Looking to have a happy, healthy, and fulfilling relationship like what happy couples enjoy? Then;
I want you to think of how disturbing and anxiety-inducing the following sentence is.
Being in a relationship that feels like it’s weighing you down and instilling negative energy into how you deal with work and other relationships.
I just described the reality of a lot of unhappy couples.
While it’s perfectly normal to feel unhappy in a relationship occasionally, no one wants to be in a relationship where the frequency and duration at which one feels unhappy are very high.
That’s why paying attention to what happy couples do differently in their relationships can help you transform, avoid, or walk away from such a situation.
These insights can help you differentiate between happy and unhappy relationships so you can either work towards making yours one or walk away from a relationship that was never meant to be in the first place.
1. They can always be themselves around each other.
More than anything else, to us humans, nothing beats the freedom of being ourselves, even in our romantic relationships.
Because it completes a primal need in us: the need to be accepted—and even more since it means being accepted just for being ourselves.
And on the other hand, if we have to lie, mask, and pretend to be someone else for a relationship to work, our long-term happiness and satisfaction suffer.
That’s why people who value their happiness, satisfaction, and overall well-being in a relationship would rather be single than be in a relationship where they can’t be themselves.
Tell me: How will you describe a relationship where you’ll be completely comfortable being yourself?
A relationship where you won’t feel pressured to subsume your personality into your partner’s? Or one in which your partner won’t mold you into what they like?
Of course, such a relationship will be a lot happier and more satisfying than many other relationships.
Hence, if you want a happy relationship that’s as satisfying as what a lot of happy couples enjoy,
Then you and your partner should prioritize being yourselves to the extent that you can be open and honest with each other without worrying about being judged.
I don’t know for you. But I’ve always believed that one of the essential cruces of being in a relationship is the freedom to be my authentic self, emotionally vulnerable, and bear my soul open without any fear of judgment whatsoever.
Because life can’t be really happy when I have to drift away from who I really am to be loved and accepted. And I think the case will be the same as yours.
2. They never shy away from expressing their feelings.
It’s normal for us to have certain feelings (either positive or negative) in a romantic relationship influenced by our partner’s actions or other circumstances.
But what matters is how we deal with those feelings, especially the unpleasant ones.
I don’t know the situation in your relationship.
But I know very well that if all you do in your relationship is bottle up your feelings and pretend to be OK with even the things that stress you the most, your relationship will be unhappy.
I’m confident about this because I’ve seen many couples struggle in their relationships because either or both parties involved suck at expressing their feelings.
These couples prefer to make life difficult for themselves by either expecting one party to read the other’s mind or being mute whenever one party hurts the other. And all these pave the way for disappointment, drama, and resentment in their relationships.
But that is different for many happy couples out there. They know the importance of being understood in a relationship; hence, they make it a duty always to express themselves understandably.
They know it’s unrealistic to think they’ll ever be intimate enough with their partners to expect them to understand them without taking the time to express themselves.
Moreover, they understand that expressing their thoughts and even their most negative feelings is one of the most important ways to demonstrate love.
Because it fosters trust and closeness in a relationship and, above all, makes the relationship a happy one since it’ll be free of resentment and disappointments that will become of the relationship if the couples involved are fond of bottling up their feelings.
Also read: 5 Main Pillars Of Successful Relationships
3. Their relationships are rooted in deep friendship
This is one thing that I’ve been pondering on for a while:
I can’t stop wondering how a lot of us somehow, under the influence of intense romantic attraction to someone we are helplessly attracted to,
Even go as far as hoping to enjoy a happy and satisfying relationship with someone we aren’t really friends with.
But according to Dr. John Gottman’s book, “7 Principles for Making Marriage Work,” couples are less satisfied with sex, romance, and passion if their relationship isn’t rooted in deep friendship.
And that’s precisely why couples who are best friends enjoy the freedom to be 100% themselves around each other. They love, accept, and appreciate each other at their worst and best.
They can enjoy each other’s company even on a boring Tuesday. Not to talk of how they’ll be each other’s biggest cheerleaders.
The truth is, when your relationship is rooted in deep friendship, it means you trust each other, make each other happy in your little ways, and have a freeing sense of security that isn’t all-consuming in your relationship.
4. They sincerely apologize to each other when they are wrong.
I’m pretty sure we are all on the same page that it’s inevitable to say or put up behaviors that’ll, in one way or another, hurt our partners and vice versa.
And the truth is, it’ll be quite a disaster if one or both parties involved in a relationship can’t sincerely and effectively apologize whenever they intentionally or otherwise hurt each other.
The problem is that doing so reeks of a need for more empathy. And the inability of the person who finds it hard to apologize to put themselves in the place of their partners. This will, in turn, pose a massive threat to the relationship’s happiness, peace, and satisfaction.
I was once in a relationship with someone who would rather play the victim card or do anything else than apologize whenever she hurt me.
In fact, she once told me that I “caused” her to cheat when all I hoped to hear from her was a simple “I’m sorry.”
In a nutshell, our relationship was the unhappiest one I have ever been in. I was often left drowning in resentment because I rarely received a sincere apology whenever she hurt me. I believe this isn’t the case with someone in a happy relationship.
5. They set and respect each other’s boundaries.
Many people associate what it takes to make a relationship work with being a partner who won’t mind putting up with terrible behaviors from a partner or being in compliance with whatever a partner says or does.
Just as many others think someone loves them when they comply with whatever they say or do.
But happy couples would instead seek a relationship where both parties prioritized each other to the extent that they respected each other’s boundaries.
They know that doing so is one of the surest paths to ending up in one of the happiest and most fulfilling relationships one can ever have.
And that’s precisely why their relationships don’t turn out to be miserable, where either of them would have to put up with brutal violations of boundaries, like in some unhealthy and unhappy relationships.
6. Everything doesn’t seem too transactional.
Happy couples are always willing to give mutually to each other. But that doesn’t mean they expect reciprocation at all times to the extent that it feels like an obligation.
But in unhappy relationships, some people sometimes find themselves in situations where it feels like they owe their partners something in return for whatever their partners do for them. Or vice versa.
And the problem is that if your relationship is that transactional, it’s likely that either or both of you will end up with deep resentment for each other the more either of you fails to give back in return.
As a result, your relationship will be at the mercy of Dr. John Gottman’s four relationship horsemen: Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling — a terrible vicious cycle responsible for the demise of a lot of unhappy, short-lived relationships.
Sounds horrible, right?
That’s why happy couples know better than to make their relationships this transactional. Hence, their relationships are less unhappy in this sense compared to other couples in such kinds of transactional relationships.
Also read: 10 Subtle Signs Someone Secretly Loves You
7. They always do this instead of focusing on being right.
Happy couples understand that choosing to meet their individual needs for power, dominance, and the need to be right at the expense of the well-being of a relationship is the surest way to rock its boat.
When all we do during conflicts in our relationship is strive to be right, justify our actions, and do all sorts of selfish things instead of aiming for win-win situations, our happiness won’t only suffer because we might risk losing the relationship.
Suppose every fight in your relationship is geared towards your interests or your partner’s. In that case, it’ll always leave the party at the shorter end of the stick hurt, disappointed, and even unhappy.
In some cases, you might find out that you’ll be far from happy even after winning the argument.
Hence, couples should learn to fight fairly and healthily in a way that isn’t selfish but considerate of each other’s needs and feelings.
Because if that’s the case, there’ll be less room for disappointment and resentment in their relationships.
John Emmanuel is a results-obsessed relationship blogger and founder of Top Love Hacks, dedicated to helping you level up your dating and relationship game by motivating you to be in control of your love life.