Everyone wants their relationships to work out - and they're willing to go all out to ensure things are perfect, so why do so many romantic endeavors fail? Even when two people are giving it their best effort, relationships are fragile, meaning little things can add up to very large issues. What are these issues and how can people avoid them? Unfortunately, there's no simple way to alleviate every symptom of a poor relationship, but perhaps by putting a few points on blast, it'll be easier to avoid certain behaviors and to embrace others.
The best way to work on a relationship is similar to the best way people can work on themselves as individuals: focus on the issues, make a conscious decision to do things differently and don't stop trying until the goal has been achieved. In romantic relationships, there's always something at the heart of every difficulty. Don't focus on the fluff, pay attention to the main issue and its root cause, then work on it either as an individual or with a romantic partner. No one can change everything on their own, but the least a person can do is let their partner know they're trying, and that they're going to do whatever it takes to make a real change.
Avoid the habits that can end a relationship, and focus on the healthy actions that will keep it going strong.
20 STOP: Assuming They're Fine Without Help
When you're dating a strong, independent person, it's really easy to fall for the false idea that they don't need you for anything. Part of being in a romantic relationship is having someone to depend on when it comes to emotional issues. So your partner is confident, happy and, for the most part, always willing to head straight into battle. So what? It's important to remember they're only human and everyone has their off days.
Sometimes people have a hard time admitting they need help, so don't just overlook those moments when they open up to you. They need your support.
19 STOP: Relentlessly Teasing Them
Teasing is one of the most ancient methods of flirting. We're often prone to teasing people from the time we're kids all the way into adulthood. It provides an excuse for two people to interact and it usually ends in laughter, but when you're always teasing them about the same things, they'll soon become self-conscious. It's at this moment it goes from teasing to bullying.
Don't make your partner feel less-than, it's (partially) your job as their partner to make them feel strong and confident! Take a break from teasing and replace it with encouragement. Not only will your partner appreciate the sudden change but they might even respond in kind.
18 STOP: Being So Lazy
So your partner is a neat freak and you're a huge slob. That doesn't mean it's okay to continue your slovenly ways while your partner follows closely behind armed with a trash bag and vacuum cleaner. If you respect your partner, take some initiative. You know they hate when they visit and there's clutter and garbage everywhere. At least make an attempt to clean up and make the place presentable because their comfort should be a priority.
Just tell yourself not to be so lazy and start small - your partner will appreciate it and it might even lead to a few positive life-long habits.
17 STOP: Prioritizing Other Relationships
You and your bestie have been cool since the cradle days, so when they come calling, you meet up no matter what. Well, now that you're in a romantic relationship, it's not appropriate to just back out of plans because your best friend suddenly shows up with tickets to a concert or they call and want to talk for hours at a time.
While it's healthy to maintain relationships with people outside your romantic endeavors, it's important to make your loved one feel just that - loved.
16 STOP: Buying Things So Often
Money can't buy love. Purchasing gifts for your partner is a nice gesture, but if that's the only way you know how to show how you feel, the relationship is doomed. Your partner wants to know you care about them well beyond the superficial level. They want to feel like you're willing to listen to them and that you cherish them. No one wants to get a nice watch instead of spending time with the person they love.
Real relationships are built on time spent together, not gifts given and received. If all your partner gets from you are gifts, guaranteed they'll start to look elsewhere for something real.
15 STOP: Pressuring Them
It's so easy to pressure someone into doing something you've really got your heart set on. While trying to convince your partner to do something every now and then isn't inherently bad, it can be toxic if you're constantly pressuring them into doing only what you want to do or to go only where you want to go. You've got to leave some room for debate.
By always pressuring your partner into things you want to do, you're essentially telling them you're a stubborn child and you're selfish. Guaranteed the relationship is doomed because there's no way your boy/girlfriend would be willing to stick around with that sort of behavior for very long.
14 STOP: Making Negative Comments
There's only so much negativity a person can take before they're over it. If all you ever do is talk crap about things, your partner is going to disappear. There's this great expression everyone should really hold near and dear, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."
It's perfect advice to follow when meeting new people, when spending time at a social event and when you're with your romantic partner. It's fine to talk a little drama every now and then, but don't pile up that garbage all the time or you're just setting yourself up for a ruined relationship.
13 STOP: Comparing Them
No one likes being compared to others, especially if you're going as far as comparing them to one of your exes! Even if it's rare, it's best never to voice your opinions on how your ex never did what your current partner does, or that your ex would always do this while your current partner never does. Not only will it infuriate your partner, but they'll start to question why you didn't just stick with your ex instead.
Don't create unnecessary drama in your relationship - stick to voicing your wants or needs and avoid comparing your boy/girlfriend to anyone else - ever!
12 STOP: Overusing The "L" Word
So many people say they "love" their partner at the very beginning of the relationship, then they constantly tell their partner how much they love them. Not only does it beg the question, "How many people truly understand what it means to love?" but it also points out how easy it is to overuse a word to the point where it becomes nearly meaningless.
No one likes to be thanked over and over for something and the same rule applies to people in love. No one wants to hear how much they're loved all day every day - they'll start to wonder if you're only saying it out of habit instead of basing it on how you truly feel. Do yourself a favor and back it up a bit.
11 STOP: The Constant Surprises
It's cool to surprise your partner with a gift, a special date or even with some meaningful words, but when you're always surprising them, suddenly nothing is surprising. The entire point of a surprise is to give or do something for a person that they don't expect, so by pouncing on them with random gifts and experiences all the time you're really just numbing them to how special each of your actions are.
