Experts weigh in on the things you're doing that could harm your partnership.

By Jenn Sinrich
September 11, 2019
DONNA NEWMAN

We all want to have a peaceful, loving, and harmonious relationship with our significant others, but sometimes life gets in the way and causes us to lose focus of what's most important. To keep your romantic relationship in a healthy place, one of the best things you can do is incorporate beneficial habits and avoid the ones that lead to bitter fights and arguments. "Healthy daily habits are a way to actively bring the positive into the focus of the relationship dynamic and are essential to maintaining a solid relationship," says Julienne Derichs, L.C.P.C., a licensed clinical professional counselor. "For this reason, couples need to consciously and deliberately add positive interactions into their relationship in order to keep a good balance between the inevitable negatives and the positives." Here are the habits you should avoid for the betterment of your partnership.

Related: How to Be a Better Communicator in Your Relationship

Not Displaying Appreciation on a Daily Basis

When couples are lacking in this area, Derichs warns that they run the risk of the negative aspects of their relationship taking center stages, which increases conflict and bad feelings. "Acknowledgement, fondness, and appreciation are like muscles that you build over time to make you stronger," she says. "Look for aspects of your significant other that you can express in order to build that muscle—a la 'I like it when...I appreciate that you...What I love most about you today is…'"

Neglecting to Make Time for Your Partner

When you live together, you might think that automatically counts as spending time together, but relationship experts say this is not the case. Just sitting side-by-side on your couch watching Netflix after a long day might not suffice as quality time together—especially if that's something you do regularly. Things like going out to dinner, seeing a movie, or taking a weekend trip to somewhere special are quality time well spent. "Tend to your relationship as if it were a garden. Put your relationship and your significant on the calendar everyday, even if it's 15 minutes spent having a cup of coffee together without other distractions," says Derichs.

Not Setting Boundaries

Having friends and family who come around often is a wonderful thing and should be embraced, however when you have a significant other, especially one you live with, boundaries must be set. Boundaries, Michael Bouciquot, licensed marriage and family therapist at Counseling and Wellness Center of South Florida, explains, allow you to give your partner the quality time and your relationship the attention it needs. "You can still be a great friend, but not all the time," he says. "It's also important to set boundaries when it comes to things you share with your friends and family about your significant other, as doing so might mean you're on the road to ruining your relationship."

Not Fighting Fair

A quick way to ruin your relationship is fighting dirty, like bringing up something that happened a year ago as a reason to justify why you did or said something. "It's important to let your partner know when they did something you did not like, but waiting to bring it up when you are in a fight makes things worse," warns Bouciquot, who also recommends avoiding name calling at all costs. "It's verbal abuse and words hurt."

Having Unrealistic Expectations

Having inflated expectations can ruin your relationship fast. We should never hold our partner to elevated standards they can never achieve. It will only lead to disappointment, anger, and resentment. You want to have a certain set of standards, but it's important to make sure they realistic and achievable. Your partner needs a coach, not a critic. In addition, to being aware of the expectations you put on your partner keep in mind the expectations you have for yourself.

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