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15 Powerful Relationship Lessons From Happy And Loving Couples

15 Powerful Relationship Lessons From Happy And Loving Couples

I hang out with a group of couples who have been with their spouse or partner for 10 years or more.

We all seem to be happy and loving people. Of course our relationships are far from perfect, but somehow we all have decided to make this journey with our significant other, for better or worse.Here are 15 relationship lessons we practice to keep our relationships healthy, happy, and loving.

1. Genuinely like each other.

You have to like the person you are with because to be honest, the intense “in-love” feelings may not always be there. Some days you want to kill your partner, but what stops you is the feeling that you actually like this person.

Crazy talk aside, when it comes down to spending hours upon hours with a single person, liking them becomes very important.

When you say you “like” someone, what you’re really saying is, “he or she is cool to hang out with, they don’t get on my nerves all that much, and to tell you the truth, I feel good when I’m around them.”

2. Enjoy the sense of humor you share.

I find that each couple has their own sense of humor.  They each find the other funny and laugh at the same things that perhaps others wouldn’t find as humorous.

This commonality is something to be valued because finding someone that can make you laugh, especially when things are tough, can be the glue that makes you stick and stay.

3. Cherish the good in the other person.

Focusing on the good traits of your partner will increase your loving feelings for them which may help you overlook the annoying things they do. Because there’s no perfect person, but what there can be is your positive perception of that person.

Also, I have found when you focus on the wonderful qualities of a person, you start seeing more of those qualities come out.

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4. Birds of a feather, flock together.

Men and women who want and are drawn to be in long-term relationships hangout together.  Couples, who do “couples activity” with other couples create friendships and a bond that acts as a support system for the overall health of all relationships involved.

Your couple friends will be there to share the good times. They will also be there to comfort and support the both of you when and if that situation ever arises.

5. Use your words.

I know there’s some science to back my next statement because it’s the honest truth.

Men cannot read minds. Women on the other hand can, especially if they’re related. Therefore when men and women talk, they must use their words.

Joking aside, the healthiest relationships are the ones who communicate well with each other.

I believe both men and women must clearly ask for what they want from their partner in order to receive it.

For example, my boyfriend knows, if I ask for 12 lemons for a 12 lemon center piece, he will bring 12 lemons home. (Share this post if you know my movie reference!)

More importantly, couples who say what they mean in a loving way get to the heart of an issue and find a way to resolve it.

6. Cultivate your individual existence.

The healthiest relationships are where each person has their own lives. Build a life together, but don’t lose yourself and your individual purpose.

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Healthy couples support each other in their individual interests such as hobbies, sport activities, or meaningful work.

When a person has a purpose and a sense of meaning to their life, they behave in a more positive and loving way to their partners and other people in general.

7. Take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

At any moment in time, you can change your thought, mood, and reaction for the better. Your partner may not always do the right thing, but you have the power to react in a more positive way no matter the situation.

Acting positively and lovingly towards a situation will bring about a more productive resolution.

8. Let them be.

Don’t be afraid to give each other a “cooling-off” period. Not everything needs to be resolved right there and then.

Let each person find their own understanding of a situation so that they can hopefully return with some sense and compassion.

9. Spend time apart.

Nobody likes anybody who is underfoot too long. It is healthy to spend time away from each other.

My boyfriend and I did a long distance thing for three years in the middle of our relationship and I believe it only made our bond stronger.

Let each other enjoy a weekend away with friends and find your own relationship rekindled upon their return.

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10. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

One of the best things you can do for a long-term relationship is to not be bothered by the idiosyncrasies of the other person.

There are some things in a person that may never change and you just have to accept that. Yes, you may think your partner was raised in a barn, but he or she is still the one you want in your little universe.

Be quick to forgive dumb, maybe even thoughtless mistakes because as long as it doesn’t make you distrust the person or question your entire relationship, then it can all be worked out with some understanding, compassion, and compromise.

11. Act like a team.

This is one of the lessons that I believe can really help a relationship survive and thrive.

When you know that your partner has your proverbial back, you feel a kind of peace. A sense that you’re not alone, that someone else is looking out for your best interest, and that feels amazing.

A lot of my couple friends own businesses with their spouse and in my observation it brings them closer together. Owning a business with someone teaches you about cooperation, compromise, and the importance of making a decision together.

12. Show your appreciation.

The words “thank you” should be said as often as possible because everyone likes to feel appreciated and respected.

Day in and day out, your partner is always doing something in the name of love and family and that should not go unnoticed. From making dinner, working long hours, and performing simple acts of kindness, give your gratitude.

It’s a universal truth. The more you say thank you to what the universe offers you, the more you receive those kind of things.

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13. Say I love you and show it.

No matter how long you’ve been together, always tell your partner you love them because this short, but meaningful sentence could have such an impact on their day.

For instance, these simple words may be the best thing they hear all day. It can make them feel honored, safe, appreciated, and wanted. By just saying these three little words, you can give these wonderful feelings to each other.

Then show one another the love you feel with small acts of kindness or big gestures of devotion. No matter how you do it, the point is that you do it.

14. Spend romantic time together.

Spending romantic time together is different from the other times you’re spending with each other. Romantic time implies that your sole focus is to connect romantically with your partner and this is very important if you want the fires of love to burn for eternity.

I love the saying, “The grass is greener where your water it.” So if you want the love between the both of you to last, you have to take care of that lawn like it’s the Bermuda grass of the Carolinas.

In plain English, date night is a must-do.

15. It’s about the journey.

You will walk in the sunshine together. You will hold each other tight during a freak storm. Sometimes you will even dance in the rain together.

All that matters is no matter the weather, you will expectantly share the experience together.

But if there comes a time that you don’t, hopefully you’ve done all of the above so you know that you gave it your best, and you showed them how big you can love.

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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