against one another.
Play the victim
Happy couples do not play the victim during fights or disagreements! It is important to recognize that even if you think your partner is in the wrong (and even if they are in the wrong), you are not completely blameless in any situation, which means that you should never ‘play the victim’. Again, you and your partner are equals in a relationship and should consider yourself as a team. Teams work together and don’t play the blame game or the victim game when things go wrong. Playing this victim not only unfairly puts all the blame on your partner, it also takes away all your power from the situation. If you act like a victim, you have no agency to change the situation or the outcome. Instead, it’s important to recognize how you are also at fault and address those things (while encouraging your partner to do the same) so that you can resolve your issues.
Complain about the relationship
Like we said before, it is totally normal to need to vent about your relationship and your partner every now and then. But it is important not to make this a habit in your relationship. Being in a relationship can be super difficult, but this does not give you an excuse to spend all of your energy complaining about the relationship instead of working on improving the relationship.
Focus too much on kids
For many couples that have children, it is tempting to brush relationship problems under the rug in favor of focusing all of your energy on your children. But doing so is actually super unhealthy for your relationship! As counter intuitive as it may seem, it is important to prioritize your relationship with your partner over being a parent from time to time. Doing so does not make you a bad parent, it means that you are taking care of the basis of your family! Modeling healthy relationships to your children will help them develop. Doing this means that you have to prioritize your relationship every now and then and that you can’t focus too much on your children.
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Focus too much on career
Striking the proper work-life balance is difficult for many individuals to do when they are single, and it can be even hard when you are in a relationship. Happy couples do not focus too much on their careers, because they realize that when work-life balance is out of whack, their relationship takes a toll. It is important to prioritize the relationships in your life (including your romantic relationship) over your career. Every once in a while, you may have to step up at work or make a decision that benefits your career more than your partner, but it is important to make sure that this does not become a pattern in your relationship.
Avoid tough conversations
Happy, healthy couples have tough conversations! Couples that avoid conflict, or avoid addressing conflict let small problems build and build until they completely undermine their relationship. As painful as it can be to establish boundaries and have tough conversations, your relationship will benefit in the long term if you and your partner feel respected and safe in the relationship. As much as we like to think otherwise, problems will not simply go away if we ignore them for long enough. Having hard conversations and addressing tough issues head on will lead to a healthy relationship.
Compare the relationship
Like we mentioned before, every relationship is different! This means that there is no need to compare your relationship with anyone else's. This includes your parents, friends and fictional relationships that you have seen portrayed in books and on TV/in movies. Remember that relationships are intimate and complicated and even if a couple seems perfect and happy on the outside (or on Instagram or social media in general) does not mean that the couple is actually perfect. Just like you should not compare yourself to other people, you should not compare your relationship to other relationships.
Criticize, undermine or insult each other
Happy couples treat each other with respect. This means that they do not criticize, undermine or insult each other, no matter how upset they are. If you are unhappy with something your partner has done, bring it to your partner’s attention in a respectful way. If you feel like you can’t in that moment, take some time to yourself and approach them when you are in a less emotionally heightened state.
Aren't possessive or jealous
Happy couples feel secure in their relationships. This means that they are not possessive or jealous of their partner’s because they trust that their partner is happy and fulfilled in the relationship. Possessiveness and jealousy often stem from personal insecurities, but can be heightened in relationships that do not have good boundaries. Establishing boundaries in your relationship, and working to respect and uphold these boundaries will create trust and respect in your relationship which will help put any jealous or possessive feelings at bay.
Play emotional games
Again, happy couples feel secure in their relationship, which means that they do not feel the need to play games with each other. It is important for you and your partner to communicate honestly with one another so that you don’t feel the need to play games. Playing games can mean a lot of different things whether it’s worrying about who is texting first, intentionally ignoring a partner for attention, playing hard to get, etc. etc., but it boils down to a breakdown in open communication in a relationship as well as a lack of security in the relationship. Couples can get in the bad habit of playing games if the standard and expectations for the relationship are not clear, or if they feel insecure in the relationship. To avoid this, establish good habits like scheduling time for open communication, setting healthy boundaries and letting each other know if your feelings are hurt.
Trust is one of the most important parts of every relationship. If you betray your partner’s trust through lying, cheating, etc, you may never be able to earn it back... As dramatic as this may seem, it is often the case! Happy couples do not betray each other’s trust. Instead, they communicate openly and honestly with one another (even if they have made a mistake!).
Leave sex up to chance
After the initial honeymoon phase of your relationship, sex may become less and less frequent. This often has nothing to do with a change in your attraction to your partner, it is more about falling into patterns and routines than anything else. Happy couples make sure to prioritize sex in their routine so that it is not left up to chance in the relationship. In the honeymoon phase, sex was probably spontanous and frequent. As you and your partner settle down, make sure to incorporate sex in your routine. This can mean scheduling sex on the calendar, acting when the mood hits, or scheduling romantic activities that might lead to more sexual intimacy. Sex is a super important part of romantic relationships, so it’s important to make sure that it is a part of your routine!
Ignore what makes the relationship great
Relationships are difficult, and it is easier than we like to admit to think of them with a sort of “grass is always greener” mindset. Instead of focusing on the things that make your relationship hard, focus on the things that make it great! On some days, the great things might seem smaller than others, but choosing the focus on the positive rather than the negative is one of the most important habits that can contribute to a couple’s happiness. Happy couples never ignore what makes the relationship great, and instead focus their energy on the things in the relationship that make them happy. This does not mean sweeping problems under the rug, it means addressing those problems and recognizing the parts in the relationship that make these problems worth fixing.
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