You can find endless articles online about what happy couples do—but what about the things they don’t do?
While every couple and every relationship is different, there are some golden rules of things to avoid if you want your relationship to go the distance. A happy, healthy relationship takes a lot of effort, and happy couples are very intentional about how they approach it. 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:
There’s a difference between asking your partner to do something versus constantly pestering them. No one appreciates being constantly nagged, and that’s why happy couples don’t do it! They realize how detrimental it can be to force each other into decisions or actions.
Gossip about each other
While it’s totally normal to vent to friends or family about an issue, but there’s a difference between blowing off steam and engaging in full-on, mean-spirited gossip. If you feel the need to talk poorly about your partner, stop yourself and speak to them instead. Happy couples know all too well the importance of being honest with each other and having each other’s backs, even when things get tough.
Happy couples never “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 past arguments (rather than dwell on them). Remember, at the end of the day, you and your partner are a team! There’s no need to turn disagreements into a competition.
Play the victim
Happy couples recognize that you are not completely blameless in any argument, which means that you should never “play the victim.” Not only does it put all the blame on your partner, but 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
Happy couples don’t complain about their relationship. Why? Because they’re happy! (Duh.) Like we said before, it is totally normal to vent about your relationship and your partner every now and then. But happy couples don’t make it a habit!
Focus too much on kids
Children become a top priority, of course, but happy couples realize that their relationship needs a lot of focus, too. It’s not healthy for any couple to completely divorce themselves from their previous lives and only focus on the kids. It’s 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!
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. Of course, there are times when 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 it doesn’t become a pattern.
Avoid tough conversations
Happy, healthy couples have tough conversations! Couples that avoid conflict or tough topics are hurting their relationship in the long run. No matter how much we ignore problems, they never go away, and happy couples realize the need to be open and honest about any issues that come up.
Compare the relationship
It can be tempting sometimes, but there’s never a need to compare your relationship with someone else’s. This includes your parents, friends, or even fictional relationships you read about or see on TV or movies. Relationships are intimate and complicated, and even if a couple seems “perfect” on the outside (or social media), it doesn’t mean they actually are, and happy couples realize that.
Criticize, undermine or insult each other
Happy couples treat each other with respect, plain and simple. This means that they don’t undermine, criticize 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.
Aren’t possessive or jealous
A little jealousy from time to time is normal, but overall, happy couples feel secure in their relationships. They’re not possessive or jealous of their partners because they have a solid foundation of trust. Possessiveness and jealousy often stem from personal insecurities, but can be heightened in relationships that lack healthy boundaries, which are essential in any happy relationship.
Play emotional games
Because they feel secure in the relationship, happy couples do not feel the need to play games with each other. This 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, and so on. These types of games boil down to communication issues, and happy couples make the effort to talk to each other and address any problems.
Trust is one of the most vital parts of any healthy relationship. If you betray your partner’s trust through lying, cheating, etc, you may never be able to earn it back. Keeping that in mind, happy couples never betray each other’s trust. Instead, they communicate openly and honestly, even if they make a mistake.
Leave sex up to chance
After the initial honeymoon phase of your relationship, sex may become less and less frequent. Put simply, life just gets in the way! Happy couples make sure to prioritize sex in their routine so that it is not left up to chance in the relationship. This can mean scheduling sex on the calendar, acting when the mood hits, or scheduling romantic activities that might lead to more sexual intimacy.
Ignore what makes the relationship great
Instead of focusing on the issues in their relationship, happy couples tend to focus on what makes it great! the things that make it great! 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.
Happy, healthy relationships don’t emerge out of thin air! They take a lot of work, and part of that means creating good habits. By cutting out these 15 bad habits, you’ll strengthen your bond, build trust, and, of course, increase your overall happiness!