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Things Couples Should Never Do (If They Want to Stay Together)

by Ossiana M. Tepfenhart 5 years ago in advice
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We all know that there are certain things that couples should never do out of manner's sake, but these doozies often are what kills even the healthiest of relationships.

If there's one thing that's exceedingly painful to watch, it's a couple that makes a point of involving others in their business. Sure, on Jerry Springer, it may be entertaining—much in the way other freak shows were back in the day. In real life, though? Those same couples are the neighbors everyone avoids at the block party.

Truth be told, we all know that there are certain things couples should never do, unless they want to end up in ugly breakups. However, we often still end up doing them, simply because we don't know better alternatives or don't think it's "really that bad" when it's our own situation.

Believe it or not, the following things should be completely off-limits when you're with your partner. Otherwise, the relationship as you know it is entirely doomed.

Blackmailing, Guilting, and Threatening to Get One's Way

Power is a main issue in many unhealthy couples. In fact, it's oftenpower and control issues that are what lead to abuse. A lot of people will go to extreme lengths to be the "powerful one" in a couple, not realizing that healthy couples don't have power dynamics to begin with.

Simply put, if one partner is starting to blackmail, guilt, or threaten the other in order to get their way about anything, it's a dead relationship right then and there. There's no way to make things better after this happens.

Ultimatums, guilt trips, wheedling, and stonewalling all fall into this category. If the person who guilted, cold shouldered, or emotionally blackmailed the other gets what they want, they still will have to deal with resentment from the partner. If they don't? Well, there's going to be arguments.

As such, you should never do this to your partner. Whether you realize it or not, it's abuse. It's often better to just break up amicably than to try to force them to do something they don't want to do.

Constantly Criticizing Them

The Gottman Institute noted that criticism and contempt are both lead indicators that a person will end up breaking up with their partner. Why? Because they're hurtful—and they show that there's no respect in the relationship.

It's okay to occasionally remark that what a partner is doing isn't great, but when you end up nitpicking them on a daily basis, it will end up eating away at the foundation of the relationship you're trying to build.

Actively Doing Things That Upset Your Partner, Knowing That It Hurts Them, Just Because You Want to Hurt Them, Win an Argument, or Get Them to Do Something

This includes things like name-calling, giving them the silent treatment, and also telling them things that you know will seriously hurt them. It seems obvious that these are things couples should never do—primarily because it's abuse.

When someone actively goes out of their way to hurt you, they are showing no respect for you and your wellbeing. Unfortunately, respect is vital to a healthy relationship. As such, once it's gotten to this point, you're most likely past the point of no return.

However, when you're in a toxic relationship where abuse becomes the norm, it's way too easy to come up with an excuse to stay. Make no mistake about it, the minute that your partner does this is the minute you should leave. Don't wait for things to get better—they won't.

If it gets to the point of physical abuse, you need to cut ties immediately regardless of the obstacles to do so. That one relationship can kill you, and getting out sooner rather than later is the wisest way to handle it.

Criticize Them or Poke Fun at Them in Front of Others

It may seem really innocent to you, but make no mistake about it—belittling your partner in front of others is not acceptable. The reason why is because it humiliates your partner and also gives others the impression that there's something seriously wrong with your relationship.

Additionally, doing this is a great way to make things very awkward for your company. If you feel the need to have a chat with your partner about something they did, pull them aside and tell them to knock it off away from everyone else.

Using a Baby, Adopting a Pet, Buying a House, or Getting Married as a Way to Solve Your Problems

Aside from one or two nutjobs, most people will tell you that taking the "next step" in a relationship is something couples should never do unless they are happy with the way things are going. It's a terrible mistake to make, and it's one that will often end up with all parties involved being hurt.

Couples who try to make things work via a "bandaid baby" or by walking down the aisle rarely ever see their situations improve. More often than not, what ends up happening is a costly divorce and/or a very deeply traumatized child.

Or Worse, Staying Together "For the Kids"

This is a bad idea, unless you want your kids to resent you for not divorcing and to give them a great idea of what a bad relationship looks like. So, so many grown adults have issues with love, relationships, and commitment because they saw their parents in relationships that were only together "for the kids."

