Generally, the more experiences we have in life and the more wisdom we gain, the more we realize that there are certain things that we must never do. Most of us have that list of “DON’Ts” or “NEVER TO” for most areas of life.
This is especially important when it comes to our relationships. Through the hurts and the pains of our love life, we consciously or subconsciously learn (hopefully) many such insights and distinctions that might help us build a healthy relationship down the road.
Below we’ll look into some of the major things that one must NEVER do in a relationship. It’s safe to say that these might be the worst mistakes people make in their relationships.
Learning from the experiences of people I’ve helped over the years and reflecting on my own personal experiences, I’ve come up with this list of things that can quickly ruin any relationship, things that can turn a good relationship into a toxic one in no time.
Unfortunately, these aren’t as uncommon as one might think. A lot of us fall into these mistakes at some point in our relationship.
Keeping in mind that a wise person not only knows what to do but also what Not to do, let’s look into the things that must stay away from our love life at all costs.
1. Avoid Negative Assumptions About Your Partner
Giving your spouse the benefit of doubt is one of the prominent traits of a healthy relationship. Whenever you’re not sure about why your partner did something or acted in a certain way, instead of making the worst assumptions like, “he doesn’t love me anymore” or “our relationship is dying”, make efforts to think of other possibilities that might not be so intensely negative.
Negative assumptions will only make your life difficult. When you decide to spend the rest of your life with your spouse, you’ve got to trust their intentions and have a more understanding approach towards them.
When your partner comes home grumpy, instead of assuming that “she doesn’t like to see my face anymore”, be a bit more kind and empathetic to assume that they might have had a rough day at work.
Men, if your wife is on periods and feeling irritable by the tiniest of things, understand that she might be going through some biological stuff that she can’t fully control. Don’t assume that she doesn’t love your anymore.
Ladies, if your man seems a bit reserved and doesn’t feel like talking, give him some space to sort himself out. Don’t assume that he doesn’t find you attractive or interesting anymore.
2. Never Talk Bad About Your Partner To Anybody
If you have some issues with your partner (and we all do at some point), instead of back-biting (yep, that’s what it is) talk to your partner directly about it. It might not be the most comfortable and easy-going conversation, but it’s a lot better than talking behind the back of the person that you love.
When people complain about their love life to others, they are essentially damaging two very major things that hold a relationship together, Trust and Respect.
When we talk behind someone’s back, we are breaking their trust. Whether they find out about it or not, it is going manifest in the relationship in some form.
The other damage is that you begin to lose respect for your partner. Obviously, we can’t talk negatively behind someone and then have a deep respect for them at the same time. This doesn’t go together.
Remember, what you think and feel for your spouse is equally important for the health of a relationship. As we discussed earlier, having a deep respect for your partner is elemental for a successful love life.
So, if you have something that has been bugging you with regards to your spouse, instead of complaining to anyone else, communicate with your partner directly about it.
I’m Not suggesting that you get into a habit of complaining to your spouse about anything and everything. That is NOT how you build strong and healthy relationships.
What I’m suggesting is you figure out a way to talk to your spouse about the things you’re having problems with, in a calm, collected, and proactive manner. In a way that will clear out any misunderstandings, potentially resolve the issue, and in fact, aid in strengthening your bond and understanding of each other.
Note: I’m also not suggesting that you shouldn’t open up to a therapist if you’re having serious issues in your relationship. This advice is regarding the general ranting and complaining that we mindlessly do about our partner.
3. Never Physically Hurt Your Partner
We don’t have to discuss it in detail to know that physical abuse is one of the worst and most damaging things for a relationship and for the other person’s mental health.
It’s traumatizing, disappointing, degrading, and utterly heartbreaking. NEVER go near that territory.
4. Never Make Your Sex-Life A Casual Topic of Discussion Among Your Friends
Physical intimacy is a very private, personal, and almost sacred thing between two people who are deeply in love with each other. Don’t spoil its sanctity by casually discussing it with other people.
