Romance isn't just about a box of chocolates on Valentine's Day. A satisfying relationship can also make people feel happy and healthy. But keep in mind that successful relationships aren't just about rainbows and butterflies; a healthy partnership requires communication, respect and plenty of good habits from both people.
So, when dating that special someone, avoid stalking his or her ex on Facebook, keeping feelings bottled up and splitting the double cheeseburger every night. These bad habits could make a great relationship take a turn for the worse.
Save the Spark -- Your Action Plan:
1. Trying to improve him/her
Newsflash: There's no such thing as a perfect person, so don't expect unrealistic changes. Reminding him or her to make the bed is one thing, but trying to radically change shyness or anxiety is another -- and could be ignoring the underlying causes for those issues in the first place.
2. Finding faults with the fam
The rents may be harder to handle than your significant other. But even if there's some clashing of heads, don't focus on the family's faults.
Getting criticism from family members can make people feel depressed and hostile, which means some tense holiday dinners. Besides, the situation can't be worse than what Gaylord went through.
3. Engaging in constant PDA
Getting it on in public can not only make bystanders uncomfortable, it may also compensate for a lack of real communication. Stick to hand-holding and quick kisses, and save the rest for the bedroom (or the cell phone?).
4. Fighting in public
As if PDA weren't bad enough. Arguing in public can embarrass the couple and make everyone around feel awkward, too. Talk it out in private, please.
5. Avoiding fighting
Just don't make fighting an all-day affair.
6. Not talking it out
If something is wrong, the other person probably can't read your mind. When a problem comes up, speak up at the right time.
One study suggests young couples are less stressed when they talk out their issues than when they keep their feelings bottled up. And don't forget to say, “I love you.” Expressing emotions -- positive and negative -- can benefit that bond.
7. Forgetting to forgive
8. Timing discussions badly
Conversations about important issues, like relationship expectations and financial blunders, all have their time and place. Don't bring up serious topics when someone's stressed, like at the end of the workday or right before hosting a party.
Set up a time to talk when both people are relaxed.
9. Keeping score
Sure, relationships should be about give and take, but don't keep track of every little detail. (For example, "I paid for the last six dinners, and you only paid for five!") It can cause unnecessary tension.
10. Being melodramatic
No relationship is perfect. So don't create unnecessary drama in every scenario. If a mate forgets to take out the garbage, there's no need for a scene. Take a few breaths and address the problem calmly.
Read the full list on Greatist.
Citations: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking (PubMed), For better or worse: interpersonal relationships and individual outcome (PubMed), Social anxiety and romantic relationships: the costs and benefits of negative emotion expression are context-dependent (PubMed), Association of perceived family criticism with health behaviors (PubMed), Social anxiety and romantic relationships: the costs and benefits of negative emotion expression are context-dependent (PubMed), Forgiveness, physiological reactivity, and health: the role of anger (PubMed)