Psychological insights on relationships: rejections, breakups, making relationships happy, unhealthy dynamics, and general psychology.

How To Improve Your Relationship

Practical, actionable things you can do to improve your relationship with your partner

Man and woman laughing

1. Decide to stay with your partner for a long time or forever

This significantly changes your perspective.

If you are unsure whether you want to stay with your partner, you will not try to save or improve the relationship.

However, if you truly decide to stay with your partner forever, then it’s better for you to be in a good relationship.

The decision “I want to stay with you forever” can affect your perspective because it’s either a lousy relationship forever or a good relationship forever.

It’s like deciding to keep a car forever. You would take better care of it than if you only planned to stay temporarily.

  • This is a bit philosophical, but if you think about it, you’ll see it makes sense.
The couple wonders how to improve their relationship

2. Understand that your partner has a complex inner and outer world

Like you, your partner has hormones, emotions, a psyche, and biochemistry. All of this affects them every day and every hour.

They live in a community where there are people, demands, jobs, and obligations that have an impact on them every day.

When you list it like this, doesn’t it seem difficult to “push” through the days?

Because of this, have maximum tolerance for your partner.

Don’t hold their mistakes against them; consider that everything they do for you is a good reason to forgive minor errors.

  • To be clear, I’m not talking about partners who intentionally or constantly make mistakes. We are focusing on how to improve your relationship.
Man and woman break up

3. Explain yourself

Given that we all have personal reasons for doing things, we cannot expect our partner to understand our perspective and reasons.

For example, if someone grew up in a family where teasing others is normal and someone else grew up in a family where people don’t tease each other when such a situation arises, partners might not understand each other.

That’s why it’s good to explain yourself. Why did you do something, or why did you react a certain way?

This might involve talking about your childhood, habits, etc., but you shouldn’t be ashamed if you’re in a close relationship with your partner. The idea is to get to know each other better and teach your partner about who you are so they can understand you and your actions better.

Man and woman in relationship

4. Listen carefully to your partner when they explain themselves

Behind everything, there is a person with their inner world. If you understand this person well, you will know why they say things you dislike or hurt you. People carry within them:

  • Things beyond their control due to human nature
  • Things beyond their control due to learned patterns
  • Inner wounds

This complex mix is often not even understandable to the person who carries it inside, let alone to those listening.

Because of this, you might be the first person to understand your partner (even before they do) because you don’t have blind spots (Johari window) regarding them.

Similarly, they could be the first person to understand you.

It’s also possible that you won’t agree with what your partner claims, leading to blockages.

If the conversation fosters understanding, the listener must listen and set aside their emotions, prejudices, conclusions, and blockages. This is the way to understand your partner’s intent.

Couple wonders how to fix their relationship

Yes, sometimes you will see that your partner intends to argue or even hurt you. Though I don’t condone this, it’s essential to know that there’s something behind it: a learned pattern—when attacked, we respond with even greater force; when sad, we argue. That’s how Mom did it, etc.).

If you see something like this, choose one of the options:

  • Remove yourself until your partner expresses that emotion. Continue the conversation later.
  • Explain to your partner what you see and what won’t be tolerated.
  • Steer the conversation back to normal parameters.

But if you don’t like what your partner is saying, you need to work through the issue enough times to reach a joint conclusion that is best for both of you and yields the best results. Whether it’s your idea, your partner’s, or a third option.

5. Do not conclude before you understand well what the partner wants to say.

Pay attention to this: sometimes, understanding just one sentence of what the partner wants to say takes half an hour of explanation on his part.

Only when you can have a good conversation on the topic of that one sentence (I understand that you wanted to say this to me: __ (sentence)) and when your partner confirms that you are right and that you have understood each other well—only after that you draw conclusions.

Man and woman are smiling

6. Do good things for each other.

This way, you’ll develop the habit of doing good things and feeling gratitude.

People don’t do good things for others because they are disinterested, preoccupied with their obligations, angry, or harboring resistance towards their partner. Not giving to your partner makes the relationship worse.

An excellent way to improve the relationship is to start doing good things for your partner despite everything happening inside you. You should expect the same from your partner.

Do this, at least during peaceful periods. Help them, surprise them with something pleasant, fulfill their wishes, etc.

7. Engage in exchanges

Couple in long distance relationship

Since the entire world operates on the exchange principle (you work, they give you a salary), exchanging things with your partner is quite reasonable and practical.

Ask them to do something for you when you do something for them. They might argue that it’s an economic exchange, but explain to them that however they call it or see it, in the end, they will benefit from it as much as you do.

Regarding equality, find some patterns. For some, it won’t make sense to exchange sex for shopping; for others, it will. You have to find something that makes sense for both of you.

8. Make better compromises

There are three types of compromises:

  1. Nobody gets what they want, but a middle ground is found.
  2. Sometimes, one partner gets what they want; the next time, the other does.
  3. Both partners get what they want, and this is built upon and repeated.

Of course, sometimes you’ll follow one type of compromise, sometimes another. I suggest always striving for the third type because it will benefit both you and your partner the most.

