Ever heard the saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy”?
Constantly comparing your relationship to someone else’s isn’t going to lead to happiness in yours.
But it can make you realize certain things (both good and bad).
Something I wish I’d done a lot more of in my teenage years and early twenties is compare my relationships to those of my friends.
I always brushed off differences with a throwaway, “Everyone is different”.
Which is true. But there was a lot to be unpacked in those relationships of my past.
And if I’d compared what went on in my relationship to what went on in others (namely those that were actually happy), I would’ve left way sooner.
Think something might be off about your relationship?
Here are 7 things happy couples never talk about – so you can decide if it really is all sunshine and rainbows in your dating life.
1) Each other’s flaws
Romantic relationships are intimate things. They’re completely different from friendships and family dynamics.
They can bring out the best in you and the worst in you.
If there’s one thing relationship experts cite, it’s that couples should talk about their problems. Communication is the only way to build a strong, supportive bond.
But the buck should stop when it comes to each other’s flaws.
We all have our flaws and most of us are very aware of them. Sure, your partner may not be the smartest person or be very skilled at certain tasks.
But highlighting those flaws to your partner (when it isn’t a joke) can chip away at their confidence and make them feel insecure.
2) Insecurities (unless it’s for a specific reason)
We all have our insecurities, especially in relationships. Some of us have anxious attachment styles that make us feel like we’re hard to love.
Others have trauma that makes certain intimate things more difficult to handle. And some people just have things about their appearance that they’re insecure about.
But happy couples don’t talk about the other person’s insecurities uninvited.
Say your partner is self-conscious about their height or weight. A good partner wouldn’t constantly bring it up or make jokes about it with friends.
They may highlight it to try to help the person through it. But this will be done in a loving, caring, and cautious way. Not as a joke, criticism, or throwaway comment.
3) Criticisms of family members
Everyone has different families – a statement my partner and I are always saying to one another.
My family is on an entirely different scale to his. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
But we try not to compare things or feel any sort of way about how the others’ family is (compared to our own).
And we definitely don’t criticize each other’s family for how they do things.
I’m sure he may not agree with all the things my family does. Nor may I always agree with things his family does.
But we both love our families. And it would hurt or even be awkward if we slated the other’s parents on a regular basis.
4) Things that’ll make the other person jealous
Jealousy is a normal feeling to have in romantic relationships. Experts even say that it’s a healthy emotion. It shows how much you care and want to protect your partner.
But, like many things, there’s healthy jealousy and unhealthy jealousy.
Regardless, happy couples don’t intentionally talk about things that make the other person jealous.
For example, my partner and I would never discuss things we loved about our exes or happy memories together. Nor we would get into any detail about past sexual experiences.
It would make us both jealous and it probably wouldn’t make either of us feel good about ourselves.
Every relationship is different – and some people are more jealous than others.
I have friends who intentionally do or say some things to make their partner jealous. It sparks stronger feelings of love for each other.
But they still have their limits. And happy couples know what those limits are when it comes to jealousy.
5) Things they dislike about each other
I remember seeing a trend on TikTok where couples would share their “icks” for each other. Sometimes it was funny and everyone was laughing.
But most of them were just sharing things they disliked about their partner.
And you could see from the other person’s face that the conversation wasn’t feeling good (even if the person saying it was laughing).
Imagine sitting with your partner watching TV and they said to you:
“I hate the way you breathe so loudly”.
“It annoys me so much when you sit like that”.
“Why do you comment on everything like that? I hate hearing your voice all the time”.
No one wants to know those things. And it doesn’t feel good hearing things the person who’s supposed to love you hates about you.
I know for myself, I wouldn’t stay in a relationship with someone who was full of criticisms about me.
Or had a long list of things they disliked about me that they could reel off at any given moment…
6) Tit for tat
Relationships require some give and take. Doing things for your partner, and having them do things for you, is just part of loving someone.
Keeping score of what you’ve done vs. what the other person has done isn’t a healthy way to be a couple, according to experts.
It’s biased and leads to misunderstandings. It also makes it obvious that there are conditions to the love you give (i.e., getting something in return).
Signs of scorekeeping could be saying (or hearing) things like:
“Well if you get to do that, then I should get to do that, too.”
“I’ll do it for you if you do it for me.”
“You won’t do that for me, so I won’t do that for you.”
For me, I think it’s important for there to be a balance in a relationship. And you get a sense when the balance is off – which is when you should talk about it.
But otherwise, throwing the things you do for your partner in their face constantly isn’t a healthy way to create a secure, loving bond.
And it isn’t something happy couples talk about.
7) Attraction to people they know
Talking about people you’re attracted to with the person you’re dating isn’t always a good idea.
Experts say it’s normal to feel attracted to others when you’re in a relationship. But that doesn’t mean you should talk about it to your partner in any depth.
Depending on the relationship, it can make the other person feel jealous, insecure, threatened, or even unloved.
I know I don’t want to know if my partner finds my friends good-looking. And I’m sure he doesn’t want to know if I had similar thoughts about his friends.
Imagine sitting with your partner and them telling you:
“Your sister looked hot today.”
“The new girl at work is so fit, I think I fancy her.”
“Your friend looked sexy in their new Instagram picture.”
I personally couldn’t even imagine it. For me (and many others, based on this Reddit thread), there’s no reason to say those things other than to create insecurity.
And, in honesty, I just don’t want to hear about it.
As we said earlier, all relationships are different – and what makes some couples happy is completely different for others.
Another thing my partner and I often say when we hear about things our other couple friends are up to is:
“As long as they’re happy, that’s all that matters”.
Because it’s true.
Some couples find humor in a little tit for tat.
Others feel motivated by a little bit of discussion about their insecurities and flaws – especially if they struggle with self-awareness to identify flaws themselves.
And some like a little bit of jealousy to keep the spark alive.
And as long as they’re truly happy, who am I to judge? Because all that matters is that they’re content with how things work.
But generally speaking, happy couples don’t go out of their way to do things that’ll hurt their partner.
And most of the things on this list can (according to experts) cause hurt or insecurity to your partner – and they aren’t signs of a healthy, happy relationship.