7 things mentally strong couples never do, according to psychology

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According to the American Psychology Association, about half of all first marriages in America end in divorce–a percentage that goes up significantly for second marriages. 

I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that the figure is even higher for couples that stay in marriages but remain unfulfilled and resentful. 

Given these rather staggering facts, it’s safe to conclude that truly successful couples are in the minority these days. 

So what do they do differently than everyone else? 

Well, for one thing, as a couple they stay tactful enough to avoid certain bad behaviors and habits. 

In this article, I’ll walk you through some of the things mentally strong couples rarely do, according to psychology. 

Let’s dive in!

1) They never avoid communication

It’s true what they say: communication is at the foundation of any successful union, romantic or otherwise.

If you aren’t talking, your chances of relationship success are slim, at best. 

Mentally strong couples don’t often shy away from discussing their feelings, needs, or concerns. 

They don’t keep their feelings constantly inside, allowing them to fester, building unnecessary hostility and resentment in the process. 

When you keep feelings and thoughts bottled up indefinitely, like a pressure cooker, things can blow up. 

Remember, if you want to make your relationship work, open and honest communication is key. 

With it, you can mitigate conflict and allow yourself to thrive. 

According to psychologist Harriet B. Braiker: “Conflict avoidance is not the hallmark of a good relationship. On the contrary, it is a symptom of serious problems and poor communication.”

2) They don’t hold grudges 

Mentally strong couples are masters of letting go. 

Instead of nurturing resentment, and letting those feelings spiral, they actively work on forgiveness and moving past old grievances.

They’re in it to win it. 

Hence, they tend to work as a team, letting go of lingering issues; issues that when unaddressed could later come back to damage their union. 

When you’re on the same page like this consistently, your chances of making it work increase exponentially.

Dr. Steve Maraboli has stated: “Holding a grudge and harboring anger and resentment is poison to the soul. Get even with people, but not those who have hurt us, forget them, instead get even with those who have helped us.”

3) They don’t ignore individuality

I know people who get so caught up in “being in love” or simply being in a relationship, they lose track of their own identity. 

This is a recipe for disaster. 

Our uniqueness as individuals is what makes us, well, us; it’s what makes us special.

When we lose sight of ourselves, and sacrifice our individuality, for a relationship, it can almost feel like when we’re in a trance. 

When we eventually snap out of it, powerful feelings of regret will invariably surface. 

When you’re part of a mentally strong couple, you will almost always maintain your interests, friendships, and other routes toward personal growth–and not be solely dependent on your SO for emotional support. 

Psychology Today says of maintaining identity in a relationship: “The goal is to be close and still maintain an identity as a separate person. When people are in an individuated state, they are happier and more optimistic. They have a stronger sense of themselves so they are capable of more intimacy, love, and passion in their relationship.”

Touche. 

4) They don’t ignore boundaries 

When we let our guard down in a relationship, the occasional tendency is to neglect boundaries. 

But here’s the thing: even in the most passionate, amorous of relationships, healthy boundaries need to be both established and respected.

As long as you’re dating someone who is a living, breathing human being, they deserve their personal space and autonomy, whether they recognize that or not. 

So if sustainability is your goal, start appreciating the virtue of having relationship boundaries. 

This isn’t just good for the relationship, it’s healthy for you as an individual. 

According to the website Connecte Psychology: “Boundaries are a conceptual limit between you and the other person. Simply put, it’s about knowing where you end and others begin. Knowing what’s yours and what’s not. Acknowledging that every adult is responsible for themselves.”

True. 

5) They don’t compare relationships 

Comparison is the thief of joy; something that is particularly true when it comes to relationships. 

I remember my ex used to compare our relationship with others all the time. 

She’d watch formulaic rom-coms, or see her acquaintances’ “perfect” relationships on Instagram, and often remark how ours never quite measured up. 

I was doing my best to appease her, to make things work–but because she tended to frequently compare, she was never fully satisfied. 

This eventually led to resentment in me as well–and therefore our union inevitably crumbled. 

Moral of the story? Instead of seeing how everyone else is doing, focus on your unique journey and growth together. 

Measure your happiness and contentment from within, not in relation to everyone else. 

There is no perfect relationship; and if that’s what you’re striving for, you’re setting yourself up for failure. 

Life coach Vironika Tugaleva says of comparisons: “There is no use in comparing yourself to others. There will always be someone ahead and someone behind, and there will be dozens (if not hundreds) of different scales and gradients to be behind and ahead on.”

6) They don’t neglect appreciation 

Mentally strong couples don’t often take one another for granted. 

Once one party feels unappreciated, this can often signal the beginning of the end. 

So if you want to make things work, it’s in your interest to consistently make the effort to express gratitude appreciation (and love) for your partner. 

In the context of a relationship, these are very core needs; and if your partner isn’t getting these things from you, they may fill that void elsewhere.

Appreciate your partner. It’ll guide you through the inevitable highs and lows of life. 

As Psychology Today puts it, “Feeling appreciated by one’s partner is like “glue” that can help keep a relationship together during tough times.”

Any mentally strong couple understands the importance of continuous effort and appreciation for their other half. 

7) They don’t let the ego dominate 

As we’ve established, there is no such thing as a perfect relationship. 

Not even close. 

But if you want to get along with your partner, for there to be a perpetual sense of harmony, you need to be able to put your pride aside now and then.

Some people are so stubborn, that they’ll rarely apologize, compromise, or admit even the slightest of fault. 

Trust me, I know many people with these qualities–qualities that point to underlying, ingrained personal issues.

So don’t let your ego dominate. 

Remember, you’re a team; and to win, you need to work together, compromising and sacrificing where necessary.

Final words 

If you find someone you love and you want your relationship to succeed, you have to act like a mentally strong couple and put the work in. 

Like anything in life, there are no shortcuts to a thriving, prosperous romance.

As you know by now, however, a truly, genuinely successful relationship is far rarer than we think. 

The route to get there is through putting the time in; and notably, by dodging the aforementioned bad behaviors. 

Through avoidance, comes wisdom. And real love.

You got this. 

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Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham, based in Auckland, writes about the psychology behind everyday decisions and life choices. His perspective is grounded in the belief that understanding oneself is the key to better decision-making. Lucas’s articles are a mix of personal anecdotes and observations, offering readers relatable and down-to-earth advice.

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