Man and woman are smiling

9. Say nice things to each other

Whenever you can, compliment each other or say words of love. We all crave praise, comfort, and love. Most people will perk up when praised, when kind words are spoken to them, or when love is shown.

No matter how strong, beautiful, brave, etc., we are, having someone remind us of who we are is good. Thanks to this, our days are better, we are more robust and braver, and we live better lives.

10. Fulfill your partner’s wishes.

You know your reasons for not fulfilling your partner’s wishes so far. In this text, Why Don’t You Give Your Partner What They Want?, you have several listed reasons and solutions for them.

In short: partners bond for various reasons, and one of them is when a partner fulfills our wishes.

We have wishes that potentially make us ready to seek out people who will fulfill them. If our wishes are not satisfied in a relationship or marriage, we might look outside for someone who will. But if our wishes are satisfied in the relationship, it binds us even more tightly to our partner.

This also works in the opposite direction.

Man and woman in love

11. Turn everything you can into humor.

Life is better with humor. Humor signifies the ability to see the ironic side of the world. Everything that happens becomes more pleasant and less painful; we can express our playful side, and life becomes more relaxed.

Humor shifts focus away from negative emotions, changing the picture. With humor, communication improves, and the person appears relaxed and fun. Situations are no longer burdensome for either side.

The side using humor sees a positive and unburdened image, while the side receiving humor considers the other fun and relaxed.

12. Have an exciting life together and introduce novelties into it

An elderly couple

People who have exciting experiences together and introduce new things into their lives want to spend more time together. This is linked to hormones like adrenaline and dopamine, released when we do exciting things.

The idea is that when we do exciting things, we experience excitement, euphoria, energy, fun, etc. If someone is present while we experience these emotions, we will associate that person with the feelings we experience.

This way, your partner can become exciting and a source of fun and good feelings

12. Openly state what you do for your partner – expect gratitude

People often assume that their partner knows what they do for them. However, this is not necessarily the case for several reasons:

  • The partner is preoccupied with something and doesn’t recognize what you do for them.
  • The partner doesn’t want to acknowledge what you do because if they do, they owe you.
  • The partner thinks what you did for them is insignificant.
  • The partner is spoiled and takes everything for granted.

The idea here is not to blame the partner but to understand that there are reasons why it is essential to state what you have done for them. Insist that they recognize it and acknowledge that what you do for them is not a small thing.

Long distance relationship

This way, they will feel gratitude or even owe you, which is good because everyone will receive good things from each other.

Also, you, who have done something for your partner, will only feel like the aggrieved party working with recognition. Instead, you will have your satisfaction and a reason to do something for them.

13. Let them openly express what they do for you – show gratitude.

The same goes in the opposite direction, but since we’re talking about you, the idea is for you to feel gratitude. Gratitude makes the world a better place. When we feel gratitude, we recognize that someone has cared for us. By realizing this, we acknowledge that we matter to someone and have someone on our side, someone who will help us, etc.

If you have a problem with your partner expressing what he has done for you, you must work on that issue. If your partner does something for you, he should be able to say it. If you are somehow preventing this, there is a reason for it (read the shortlist from item number 12.). What I am saying here is not about blaming you, just as it wasn’t about blaming your partner. People have reasons for not doing ideal things, including why they don’t feel and express gratitude and don’t want to recognize that someone is doing something for them.

However, whatever we have inside us that holds us back or ruins our lives, we can (and should) change it.

But to return to the topic, allow your partner (even ask them) to tell you what they have done for you so you can feel gratitude and be motivated to reciprocate.

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14. Cut through your partner’s imaginary fears.

We all carry some neurosis within us—some more, some less. Neuroses (imaginary fears) are an excellent way to control people, and cutting through them is a great way to awaken deep gratitude in someone and bind them to you.

If you help someone free themselves from their imaginary fears, you can quickly become the only person in their corner, fighting alongside them. You become irreplaceable when you are the only one doing something positive for your partner.

Another point: Cutting through someone’s imaginary fears (with healthy reasoning and rationality) will help your partner become braver, more determined, stable, assertive, productive, etc., and don’t forget, you live with them so that you will benefit from this, too.

A man and a woman lie next to each other

15. Improve your sexual relationship.

People who have regular sexual relations are happier because hormones that make us feel satisfied are released during and after sex (the body rewards us for potential procreation).

Also, people who have regular and good sexual relations bond because sex is the most intimate experience with someone, indicating that through sexual union, we allow our partner into our most intimate space. This means we trust them and want them very close to us.

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16. Don’t destroy your partner in any way

  • Don’t sabotage their progress. Always encourage them to move forward.
  • Don’t feed their imaginary fears. Cut through them.
  • Encourage them to develop and do good things for themselves.
  • Don’t encourage (or at least grumble) when they do bad things for themselves.
  • Gently but tell them when they are destroying themselves.
  • Don’t participate in their self-destruction, even if it seems like a fun idea.
  • Don’t be selfish and destroy your partner’s resources for selfish reasons (money, time, and energy).
  • You know what is good. You know what will benefit your partner. Follow that path.
Happy couple

I hope you will listen to these tips. If you listen to just one of them, your relationship will get better, and then you might want to listen to the others.

I hug you.

Dee

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