One of the psychological reasons for feeling unfulfilled in terms of intimacy is comparing others’ intimate experiences to ours. Your friends telling you how wild it went down last night and telling intricate details about how attractive their partner looked, can easily overshadow your own little romantic moments.
Keep your sex-life personal no matter how hard your friends or family try to pry in out of curiosity. There are some things that best remain behind closed doors.
5. Never Disrespect or Humiliate Your Partner In Front of Others or in Public
There will be instances when you might disagree, get annoyed, or get into an argument with your partner outside your home. It might be at a family gathering or at a public place.
No matter how heated things might secretly get between you two, never disrespect, humiliate, or abandon your partner in public. Disrespecting and getting into a fight with your spouse in public is a big blow to your relationship and potentially your partner’s self-esteem.
By the end of the day, you’ll both feel embarrassed in front of everyone and spoil your public image. It’s not worth it to have such a catharsis on your partner in public anyway.
Have patience and keep a low profile during such instances. You can settle the argument on your way back home, ideally in a calmer and gentler way.
6. Never Bring up Your Partner’s Weaknesses and Vulnerabilities During Arguments
An intimate relationship is supposed to be a safe haven for opening up about one’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
Everyone has some weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Since we are often a bit sensitive about them, we tend to hide them from the world by putting our guards up and being reserved from most people regarding those things.
However, when it comes to intimate relationships, we openly share parts of ourselves that were once very personal and hidden from the world. We let our partners enter our vulnerable space, exposing our imperfections to them, trusting that they will respect it and never exploit, judge, or abuse it.
Whenever couples get into a fight and they bring each other’s vulnerabilities into the argument, they damage the trust of their partner on a subconscious level which creates distance and encourages them to keep secrets and not be fully open to their spouse.
If this pattern continues, it creates more and more distance and reduces mental and emotional intimacy between the two as time goes on.
The Quran has used the analogy of a garment to describe the profoundness of a husband-wife relationship:
“They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them.”
If we look into the characteristics of a garment/clothing:
- It conceals our imperfections and secures us from being exposed.
- It protects us from harsh weather and surfaces.
- A cozy garment brings comfort.
- It adorns us. We feel more confident and beautiful wearing it.
- We take care of our garment and protect it from damage and stains.
- The right garment fits the wearer as if it was meant for them.
- The way we carry ourselves in a particular garment also matters a lot in terms of how well the garment suits us. If someone is smelly and dirty with hair all over the place, a good garment won’t bring much beauty and grace, until they take care of themselves and their cleanliness.
There’s a lot to learn from this one simple yet deeply profound analogy.
7. Never Insult Your Partner on a Personal Level
Having occasional fights and arguments is but natural in any relationship. Not that you should look forward to it, but it’s almost unavoidable and it’s kinda okay.
What is NOT okay is “personal attacks”. When people take the fight to the point of insulting the other person on a deeply personal level. Name-calling/abusive language and pointing fingers at the other person’s identity are never okay.
Just remember that it’s not the fights or arguments that make a relationship toxic, it’s HOW you fight and argue.
There’s a more civil and respectable way to fight and have arguments within limits, and then there’s a way of lashing out at the person, making sure to get under their skin, saying the most hurtful things one can find and tearing the person(and the relationship) apart in the process.
Do you see the difference?
8. Never Compete With Your Partner
Competition and partnership are two opposite things. You can’t compete with your significant other and then expect them to be your partner as well and be supportive in your endeavors.
Here we’re not talking about the little “healthy” competitiveness where both people bring out the best in each other and set mutual challenges to grow together as individuals and as a couple.
We are talking about competitiveness born out of insecurity and envy. When people compete to prove a point and feel more worthy. When they want to show that they are better than the other or that they are “right”.
Sometimes, such unhealthy competition and insecurity can also be on a professional level.
You and your spouse must be on the same team for things to work out. Never lose sight of that.
That can sometimes mean stepping back from one thing and letting your partner handle it so that you are able to manage the other important stuff.
