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20 Keys To Have An Incredibly Happy Relationship In Today’s World

20 Keys To Have An Incredibly Happy Relationship In Today’s World

How many times have you heard your grandparents throw out the phrase, “When I was your age…” When they inevitably complain about the price of movie tickets, you realize that there is much more that has changed in the world. Ticket prices does not even scratch the surface.

The current generation is experiencing a turbo-charged, technologically advanced world like none other. The world is literally at our fingertips. Social media has made geographical spaces nonexistent. Yet with all the development and the ability to be more connected than ever, the National Health Statistics Reports show that the number of failed relationships has barely changed over the past couple of decades. So if our world is providing us with the best resources to have the happiest lifestyle, why are our relationships not reflective of these improvements? The way we interact in our relationships has fallen behind the times and needs to catch up!

Here are 20 ways to have an incredibly happy relationship in today’s world.

1. Boast About Love.

Not only can you let that special person know how much you love them, but you can also tell the whole world. Nothing is sweeter than seeing a public declaration of love — everyone loves seeing a romantic proposal video go viral online. Don’t be shy, the world needs to see more love.

2. Daily “Us” Time.

In the hustle and bustle of the daily rat-race, your relationship can easily become lost in the crowd. Make your relationship a priority by carving out daily time for one another. It may just be a phone call, but do not let the relationship get strangled by all the busy-ness.

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3. Keep The Change.

The ancient Greek saying, you never step into the same river twice, still rings true today. Change is inevitable. In fact, you can bank on change being the one thing that never changes. The person you fell head over heels with that first day will grow and evolve. And so will you. Understanding that, and growing together, is the key.

4. Stop The Social Stalking.

Let’s be honest: this is unfortunately as prevalent as the midnight chocolate binge but far more damaging to your happy relationship — stalking your ex on social media. It is an awful habit that does nothing but undermine the strength of your relationship. To avoid constantly sticking your hand in the cookie jar, get rid of the cookie jar altogether. If you truly value the current relationship you are in, delete the temptations to be a creepy stalker and play any comparison game.

5. Be Vulnerable.

The alpha personality that dominates today’s culture and leaves no room for vulnerability may be effective for the corporate world, but it is detrimental for relationships. Do not let your work attitude seep into your personal relationship. Be vulnerable and share your feelings and emotions with one another. Build that trust.

6. Space Out.

Step out of each other’s pockets and give yourself some alone time. If you have to go a day without seeing one another, then let that happen. It is ok to disconnect from being so connected. Give each other the space you need. But also be sure to tell one another that you need that time- ignoring will just make things worse.

7. Exclusivity.

The monogamy vs. polygamy debate can get heated. However, an extensive online search of relationship studies and journal articles will reveal the statistics favor monogamous relationships. A Clark University poll of over 1000 18-29 year olds found that 86% desired to have a marriage that “will last a lifetime.” The search for that one soul-mate still rules and is shown to equal a happy relationship. The is no greater scar than that caused by infidelity and cheating. Do not even entertain the thought. Make the clear verbal commitment to one another: regardless of how the relationship unfolds, you will commit to being exclusive to one another.

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8. Forgive.

Nobody is perfect. We live in a constantly improving world, but not a perfect world. Prince Charming and Cinderella are merely figments of idealistic imagination. But even if they were real, they would still need to forgive one another. By all means, express that you have been hurt, but be quick to tell one another that you accept their apology. Kiss and make up.

9. Back To Reality.

As entertaining as many of today’s romantic movies can be, they can also be very damaging in the message or picture they convey about the ‘ideal’ relationship. On one end you have tear-jerking providential perfection of A Walk To Remember, on the other end the catastrophic one-nighter portrayals from Wedding Crashers. Perfection on one end, pollution on the other. Be careful not to find yourself with lofty fairytale expectations, nor become miserable with idea that no relationships work.

10. Just Listen.

With so much information available today to solve any problem, it is easy to jump in and feel as though you need to always be a problem solver. Your partner may just need to vent and you just need to simply listen. As helpful as all the “How-To” guides are, God gave you two ears and only one mouth for a reason.

11. Get Old-school.

Remember the last time you received a hand-written letter in the mail? Probably never. But those that have will recall it being pretty special. With almost all communication being digital, be a little different and write your loved one a hand-written letter. You could even go out and get something called a stamp and mail it to it!

12. Fight.

As paradoxical as it sounds, there are healthy elements in disagreeing and working toward a resolution. Even fairytales involve conflict. You may have heard the saying, “couples that fight together, stay together.” Arguing is actually an effective form of communication, conflict identification and resolution. Of course there is a huge difference between constructive forms of arguing and destructive forms. If your fighting simply leads to nowhere, or it is sparked simply out of spite, then that is a different story.

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13. Cook Together.

There are so many options for restaurants to eat out today. You can get almost anything even delivered to your home. Great bonds and conversations happen over any meal. Greater bonds and conversations will happen as you get to cook together.

14. Use Technology.

Take advantage of technology. If you are traveling it doesn’t mean you have to neglect the time that you would spend physically with one another. Have yourself a virtual date. Have fun and even get dressed up!

15. Enough’s Enough.

One of the dark sides of technology’s constant connection, is the difficulty in cutting off relationships that really need to be cut off. However, technology does help in allowing you to block the person from social media. Just be aware of how easy it is to be connected, and STAY connected. The earlier you can cut off a bad relationship, the better.

16. Spontaneity.

We live in a world filled with options. With so many choices for activities and attractions, why not be spontaneous and do something random and new? Have a date night at the theatre, look for a cheap flight and motel and go away for the weekend.

17. Public vs. Private.

People forget that when they post something online, it become very public and is almost impossible to take back. If you have something you are not sure about saying that relates to your partner, do not go and post anything on a social media site for the world to see.

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18. Get Physical.

As opposed to always being virtual. With the ability to have video chat, video messages, text messages and phone calls, do not neglect the most import form of communicating: face to face and in person. Be careful not to let technology actually distract you from seeing each other physically.

19. Send A Gift.

With a click of a button you could have a dozen red roses sent to the other side of the world. Why not go ahead and put the biggest smile on your partner’s face and send them a box of chocolate, some roses and a romantic note?

20. Learn Something Together.

You can learn pretty much anything on Youtube. Pick something that the two of you are interested in and learn it together. It could be a musical instrument, a language or a sport. Encouraging one another is a sure way to build a strong and happy relationship.

If you have found that your relationship has become a little dusty, outdated and bland, go ahead and give it an incredible happiness boost with these 20 different ways!

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Thai Nguyen

Thai's a Mindfulness-Meditation Coach, a 5-Star Chef and an International Kickboxer.

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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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