7 Things All Unhappy Couples Do (And What You Should Do Instead)

3. They can’t agree on who’s right and who’s wrong.

It’s exhausting to be in a relationship with someone who has to have the final say in everything. Partners who need to be right at the expense of their loved one’s feelings push each other away, said LiYana Silver, a San Francisco-based relationship expert and coach.

“They try to get the other person to submit by shaming them, bullying them, out-smarting them or shutting them out,” she said. “If you’re a partner who constantly needs to be right, ask yourself: ‘What’s so important to my S.O. about this issue? What about it am I not seeing?’ This will shift the dynamic from adversarial to allied — and genuine curiosity in a relationship is disarming and heart-opening. It will put you back on the same team.”

4.  They put in phone time instead of face time. 

We’re all guilty of glancing at our phones when we should be engaging with our partners. But according to psychologist Alicia H. Clark, do it too often and it sends a powerful non-verbal message to your S.O.: Whatever I’m doing on my phone is far more important than you. 

A starting place to move beyond the behavior “could just be turning off, muting or putting your phone out of reach at dinner,” said Clark, who’s based in Washington, D.C. “This allows your partner your full attention and sends the nonverbal message that time together is important.”

5. They allow their relationship to grow stale.

If you want a long-term relationship to last, making an effort to share new and exciting experiences is essential. When couples fall into ruts and routines, they stop growing together and run the risk of growing apart, said Clark.

“Too much passive disconnected activity — watching TV, surfing Internet, reading — can erode a sense of connection and lure couples into a cycle of disengagement,” she said.

If you find yourself bored by your partner, Clark recommends trying something new together: tackle that recipe you found on Pinterest, go for a hike or schedule date nights again.

“Novelty has been shown to boost relationship connection via the reward circuitry in our brain that stimulates feelings of pleasure, desire and motivation,” Clark explained.

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