Romantic relationships are a different experience for everyone – what works for one couple might not work for you and bae, and there’s nothing wrong with that. That said, there are some basic “rules” that every couple should keep in mind. This includes things that shouldn’t be happening in a relationship – unless, that is, your relationship is unhealthy and potentially toxic. Some of these things are really obvious, like you should never be trying to control someone or abuse of any kind. Others are less clear, and we can put some of the blame for that on Hollywood. The way relationships are often portrayed in movies and TV shows can make us look for things that seem good, but that actually ultimately harm us.
This also comes into play in the infamous #RelationshipGoals tag, an Internet *thing* that displays beautiful white couples doing things for each other that look pretty on paper – or, in this case, on Instagram. Sure, these things seem awesome, but in reality, they aren’t what a relationship should ever focus on. If you want to make things last with the person you really, really like, do yourself a favor and read these tips. An Ask Reddit thread discussed what a relationship isn’t about, and the answers led us to this list of things that don’t happen in good relationships. Keeping these things away from your love life is just as important as doing things that will strengthen your bond. Don’t write them off!
Always Supporting Each OtherOkay, this is a little tricky. Yes, your partner should ultimately support you and be there for you. But this doesn’t mean they need to agree with everything you do or like everything you decide to do or say. There's a line. As flawlessqueen says, 'No, it is not your partner’s responsibility to smile through their teeth every time you f*** up and pretend it’s all going to be okay and that they’ll never leave you no matter what." Your partner is allowed to voice their opinion and tell you they think you’re doing the wrong thing. That doesn’t mean they don’t love you. Source: iStock
Sacrificing Too MuchEvery relationship needs a certain amount of sacrifice - usually small ones, but sometimes big ones are warranted too. I've watched friends move to other states to be with their significant other, because even though they didn't want to uproot their lives, they didn't want to be without their bae - and that worked for them. But like user Coconutcurrychicken says, "Sacrificing your goals, your morals, your integrity, and/or your future. Yes, relationships are compromise. No, you can't have it your way, and no, there's no such thing as the perfect partner. But I wholeheartedly believe a relationship should add positively to your life and ultimately bring the best out in you, as opposed to make you feel like you come second fiddle to someone/something else." Figuring out when it's okay to make sacrifices and when it's too much is a balancing act. You have to make sure you're ultimately doing what's right for you, and not just what is right for the other person. Source: iStock
Making Them The Center Of Your UniverseIf you date someone and make your entire world about them, you are doing it wrong. Yes, the infatuation stage in the beginning of a relationship is normal and very common. But once that obsessive stage is over, things should settle down. You have to make time for YOU. Like user YetiYogurt says, “Romantic relationships do not replace therapy, self-care, your relationship to yourself (alone!), and your other relationships with friends and family." Don't forget about the things you used to love doing, and don't push your friends and family to the back burner. Source: iStock
The Other Person ‘Completing’ YouDespite what overly sappy rom-coms try to say, a relationship is not about finding the person who completes you. Yes, your partner should lift you up and make you feel good and feel like your "better half," but it shouldn't feel like you need them to be you. In other words, you should feel confident and good about yourself whether you’re dating someone or not. As ladystetson said, "You have to do that from inside of yourself. Someone else can’t do that for you." Source: iStock
No StruggleA great relationship is certainly much easier than a bad relationship, with less struggles and fighting and bad disagreements. But this doesn’t mean that it’s smooth sailing one hundred percent of the time. Like user crossbeats says, “I hate the idea that if you're 'right' for each other, everything just magically works perfectly, with no disagreements or hurt feelings.” That’s unrealistic! A relationship involves fighting and sometimes you guys will be pissed at each other. That’s okay. Never fighting and never having a bump in the road is so perfect it’s basically a bad thing. Source: iStock
Feeling Like You Need To Show How Great You AreIn the beginning of a relationship, both people involved spend a lot of time trying to impress the other person. They want to show each other how awesome they are and why they're worth dating. When you first meet bae, you might be on your best behavior all the time, constantly trying to show them why you’re worth it. That's normal and happens even in situations without romance, like when an employee starts a new job or when two people start to become friends. But as you two grow and get closer and more long term, that need to prove yourself should go away. Like user sarah-goldfarb says, "A relationship is not about constantly trying to convince the other person that you’re worth staying with. If you have to try, you’ve already lost. It just isn't supposed to be that hard." Totally true. Source: iStock
Constant CompetitionFighting is normal in any relationship, but keeping a scoreboard is not. It's not about who wins an argument or who is right more often. This kind of competition leads to bitterness and unresolved emotions. As chicky_wits said, "A loving and supportive relationship isn't about winning rounds of 'which of us is right' and storing up ammunition from past wrongs to use against them in said bouts." If you and your boo do this, expect a lot of unnecessary fighting and negative feelings - neither of which make a great relationship. Source: iStock
Trying To Impress Everyone ElseTrying to impress other people should be the least of your concerns when you're dating someone. If you're very focused on how other people see your relationship, that's a problem, because it doesn't matter what other people think! If you need validation from other people in order to feel good about your relationship, something is wrong. Source: iStock
Trying To Change Your PartnerThis is said a lot, but it's worth repeating: your main goal in a relationship should never be to change someone. If you're dating someone who has different beliefs than you or wants different things, don’t stick around thinking, "I can change them." You can't - and even if you do, it will be temporary. As user bluejay_way said, "People change naturally and that's okay, and it's even okay for them to be motivated or inspired to change by someone, but it's not okay to get into a relationship with the intention or expectation of changing that person. Far too often you see people dating assholes and saying, 'They could change!' or 'If they love me, they'll stop [insert action/trait here]!' Everyone has flaws and part of dating is finding someone who has flaws that you can live with. They might change, they might mature, they might have an epiphany and realize they were a jerk... but they might not, and there’s no guarantees. It’s not up to you to make it happen." Perfectly stated! Source: iStock
Passive Aggressive BehaviorPassive aggressiveness is a relationship killer. It's condescending and crappy and starts lots of bitterness and arguments. It's not what anyone wants in a relationship. As user diaperedwoman says, "Instead of telling you what they would like you to do for them or what would help them feel better, they put you down instead and complain about how you never do this or that for them and how you would be less self-centered if you do X. You are supposed to be open and honest in a relationship and let your partner know rather than expecting them to read your mind.” Just speak your mind! No games! Source: iStock
Believing That Someone Should Love You No Matter WhatJust because you two are in love doesn't mean you can treat each other like crap. A good relationship is one in which you treat each other well. Like user Elleth says, "You can't be a tool and expect someone to deal with it out of love." It's true! Source: iStock
Trying To Save ThemBeing in a relationship with someone doesn't mean you are their savior. You can't fix all of their problems. Like user Shinyquartersquirrel says, "You can't right the wrongs of their past. People have to deal with their own demons." You should absolutely support them through tough times and be there for them however you can, but you can't expect to be the person who fixes everything. You shouldn't even try! Source: iStock
Which of these things surprised you the most? What did we forget to add here? Share in the comments.