Rome wasn’t built in a day – and neither are relationships!
They have to be nurtured over time, with both people putting in the effort to keep the spark alive.
Regardless of how long you’ve been together, there’s always time to change. Even if it’s been years, you can still find ways to make your life together even better!
If you want your relationship to grow stronger, you need to cut out any toxic habits that are keeping you stuck. Starting with the following!
1) Lying (even about the small stuff)
It doesn’t matter if you lie to your partner about the little things, right? After all, they’ll never know…
Having this attitude won’t form a strong relationship with the person you love.
You should never lie to your partner – not even about things like how much you spent on your new jacket or the silly thing your friend did on a night out.
Doing this is a sign that you’re a little insecure in the relationship. You don’t trust that your partner will love and accept you for all the things you do – even down to how much you spend on your clothes or what your friends get up to!
Opening up to them fully is a big step. But it’s necessary if you want your relationship to grow stronger.
Because it’s only a matter of time before they find out about your little lies.
And when they do, it’s going to really, really hurt – and they might not ever trust you again!
2) Only telling them part of the story
It technically isn’t lying if you simply omit the truth. Like if you only tell them part of the story and leave other parts out.
But this isn’t the way to build a strong, trustworthy relationship.
I dated someone who did this all the time. When I found out what he was doing, I was pretty hurt.
Not because of the things that actually happened, but because he didn’t feel like he could tell me about them.
When people omit the details like this, they usually have a good reason in their heads for doing it. Like they’re protecting their partner or they feel like their partner won’t be interested/understand.
But that isn’t something your partner has asked for, and they probably wouldn’t be happy about it if they knew you were doing it.
It’s something you’ve decided to do. And it’s something that’s hurting your relationship – and it needs to stop!
Which leads us nicely onto the next bad habit…
3) Hiding parts of yourself
Another behavior that damages relationships is hiding parts of yourself for “the good of the relationship”.
This usually comes from a place of fear. You’re worried about what your partner will think or say if you show your true thoughts and interests. And you’re worried about whether you’ll still be loved.
So you don’t share your thoughts or interests because you think it’s “for the best”.
I understand how people get into the habit of this. But sadly, it isn’t for the best. I’ve had it happen to me before, where someone hid their true side, and it really hurt.
It hurt that they didn’t trust me enough to show their true self. And it hurt that they weren’t in the relationship with both feet like I was.
It also made them resentful of me, because they felt like they couldn’t be their true self, even though I wanted them to be…
Like I said, I get why it happens.
But if you want a strong relationship, you have to be yourself. You have to jump in with both feet. If they don’t like you for you, they definitely aren’t the one. But the chances of that happening are pretty slim!
What’s more likely to happen is that your relationship will become stronger for it, and you’ll feel more accepted, and they’ll feel more trusted.
4) Holding onto resolved issues
It’s normal to have some disagreements in a relationship. And it’s normal to have some issues you need to work through.
But when the sorry’s have been said and the hurtful behavior stops, it’s time to move on.
I’ll be the first to admit that this is hard to do. When something really hurts or shocks you, it isn’t easy to just forgive, forget, and move on.
And it’s very easy to bring up those same issues again and again and again…
But if you’re choosing to stay together, you have to let go of whatever hurt they caused you in the past. If you can’t let go, it might be time to let go of the relationship instead…
5) Trying to “one-up” each other
Relationships aren’t a competition. There is no winner or loser in any situation – and if you start seeing things that way, things can go downhill real fast!
When you’re dating someone, you need to be compassionate and supportive. You need to be their confidant and listening ear – not their competitor.
If they say they’re tired, jumping in to say, “Try living a day in my life, then you’d really know what being tired means!” – that isn’t very supportive.
Likewise, if they had a bad day (and so did you), saying, “My day was a lot worse than yours, I did…” – that isn’t a very compassionate response.
If you do this right now, it’s probably hurting your relationship more than you think.
So remember, it isn’t a competition. You can both be tired and have bad days.
Being understanding about how they feel and then opening up about your day (without comparing it to yours) will make your relationship so much stronger than one- upping them all the time!
6) Playing games
Remember when I said that relationships aren’t a competition? Well, they aren’t a game, either!
So many people play games in relationships. Some do it intentionally. Others do it without even realizing it. Either way, the impact is still the same.
Like if you’ve been texting your boyfriend and he takes 10 minutes to reply. You start taking 20 minutes. He takes 40 minutes… That’s a game you (or both of you!) are playing.
Or if you want to go on a date with him on Saturday, but you want him to miss you and chase you – so you say you can’t make it. That’s another game.
The truth is that playing mind games with your partner isn’t going to lead you to a stronger, healthier relationship. And I hate to break it to you, but these games don’t ever work!
If you want to speak to them and spend time together, doing exactly that is going to make your relationship stronger. Not pretending like you don’t…
7) Being tit for tat
“You don’t do [this], so I’m not going to do [that]”.
“I would do [this] if you did [that] for me”.
Have you ever heard yourself saying these things? If so, you’re being tit for tat! Which means you’ll only do something for your partner if they do it for you.
And I completely get it! I’ve dated people where I felt bitter about things not being equal. But if you want to have a strong relationship, you can’t think like this.
You have to understand that everyone is different and we’re all allowed to have different boundaries. Just because they don’t want to do something for you, that doesn’t mean you can’t do that same thing for them.
If you’re that unhappy about them not doing it, you have to talk through how it makes you feel and come to a compromise.
If a compromise can’t be reached, you have to let it go or (to be frank) split up!
8) Staying in instead of going out
Sometimes there’s nothing better than curling up on the sofa together, ordering a takeout, and watching a good movie with your other half!
But it isn’t good to stay home with your partner all the time. The experts who say that dating keeps a relationship alive are right!
I’ve got into the habit of having this be the only quality time I spent with a partner – and it wasn’t good for the relationship.
When you physically leave the house and do something together, you create new experiences and fresh memories.
You have the chance to truly talk, connect, and stare into each other’s eyes (also important in relationships!).
I know it’s easy to stick to what you know and order that takeout when you’ve had a long week. But choosing to do something different, even a cheap meal out or a long walk in the park, will make your bond so much stronger.
9) Getting stuck in “boring” routines
When I was stuck in a boring routine in a relationship once, I remember thinking to myself, “Is this it? Is this how life is going to be forever?”.
And I wasn’t thinking those thoughts in a good way! I was thinking it because we were stuck in a boring, same-old, same-old routine every single day.
Some routines are good. Like eating dinner at the table together every night, with no phones or TV. Or if you go on a date somewhere new (taking turns to book it) at least once a month.
Other routines aren’t – like staying in and ordering takeout every Saturday. Or watching TV together in silence every weekday. And scrolling on your phones before falling asleep each night…
Everyone likes a bit of home comforts. But there’s a difference between being relaxed with each other and being stuck in a routine that isn’t good for your relationship. And if you want to be stronger together, it’s time to change these things up a bit!
A relationship is only as strong as you make it.
You have to make a conscious effort to make things work. You have to work on your traumas and triggers. And you have to learn how to trust, open up, and dive into the relationship fully with both feet!
I know these things aren’t easy to do. But it’s the only way to build a strong, genuine relationship with someone.
So where do you start? Well, it takes two to tango. You can’t make a change to your habits if they aren’t making them, too.
If you want to be stronger together, talk about it with your other half. Then you can both agree to the habits you want to change and the habits you want to start.
After that, you can start building a stronger, more meaningful relationship that truly makes you happy!