If you’re searching for the secret sauce for a fulfilling and healthy relationship, you’ve come to the right place.
As someone who has navigated the ups and downs of relationships, I’ve learned that creating a strong bond isn’t just about what you do.
It’s also about what you don’t do.
So, let’s dive into ten behaviors to avoid if you want a really healthy relationship.
1) Holding onto grudges
We’ve all felt the pang of disappointment when a partner forgot our anniversary or canceled plans at the last second.
These situations hurt, but don’t let that pain become a long-lasting grudge. Instead, learn to forgive and move past minor missteps.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean ignoring or forgetting when your partner hurts or disappoints you. Remember and learn from the experience. Just don’t let it keep eating away at you (and your relationship).
So, how do you let go of grudges?
2) Sweeping communication under the rug
Communication is the heartbeat of any healthy relationship.
Unfortunately, most of us tend to sweep important conversations under the rug to avoid conflict.
But let me tell you:
Unresolved issues fester like wounds. No matter how hard you try to ignore them, they’re eventually going to need your attention. And the longer you wait, the harder the problem will be to solve.
Open, honest, and empathetic communication is hard sometimes, but it’s the only way to create a foundation of trust and honesty.
3) Not telling the truth
So, what else can you do to create that strong foundation?
Tell the truth.
Not a sugar-coated version of the truth.
Not a “harmless” fib.
Not a half-truth.
You get it. Just be honest.
4) Having a “me” mindset
We all have needs and desires, but when we prioritize “me” over “we,” we put our relationships at risk.
A truly healthy relationship is a delicate balance between individual growth and shared experiences. Embracing compromise and making decisions together are part of the game.
While a “me” mindset sometimes manifests as selfishness, it’s usually a lot more complex than that.
Anxiety and depression make it easy for me to fall into that sort of mindset. I get to a point where all I think or talk about is what’s wrong in my life, with zero consideration of how the same issues may be affecting my partner.
And while I’m in that “me, me, me” phase, seeing ways my partner and I can work together to overcome challenges is impossible.
If you’re dwelling on everything that’s wrong in your life or prioritizing your wants and needs over your partner’s, there’s a problem. Take a step back, and work on seeing things from a “we” perspective.
Plenty of things can cause you to develop a “me” mindset. One of the most common is comparing your relationship to others.
5) Comparing your relationship to others
With social media bombarding us with picture-perfect snapshots of seemingly flawless relationships, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing our own love lives to others.
And when that happens, it’s easy for that “me” mindset and a negative attitude to creep in.
Comparison steals your happiness, and what you perceive about someone else’s relationship probably isn’t entirely true.
Think of social media as the highlights reel. Couples with seemingly perfect relationships only share the good stuff.
We all argue. Everyone disappoints or upsets their partner once in a while. All couples face challenges, and everyone does or says things they later regret.
In other words, perfect relationships don’t exist.
Instead of comparing your relationship to one that’s not real, focus on writing your own love story.
6) Playing mind games
I love a good psychological thriller, but let’s keep the mind games in books and movies and out of relationships.
Playing hard to get, being passive-aggressive, or manipulating your partner isn’t fun. These behaviors aren’t cute or intriguing. They’re toxic.
These behaviors destroy relationships — sometimes even before they become serious.
Want to make someone fall (or stay) in love with you? Skip the BS. Playing mind games isn’t the way to anyone’s heart!
Since we’re talking about games, let’s talk about another one you should never play in relationships:
7) Assigning blame
Playing the blame game won’t help you build a healthy relationship, either.
It’s easy to point fingers and assign blame in the heat of a disagreement, but it doesn’t help.
When conflict arises, focus on solving the problem instead of dwelling on whose fault it is.
Let me tell you a little secret:
You can solve a lot of problems with a little bit of empathy.
Look at things from your partner’s point of view. Try being empathetic and compassionate instead of playing the blame game the next time a problem arises in your relationship. You’ll be surprised at how much faster you reach a resolution.
Not ready to take an empathetic approach? That’s okay. Just remember to avoid this:
8) Reacting instead of responding
Your partner confessed to making a large purchase with your joint bank account without talking to you first.
What do you do?
You could react by flying off the handle, yelling, and accusing them of being irresponsible.
Or you could take a moment to compose yourself and then respond.
Take ten seconds to think about what to say, and consider how it will impact your relationship.
Here’s a hint:
Flipping out isn’t going to put money back in your bank account or fix your partner’s mistake. It will only make your significant other feel bad, or your behavior could make them resent you.
When you give yourself a few moments to compose yourself, you can respond calmly and discuss the situation respectfully.
Trust me, a difficult-but-respectful conversation is way more productive than a screaming match!
Keep in mind, though, that responding instead of reacting doesn’t mean letting your partner overstep boundaries.
9) Ignoring boundaries
Neither person should overstep the other’s boundaries in a healthy relationship. We all make mistakes, but it’s up to us to express (and uphold) our boundaries and respect those of others.
If your significant other crosses a line, let them know. Pay attention to how they respond. It’s a red flag if they keep overstepping.
Be mindful of your partner’s boundaries, too. If you overstep one, sincerely apologize and discuss what you can do differently to prevent it from happening again.
10) Keeping score
From overstepping boundaries to holding onto grudges for way too long, we all make relationship mistakes.
In healthy relationships, both people understand this and work together to forgive, heal, and move forward — all without keeping score.
Tallying up who did what, who owes whom, and who tries harder in the relationship can turn your love into a contest.
But love isn’t about keeping score.
It’s about working as a team, not competing against each other. Keeping score is always a lose-lose situation.
Now, let’s talk about another behavior that prevents healthy relationships.
11) Neglecting quality time
In our fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in the grind of work, family, and social commitments, leaving little time for your significant other.
Neglecting quality time together can create emotional distance and a sense of disconnect.
Make spending time together a priority. Whether it’s a cozy movie night, a long walk in nature, or simply sitting together talking about your day, these moments are vital in any relationship.
12) Letting technology take over
Our hectic lives aren’t the only thing preventing couples from spending quality time together.
Technology can get in the way of spending meaningful time together, too.
I’ll admit it:
I’m addicted to my phone. I can spend hours on it without realizing how much time has passed. I check every notification and look at my phone frequently to make sure I don’t miss anything. I don’t even like leaving a room without taking it with me.
And my fiance let me know that he often feels neglected when my eyes are glued to the screen.
While I still struggle with it, I’m learning to be more mindful of how frequently I reach for my phone. I’ve started keeping it in my purse more often when we’re out for dinner, and I try not to doom scroll for hours on end when we’re together.
In our digitally connected world, it’s easy for technology to take center stage and replace meaningful interactions.
If you’re hooked on any type of technology, you will need to look up from the screen to have a healthy relationship.
Sometimes, you have to disconnect to reconnect!
It takes time, commitment, and a willingness to avoid toxic behaviors.
No one is perfect, and I think that everyone is at least a little bit toxic once in a while. The key is accepting responsibility for your actions and working to improve.
Every day is a chance to build a stronger, healthier relationship. Why not start today?