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15 Things Happy Couples Talk About That Draw Them Closer Together

15 Things Happy Couples Talk About That Draw Them Closer Together

The more you get to know a person, the easier it becomes to run out of things to say. That doesn’t mean it’s okay to give your partner the silent treatment. Without intellectual stimulation, your relationship will quickly grow stagnant. If you’re in need of a new conversation starter, try out one of these fifteen things happy couples talk about.

1. They talk about vivid memories.

Are there any memories that you can recall so vividly that you feel like it was yesterday? It could be something funny like the time you got busted making out on a Ferris wheel, or something romantic – like your surprise trip to a bed and breakfast. Reminiscing about your greatest hits will help you remember why your relationship is so special.

2. They reminisce about their childhoods.

Snuggle up on the sofa with your partner and a photo album. Tell them a story about the photos that grab your attention (and don’t forget to ask them to do the same!).

3. They laugh at inside jokes.

Tell your partner about the silly little things that make you smile. An ability to make you laugh with nothing more than a glance. A pet name so adorable that it makes your friends groan. A tone of voice or physical attribute that sends your mind straight to a naughty place.

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4. They share their feelings.

It’s unfair to hold a grudge over an issue that you’re unwilling to discuss. Your partner doesn’t have psychic powers. Be upfront if you feel confused, neglected, or upset. Talking through your feelings will help you identify the root of the problem.

5. They deal with their problems.

If you’re a superhero, your partner is your trusted sidekick. Don’t be afraid to ask for their input when you face problems in your professional life. They might think of a brilliant solution that you never would have imagined by yourself.

6. They talk about their role models or heroes.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer isn’t just a fictional character in my mind. She is a personal hero whose story helped me through some difficult times when I was a teenager. If you want to learn something interesting, ask your partner about their role-models or pop culture heroes.

7. They tell stories about embarrassing situations.

Slip on a puddle and fall on your butt? Forget about it. Blurt out an awkward comment that makes you blush? Laugh it off. These little things aren’t worth your concern. Turn an awkward situation into a comedic moment by telling your partner a funny story about it.

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8. They discuss about difficult decisions.

Big decisions like choosing a honeymoon destination, how much to save for your retirement, and where to send your children to school should be discussed in depth. Don’t delay. Procrastinating will only make your life more stressful, since you’ll have less time to deliberate.

9. They debate on world events.

Healthy debates about world events will keep your mind sharp. It’s human nature to be stubborn, so I doubt you’ll change your mind. But you’ll come away with a better understanding of why your partner believes the things they do, helping you grow closer.

10. They discuss about the little things.

You don’t need an earth-shattering idea to start a conversation. All you have to do is observe something interesting, point it out, and ask your partner a related question. To test this theory, take your partner to the mall and see how many things you can observe. It’ll be fun!

11. They confess their struggles.

You’re not kidding anybody when you tell your partner, “Nothing is the matter.” There is nothing strong about choosing to fight your battles alone. Humble yourself. Ask for help (maybe just a hug?). A tight squeeze and listening ear can make any situation seem more bearable.

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12. They share their ambitions.

It’s unhealthy to become completely dependent on another person for your happiness. Tell your partner about the ambitions you have that don’t involve your relationship. You’ll be able to keep each other encouraged while you pursue the things that captivate your interest.

13. They give each other honest feedback.

Communication is often the difference between a successful relationship and a rotten one. Being able to provide direction to your partner about the things that turn you on (and off) during a romantic romp, for example, will make a big difference in the quality of your sex life.

14. They admit their shortcomings.

It is okay to make an honest mistake, but it’s not okay to pretend it didn’t happen. If you do something inconsiderate or hurtful, admit your fault. Don’t judge yourself, but do explain yourself. Address the character flaws responsible for the poor behavior to strengthen your relationship.

15. They talk about their future together.

Happy couples plan ahead so they don’t run into unpleasant surprises. If you don’t express how much you want to have a family, you could get attached to a person who has no interest in having children. Compatibility isn’t guaranteed to be a permanent thing. Periodically ask your partner detailed questions about their future to make sure you have a place in it.

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Happy couples communicate (that is the important part!). What would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments!

Featured photo credit: series. a love story. couple runs in the wheat field and smiling. summer. via shutterstock.com

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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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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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