Online articles and magazines give us a laundry list of dos and don’ts when it comes to having or maintaining a healthy relationship. While some of the tips seem redundant or inconsequential, the theme of these lists is: treat others as you would like to be treated. It’s a principle that applies to most relationships. I am sure many of us have heard this phrase as children. It’s a puerile concept, yet much more difficult to set into practice.
To succeed in a relationship, I believe that it is best to treat each other as friends. Not as you would treat your Facebook friends or friends you’ve lost touch with, but as close friends who know almost everything about each other and are willing to listen and look after one another. Because caring and looking after each other is at the heart of what a romantic relationship is.
With that in mind, below are a few reminders of things you should avoid in a relationship.
- Don’t compare them to your exes.
As a general rule of them, please don’t make comparisons between people. In logic, comparisons are to assert value or assess the importance of something. However, when it comes to humans, logical comparisons fall short because no one has the right nor the ability to place value on someone else’s life. There is no proper rubric for that. If we were going to go down that lane, we’d end up in a philosophical, ethical, and somewhat religious cannon that gets too complicated.
However, we cannot help make comparisons between people. We get an incomplete picture of others, yet we often make comparisons. In the context of romantic relationships, the person you compare your partner to is your ex. You compare them because your ex is the only other person you have as a rubric for how a relationship works. However, in comparing them both, you assess whether or not your current relationship is worth it. It denotes your insecurity and lack of trust in the relationship. Additionally, comparisons set expectations for the relationship and your partner.
Frankly, comparisons make your partner feel unworthy, taken for granted, and like they need to change. None of these feelings are conducive to fostering a good healthy relationship.
- Don’t stop putting in the effort.
As we progress with our goals or commitments, it is easy to slip into conformity. We get comfortable with where we are and forgo making any effort to progress. The same applies to relationships. The initial stages are exciting because you make an effort to present the best version of yourself and woo the other person. However, as the relationship progresses, it is easy to put it on the back burner.
But, it is not a lack of love or interest that forces you to put your relationship on the back burner. Life can suddenly get busy. However, this lack of effort can make your partner believe that you do not prioritize the relationship. Regardless of how busy you are, you should always make time to show your partner that you care for them.
- Don’t make them feel like they cannot share things with you.
An important aspect of relationships is communication. But, communication is more than speaking to each other. Effective communication involves listening, empathy, and willingness to open up. However, in the context of a romantic relationship, empathy plays a more vital role in communication than listening does. You have to respect your partner, which means that you will not say or do things that you know will make them uncomfortable.
In doing so, you create a safe space for your partner where they can open up and be vulnerable and emotionally intimate.
- Don’t be abusive.
One habit that can ruin a relationship is abuse. But, abuse does not only refer to physical abuse. It encompasses emotional, verbal, and other types as well. Abuse, in any sort, acts like gangrene. It weakens that aspect of your relationship until it spreads and destroys the entire relationship.
For example, calling your partner names or belittling them stifles the communication between you both. It also breaks down the respect and subsequently the trust you have towards each other. Thus, you both become distant and no longer feel the need to carry on in the relationship.
- Don’t cheat.
The last habit you should avoid is cheating. As stated above, relationships rely on trust and love. Cheating breaks the trust between you and your partner. Most people would define cheating as extending the bounds of the relationship. It usually involves lying and omitting information. This habit denotes that there is a lack of trust or an insecurity. Sooner or later, it tears a relationship apart.
Maintaining a relationship seems easy. But, it is easier said than done. It takes time and effort. Hopefully, this list has given you a basic idea of what to avoid if you want to strengthen your relationship.
Best of luck!
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