7 Don'ts for a Happy Relationship

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(Photo: iStock)

For years, movies have presented audiences with an ideal of the happy couple's life. We see everything from jetting off to glamorous locations to dorking out with each other over drinks and cheese fries and having an incredible sex life. From the looks of Hollywood’s model, happiness is easy to achieve and you never have to do the laundry or wash the dishes.

But in reality, relationship contentment isn’t about Hollywood norms or luck. Couples put in hard work and emotional stamina to keep the flames alive. But a strong and rich relationship is more than what a couple does—it’s a lot of what they don’t do.

While even the happiest couples falter, we have seven habits they try to stay away from while making a daily and conscious effort to strengthen their connection to strive toward the goal--the “couple with heart” emoji.

Compare

With an ability to eat away at relationship contentment and a present life, we lose sight of happiness the moment we compare our partners and ourselves to others. While it’s a normal trait to measure relationships, it’s not a good idea or fair to equate your relationship with one you assume someone else might be in. Every relationship is its own and comparison only breeds insecurity and grief.

Discourage

When a couple deeply cares for each other, nothing seems impossible and everything is achievable. Happy couples will strive to constantly encourage one another to follow their dreams, as they understand their partner's desires no matter how impractical they seem. Lasting relationships are those that continue to grow together and cultivate each other’s individual dreams. Holding someone back not only leads to resentment and disinterest down the road, but weakens the relationship’s bond.

Snoop

The bedrock for a strong dynamic, trust means placing confidence and faith in your partner, while expecting honesty, loyalty, and respect to be at the core of your loving relationship. Those who really trust each other are consistently open books that never, ever snoop. When we begin to pry at a late-night phone call or Google our partner’s name for answers we can’t seem to find through them, it’s indicative of larger issues at hand--the relationship’s condition and our own insecurities.

Belittle

If you belittle your partner, it communicates a severe lack of love and understanding. No one’s perfect, but bringing negative attention to our partner’s faults in disparaging ways shows that we don’t accept them as is. This severity makes a partner feel unloved and unwelcomed in opening up. Happy couples are able to work through imperfections and use each other’s shortcomings as a way to grow closer.

Complain

While it’s normal to need to vent, happy couples know it’s best to not involve family or friends into their relationship. Why? Because no one knows the relationship better than you do. Likewise, others often incite negative feedback. Without feeling judged or anxious, happy couples talk directly to one another if issues arise that they feel distressed by. In addition, loving couples engage in deep conversations with one another—a trait research says keeps couples happier than those who keep it light and breezy.

Forget Friendship

While this doesn’t mean you can’t have any other best friends, including those of the opposite sex, happy couples are essentially each other’s best friends. Researchers report friendship as a deep-rooted foundation for a relationship that creates a more committed, loving and sexually satisfying dynamic with long-lasting benefits. Studies also suggest partners with friendship as a basis feel a strong romantic attraction and engage more in “self-expanding” activities with one another.

Leave an Argument Unresolved

Relationships aren’t all rainbows and unicorns, but happy couples don't brush their issues under the rug or pretend that a conflict never happened. While taking time to cool off can certainly be necessary, loving couples push aside any instinctive desires to flee from an argument for a long period in favor of sticking it out and resolving matters in a civil manner. Couples who care for each other will be mature in reaching a conclusion, whether the realization is good or bad. If left unresolved too long, underlying issues fester up with anger, resentment, hidden feelings and nothing ever improves.