In short, have each other’s back!
9. Never Drag a Fight, Issue, or Argument For Too Long
Resolve your conflicts as soon as you can and as fast as you can. Don’t drag a particular issue for weeks and months. Sit down, and talk about where things are headed.
Talk about all of your reservations and conflicts regarding a particular issue in your relationship, and decide either to fix it together or to accept it and settle with it if you don’t find common ground between you two. But Never drag an issue endlessly.
Do you know what happens when you drag a problem endlessly? Your partner gets desensitized and eventually stops caring about things. You eventually become a nuisance for them and you begin to lose respect and value in their eyes. Your words don’t hold any weight after a certain point.
I’ve seen it happen over and over again in so many relationships when a person has this particular issue in their relationship and their partner initially tries to make things a bit better according to their own capacity. But the person never acknowledges or appreciates their partner’s subtle efforts to be better.
They just keep holding on to the problem, not showing flexibility, acceptance, or forgiveness. Not at all ready to let it go and move on.
Eventually what happens is that their partner sees them as a lost cause and stops giving a darn about anything. They stop caring and stop responding to arguments since they know that their spouse is not open to coming to a middle ground or be open to any possibility other than what they’re holding in their mind so stubbornly.
10. Never Try To Control Your Partner’s Freedom
One of the significant signs of a toxic relationship is controlling behavior. Trying to control where your partner goes, who they talk to, what they do in their spare time, how they should walk, dress, and eat, and a long list of “shoulds”.
There’s a difference between politely and occasionally giving a suggestion, and imposing your opinion on the other person.
Exercising your inner wisdom will help you see the subtle boundaries between what’s okay and what’s not.
11. Never Compare Your Partner With Other People (Especially of The Same Gender)
Comparing your partner, especially with other people of the same gender, as in comparing your wife to other women or husband to other men, is a real blow to your partner’s self-esteem and to the overall health of your relationship.
Sometimes we don’t any ill intentions behind the comparison, we might just want to suggest something for our partner’s betterment and well-being, and as an example, we begin talking about how that XYZ person is so good at whatever stuff.
All of this might be coming from a totally innocent place and good intentions from your side, and you might not even be comparing your partner directly but only giving the example of the other person.
But that’s not how your partner might take it.
Comparison can ignite a sense of insecurity in a relationship and spoils the sense of comfort of knowing that “my partner thinks highly of me”.
When someone feels that they’re constantly being compared to other people who are better than them, that might keep them on their toes all the time and question their own adequacy.
I hope you can see how mentally and emotionally draining that can be for someone, and that is never healthy for any relationship.
12. Never Keep Secrets
If there’s something that you’re trying to hide from your partner (other than the fact that you spilled milk all over the floor last night which ruined your wife’s favorite carpet and that is the reason you had to roll it up and send it for dry-cleaning the next morning) you should reconsider what you’re doing with your life and your relationship.
And I’m not even talking about disloyalty here, that’s the worst-case scenario.
Often, keeping small and even innocent secrets just because you don’t want to face your partner’s not-so-positive reaction, can breed mistrust in the relationship.
Aim at building up your relationship to the point where you both can share and talk about stuff openly and don’t have to hide it out of the fear of reaction.
Know your partner enough to be able to communicate even the most uncomfortable things with wisdom, in a way that would be a bit easier for them to take in and digest.
You cannot build a successful, healthy relationship just by doing certain things. The Don’ts are equally as important. A lot of us try to do all the good things for our partner but then we negate the positive effects of those efforts by doing the things we should’ve avoided.
You’ll save yourself a lot of apologies and efforts to mend the relationship if you avoid the things that damage it in the first place.
Avoiding such mess-ups by having some control over your impulses requires patience. It’s inner work that we need to focus on first before fixing other things.
I hope you’ll have some takeaways from this guide. Feel free to bookmark it so it’s easier for you to come back to it and share it with someone who might need it.
Make sure to take good care of yourself and I’ll talk to you in the next one!