Legit, I don't care if you think you're putting up a nice face for them and great at making it seem like you're a happy family. If you think that they can't tell you're unhappy and martyring yourself, you're wrong. If you think that they are happy seeing you together, you're also wrong.

This is one of things couples should never do, simply because it's so painful for everyone involved. Please, for your children's sakes, don't be that couple.

Make a Scene During an Argument

Your relationship troubles are not for the neighbors to hear. They are not for random bystanders to hear, either. Watching this will portray both you and your partner in the worst possible way to everyone around you—and make no mistake about it, they will talk.

This is one of the things couples should never do if they want to actually keep their reputations intact. At best, you'll be the couple everyone will stay the hell away from. At worst, you may end up with police being called and a domestic violence charge.

My advice? If it gets to the point where you're screaming at each other and the neighbors are hearing you, it's time to call it quits. Do it for your reputation, your self-esteem, and your sanity, please!

Have One Partner Make Unilateral Decisions Without Telling the Other

While it may seem innocent with some choices, the fact is that this is still one of those things couples should never do. Why? Because a relationship is a partnership—and the minute either partner forgets that, it's no longer a relationship. Rather, it turns into a power struggle or a moment where one partner is totally oblivious to what's going on.

This most often happens with money, where one partner's paying the bills and the other just seems okay with letting them do all the work. This isn't cool; you never know what may happen and at the very least, staying informed will keep you in a good place should things hit the fan.

Being Glued at the Hip

On the other hand, doing everything together isn't exactly healthy, either. The reason why this is one of the seemingly innocent things couples should never do is because it's incredibly oppressive—and tends to lend itself into a codependent relationship.

Everyone needs to have a life outside of their partners in order to be happy. Otherwise, you'll run out of things to talk about and you'll get bored. At the same time, you'll also end up getting tired of their company, which will make for a lot of tension between the two of you.

Seriously, it's okay to have hobbies outside of your spouse. In fact, it'll make things better. Try it!

Ignoring Problems Hoping They'll Go Away

A lot of people seem to think that avoiding confrontation is the best way to handle everything, but this just isn't true. If your partner is doing something that upsets you, you need to speak up. Otherwise, they'll keep doing it.

So many couples out there realize that this is one of those things couples shouldn't do, but still do it anyway because it just "seems easier." Don't fall into that trap! It'll only lead to resentment later on, and actually working together to confront issues will make you a better partner.

Complaining about Your Partner to Friends and Family

This is one of the few things couples should never do, but most people seem to think is okay to do all the time. We see it at work, with friends, and in some cases, with family. The problem here is that, while common, this behavior is insanely toxic.

If you can't see why this is toxic, imagine how you'd feel if your partner did the same to you. You'd be mortified, right? Of course you would be—it's insanely embarrassing and hurtful!

Moreover, there's also the issue that people will not be as forgiving to your partner as you are. People have long memories when it comes to those who may have upset their friends. Don't think, for a moment, that this won't affect your relationship. After all, you'd probably hate your friend's boyfriend if he cheated on her—even after she's forgiven him, right?

If you absolutely, totally need to vent, do so in front of a therapist. Otherwise, you're going to end up ruining your relationship complaint by complaint.


Cheating is bad, mmkay? I shouldn't have to explain why this ranks among terrible things couples should never do. If you need to have some extra on the side, consider an open relationship, swinging, or growing the fuck up to realize you may not be a relationship person.

Snooping Through Their Stuff

Everyone knows that this is one of those things couples should never do, right? Hopefully, yes. If you can't trust your partner, your relationship is already messed up. If you have gotten to the point that you need to snoop in order to feel better, you shouldn't even be together.

Forgetting to Be Grateful for Them Being There

I just want to point out something about relationships—your partner doesn't have to be in one with you. They don't have to cook you dinner. They don't have to come home with the paycheck. They don't even have to talk to you if they don't want to.

Being thankful for them being there, doing things for you, and just helping you out is a huge thing. That's why one of the things couples should never do is take their partners for granted.


About the author

Ossiana M. Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer based out of NJ. You can message her via Twitter on @bluntandwitty or via Instagram on @ossiana.makes.content. She's always looking for freelance work and collabs!

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