Maintaining a healthy and solid relationship takes work, but it should always feel like work you enjoy doing. If you want to know whether or not your love is solid, you need to examine any areas that are fragile or on the verge of breaking. Typically, it takes something big to end a strong and committed relationship, but if you and your S.O. are guilty of any of these little things, you could be headed for trouble:
Criticizing each other’s looks. This might seem like an obvious dealbreaker, but body-shaming comments aren’t always as obvious as, “That dress makes you look like a promiscuous woman.” Being critical of someone’s appearance is always hurtful and terrible, even if it’s as subtle as, “You’re wearing that tonight?” Let the person you love wear whatever they want, appreciate the body they have and demand the same from them.
Making passive aggressive comments. To the people who make these kinds of comments, it might seem like the easier, less confrontational option, but it’s actually way worse. Don’t let yourself be guilty of this, and if your SO does it, shut it down immediately by letting them know this form of communication won’t be tolerated – especially since it doesn’t help anyone.
A lack of true forgiveness after a fight. You get into an argument over something stupid and you both get so heated you can’t even look at each other. It happens to the strongest couples. But once you make up and decide to forgive each other, you actually have to do that. If you bring up something from this fight during the next one, that unresolved anger will slowly chip away at your psyche and your relationship until there’s nothing left.
Flirting with other people. There’s a difference between being friendly and being flirty. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with looking at other people or even ogling them on Instagram, and there’s nothing wrong with smiling at them or exchanging basic pleasantries. But when intimate nicknames are assigned, late-night texting occurs and all interactions have a sexual tension to them, shady stuff is going down and it’s so not okay. You shouldn’t feel compelled to do it if your needs are being met by your partner, and they shouldn’t either.
Only spending time with each other and nobody else. Healthy couples have ample independence. They make time for themselves, their friends and family, their interests and they’re not constantly with their partners. There’s nothing healthy about extreme codependent behavior. You both need time to maintain your independence and do your own thing.
Not having your own hobbies. Maybe you like yoga, archery, and knitting. Maybe your S.O. likes running, baseball, and fishing. That’s good! You should always have your own interests and try new things. Doing some things together is fun, doing all things together is just not. In fact, it’s a recipe for disaster.
Hiding your true feelings… about anything. There’s nothing that gets my blood boiling like this idea that women who share their vulnerable sides are “weak” or “crazy.” Screw all of that. Sharing your feelings with someone whom you’ve given the ability to break your heart takes courage, and there are few things scarier than that in this life. So when you or your partner feels something, let yourselves feel it. And if you’re in the mood to share that, then share away. If your S.O. can’t respect your vast emotional spectrum, they’re not worthy of your time.
Binge-Cheating on a shared TV show. It takes a special kind of evil to share a new favorite show with someone, promise to keep watching the new episodes together, and then skip ahead alone. That behavior is selfish and extremely disappointing. It’s also an early sign of them putting their needs and wants ahead of yours. It might seem like a silly compulsion, but seriously, THIS IS NOT OKAY.
Actual Cheating. This might seem so obvious that you don’t even need to set ground rules with your partner about it. It’s worth a discussion, though, especially since monogamy in the modern dating world is such a murky concept. Define what cheating means to both of you, and then stay true to your relationship, emotionally and physically.
Being scared of being yourself. When I met my husband, I never wore makeup, and regularly rocked a bright orange Old Navy tracksuit to class. He crushed hard on me anyway. Why? Because he saw past my hideous athleisure attire of the early ’00s and saw the real me. The right people will see you for you and love everything about you. And you’ll do the same for them.
Hanging out with exes. Unless you share a child with an ex, there’s absolutely no scenario in which staying in contact with them is necessary. Sorry not sorry, that concept makes zero sense to me. You saw this person naked. You’ve shared intimate moments together, and ultimately, they weren’t the right person for you. So why keep them around? Same goes for your partner. If their exes are still in the picture sans babies, there’s usually something shady going on.
Constantly worrying that something small will end the relationship. If the relationship was truly in a good place, then something minor wouldn’t cause it to end. So why stress over the little things? This is a sign that something is off, and that deep down you know you two aren’t compatible enough to make it last. If forever was in your future, you’d feel way more confident.
Gaslighting. Gaslighting is perhaps the most awful form of emotional mess someone can pull. It’s a psychological manipulation of a person’s words, reactions, or memories to make them question their own sanity and emotional stability. It’s so subtle that you might not even realize it’s happening until a conversation ends and you feel confused and guilty without knowing why. Your emotions are your own, and nobody has the right to make you question whether what your feeling is right or wrong. You get to feel how to feel, and if this is happening in your relationship, drop everything and run.
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