Don't corner yourself and build a relationship based on surprises - offer something more substantial or they'll get bored and there goes your relationship. Just don't do it!
10 STOP: Trying To Talk EVERYTHING Out Right Away
Sometimes after an argument, people need space. It's not only invasive but it's also infuriating for a person to refuse to give their partner some time to consider what just transpired. Not everyone is ready to talk through a disagreement right after the altercation - sometimes what they really need is some time to think about what was said and how they can better communicate their feelings on the subject.
By forcing the other person to stay and talk things through, not only are you being unnecessarily aggressive, but you're also inadvertently stifling their ability to process the argument. Don't suffocate your partner, give them time to deal.
9 STOP: Getting Even
If your partner wrongs you somehow, you shouldn't wrong them in return as some form of "payback" or a way to make things "even." Ever heard the expression, "Two wrongs don't make a right?" Well, it's true. If you're always trying to get back at your partner and they're always trying to get back at you, you're just perpetuating a never-ending chain reaction that will most likely only come to a solid close once the relationship has concluded.
Instead of focusing on getting back at your partner, try growing up a little and having a decent conversation or at least expressing your feelings on the matter.
8 STOP: Subtly Trying To Change Them - Even If It's For The Better
You may think you know what's best for your partner but the bottom line is they're not your child. You're not responsible for training them to behave or to think and act a certain way - your sole job is to thrive beside them and to love them unconditionally. If you can't do that, then the relationship isn't going to work out.
If a person changes, it should be because they want to, not because you expect, encourage or manipulate them to change.
By telling your partner you're unhappy with certain aspects, they're eventually going to wonder what parts of them you do appreciate and whether the relationship is based on how you like them now or how you'll like them once they fit your idea of who they should really be. Either way, it's not going to last.
7 STOP: Voicing Inner Thoughts
It's perfectly fine, and even expected, for two people to share their thoughts and feelings. What isn't necessary is for one person to share every thought and feeling they experience. Not only is it kind of awkward for their partner, but it also creates a certain amount of instability within the relationship.
If one person is always commenting on what their partner is wearing, what they eat and how they live their life, it's only a matter of time until they become overly-conscious of these things and they start to become paranoid about what sort of judgments their partner will spew today. No one wants to live like that so take a chill pill and keep some things to yourself.
6 STOP: Relying On A Partner For EVERYTHING
Romantic partners exist for several reasons - they're there for each other emotionally, physically, to share in the good times and to help each other through the bad times. While there are many relationships in which both parties become symbiotic, that is not to say one person should ever be entirely dependent on the other for one hundred percent of their needs.
If you're using your partner to fulfill your romantic, social, emotional and physical needs, that's fine, but don't overstep and rely on them for all of your financial, personal responsibility and mental needs. There are some things you need to take care of yourself, and some things you should turn to friends or family for instead. If you become entirely dependent on your partner, they're going to hate it and you're going to be sad when the relationship falls apart.
5 Keep: Going Out With Friends Without Bae
Nothing keeps a relationship on its toes like a little space. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder! Remember to take some time to hang out with just your friends or to strengthen some family bonds. While it's cool to have your partner around for as many experiences as possible, it's necessary to give them time to work on their friendships and family relationships just as often as you work on yours.
By providing space, a relationship has a chance to flourish and it makes the reunion at the end of the day all the more meaningful.
4 Keep: Joking Around
Playfulness is one of the most important elements of any relationship, whether it be romantic, platonic or familial. Laughter has been scientifically proven to enhance the immune system and may play a role in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, which makes laughter a heart-healthy activity.
Obviously, having a good time together will result in stronger relationship bonds and will encourage the release of endorphins, which makes people feel an overall sense of well-being and has been documented to temporarily relieve pain.
So what does this all amount to? If you want to establish a strong, healthy relationship, don't forget to laugh.
3 Keep: Encouraging Each Other
Nothing sets a strong relationship foundation like positive interactions. By encouraging one another, couples help each other build confidence and, ultimately, work toward reaching personal goals. By maintaining a positive environment, couples have been shown to fight less often and they tend to be more open to discussions and compromise. It's so simple to offer a kind word here and there or to compliment a romantic partner.
By taking a moment to offer a positive word to your partner, the structure of your relationship is guaranteed to become stronger and your partner will appreciate you for it - they will also likely return your kindness.
2 Keep: Making Time For Real Talk
It's so easy to avoid uncomfortable conversations when you're with the person you care about most! There are so many other things to say or do, but if you want your relationship to stay strong, you've got to suck it up and talk about some serious topics from time to time. Don't let small issues fester until you're a volcano of anger, moments from erupting.
Talk things through, share how you feel and actually listen to what your partner has to say. By tackling the tough topics right away, you'll notice the rest of the relationship will run significantly smoother and you'll release a lot of unnecessary stress.
1 Keep: Going Out On Special Dates
Just because you've been together for a few years, it doesn't mean you've got to stop putting in effort! All relationships get huge boosts from simple things like special date nights, time away from the rest of the world and one-on-one interaction.
It doesn't have to break the bank either - you can just set aside some time to get all dressed up and spend a romantic evening together where you have a good time and remind each other why you're in love. While it may sound cheesy, it's therapeutic and can work wonders for your confidence in the relationship, as well as your confidence in yourself.