Psychological health

Tips for Building Happy Relationships

Source: Oziel G贸mez / Unsplash

Cowritten by Arasteh Gatchpazian and Tchiki Davis, Ph.D.

In psychology, many researchers portray relationship quality in terms of how satisfied each partner is in the relationship. This focuses on the pleasant dimension of the relationship (pleasure or happiness). But, of course, there is more to healthy relationships than how fulfilling you feel. For example, relationships can be a source of meaning, which may include commitment, sacrifice, and personal growth (Fincham et al., 2007; Stanley et al., 2006; Finkel et al., 2014).

To better understand the quality of your relationship, you can explore the following:

  • meaning of: Is the relationship a source of meaning?
  • self development: Is the relationship a major source of inspiration, support and encouragement for self-development?
  • Sharing goal: Do you have common goals and support and celebrate each other’s personal goals?
  • Relational Bidding: Does each partner prioritize the other partner over himself?

unhappy relationships

While it is important to know how to determine when a relationship is going well, it is also important to look for signs that a relationship is not going well. Researchers have identified four main aspects of interpersonal communication that can contribute to unhealthy relationships (Gottman & Levenson, 2000)

1. Criticism: When you criticize someone, you attack them to the core of their character. This is different from providing a helpful opinion or expressing a complaint.

2. Contempt: Contempt goes beyond criticism because it includes your moral superiority over the other person. This can include making fun of them, making fun of them, calling them names, imitating their body language or making fun of them. The intent is to make them feel despised or unworthy, a terrible feeling you instill or get from someone.

3. Defensive: It’s normal to be defensive at times, especially if you’re particularly stressed or tired. Sometimes you may feel that you are not receiving proper treatment or you may play the role of the victim so that you are not to blame. But defensive responses often blame the partner, which is usually not the best way to go. It tells the other person that you may not take them seriously and that you will not take responsibility for your mistakes.

4. Procrastination: Procrastination is often a response to disdain. This happens when the listener who receives sarcastic remarks or comments ends up shutting down and no longer responding to the partner. They 鈥渂lock鈥 the partner and try to avoid confrontation by acting busy, withdrawing from saving, or simply leaving their presence.

How to build happy relationships

1. Develop a strong emotional connection. According to psychology research, one of the most important predictors of a healthy relationship is emotional response (Lemay et al., 2007). This involves sending signals (eg, verbal and physical) to your partner and getting them to respond to them (eg, calming, encouraging).

2. Be vulnerable with each other. When partners open up to each other, this helps to develop and enhance mutual trust.

3. Be honest. This can go hand in hand with vulnerability but it also includes other forms of communication. A healthy relationship probably isn’t based on lies.

4. You have 鈥渉ealthy鈥 struggles. Disagreements are inevitable in any relationship, but how you deal with them is essential.

5. Try something new. This is especially useful if your relationship seems old, and could reignite the spark (for example, going to a new restaurant on a date).

6. Solve problems as a team. This can help reinforce your identity as “we” rather than “me” and “you” and develop problem-solving skills together (for example, this can range from an escape room to asking your partner for help with a problem at work).

Read basic relationships

7. Talk about your goals and dreams. Sharing similar hopes and core values 鈥嬧媍an help you reignite what drew you to each other in the first place.

in Sum

Relationships require work from each partner, and it is normal for relationships to go through tough times. By using the strategies outlined here, you can improve your relationships and hopefully keep them strong.

Quoted from an article he posted Berkeley Institute of Wellbeing.

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