There are not a lot of rigid rules for a relationship. You can pretty much do whatever you want – as long as it works for you and your partner. However, if you are having problems in your relationship, it is likely because one of these relationship “dont’s” is happening. Also, if you think your relationship is running smoothly but one of these still exists – hate to burst your bubble, but it is not as smooth as you think. Take a look at these relationship do’s and don’ts and see if you need to reevaluate what’s happening in your relationship.
Don’t – Cheat or keep secrets.
Do – Be honest.
As I said – you can pretty much do whatever you want. But, the caveat is that you need to be honest about it. Don’t keep secrets. Some relationships are open and allow other sexual partners or relationships. If this is not the case in your relationship and you are cheating, you are going down an ugly road, my friend.
Instead, be honest. If you are not satisfied with your emotional or physical connection, talk about what you want to see different. And at least have the decency to know what you want to change so that you are not leaving your partner lost and confused. Think about what you want for yourself and from your partner. Then, have an open and nonjudgmental conversation. This may be one of the hardest conversations you will ever have, but it beats your bad habit of hiding things from your partner and never knowing what you actually want from a relationship.
Don’t – Feel bad for yourself.
Do – Look in the mirror and make a change.
Don’t sulk, ruminate, and feel bad for yourself. Have you ever heard the phrase “If you don’t help yourself, then no one will.” That is it’s truest form in relationships. It is harsh.. but true.
Rather, reflect on your own life. Are you truly happy with what you are doing and thinking on a regular basis? If you’re sulking and ruminating, then likely not. Consider what you want to change in your own life then make that change. Speak up more; propose fun ideas; exercise; eat healthy – the list goes on of ways you can change your own life and not feel bad for yourself. Making this change will lead towards happiness in your life and in your relationship.
Don’t – Criticize, nag, or blame.
Do – Share your feelings and get their story.
Don’t put your partner down and blame them for relationship issues. Your nagging and criticism will lead you no where. You may see minimal changes here and there because your partner wants you off their back. But let’s be honest – they’re probably going to begin resenting you for all the negativity you are spewing at them.
In place of criticism, share your feelings. If you are criticizing your partner for not doing something (or doing something upsetting), calmly let them know that you are upset/sad/hurt that it happened, and why it is upsetting for you. After, get their side of the story. Ask curiously why they made that decision and gain an understanding. This will help you both to communicate more effectively and to have a long-lasting, happy relationship.
Don’t – Try to change them.
Do – Accept, love, and support them.
Ironically, accepting them, loving them, and supporting their decisions helps to guide them toward more positive choices. If your partner is doing something damaging to himself/herself or to the relationship and you feel you have done everything you could to help them make other decisions, then you need to decide if you want to stay in this relationship. If you do stay, then stop pushing them. You will burn yourself out (and them too)! Either stay in it and accept it or leave and move on.
In your relationship, don’t cheat or keep secrets but be honest instead. Never feel bad for yourself; rather, reevaluate your own habits and make a change. Criticizing, nagging, and blaming are a no-go. To replace those habits, share your feelings with your partner and get their side of the story to communicate better. Trying to change your partner will lead no where. Accept, love, and support them with all your might. However, if you have tried everything to love and support them when he/she is clearly damaging hisself/herself or the relationship, then you need to decide if this relationship is right for you. These are the 4 biggest do’s and dont’s. Take a look at your relationship and consider what needs to be change today.
About The Author
Chris Cummins is a couples counselor at The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, Colorado. He focuses on working with with couples in high conflict and couples who are experiencing substance abuse. Living in Colorado, Chris enjoys hiking traveling and anything else outdoors.