18 Essential Relationship Tips, According To Couples Therapists
"Love is a lot of things...but at the end of the day, it is a choice."
Recently, we asked the BuzzFeed Community to share with us the best advice a relationship counselor had ever given them. Here are some of our favorite submissions:
1. "Couples change as they get older."
"The best thing my therapist told me and my then-fiance — now husband — was that couples change as they get older. It's normal to feel like things are changing, but you need to grasp onto the change and learn to love them regardless. That helped me so much, especially because I have anxiety about that kind of stuff."
2. "Immediately address when something bothers you."
"My mom (a marriage counselor) told me to always talk to a partner about anything that bothers you. For example, if you’re annoyed that they leave their dirty laundry on the bathroom floor, address it right away instead of letting it spiral into a pointless argument."
3. "Use 'I' statements during a disagreement instead of 'you' statements."
"The best advice that I ever got was to use 'I' statements during a disagreement instead of 'you' statements — like, instead of saying, 'You were mean to me,' you would say, 'I felt hurt by what you said.' This way, you're not making an accusation that would make your partner feel defensive. You're focusing on how the situation makes YOU feel. This is important because as I've learned, your reaction to something your partner does is based on what YOU think they meant, not what they really meant."
4. "You have to be the change you want to see in a relationship."
"If you want less fighting, less criticizing, or less blaming, you have to do what you’re expecting your partner to do. You can't control their behavior, so the only thing you can control is how you react to it."
5. "Relationships aren't always 50/50."
"Sometimes your partner needs you 100% and can't give you a lot back, but remember, it's only temporary."
6. “You don’t get to choose when you meet the love of your life, you just have to be thankful you met them at all.”
"A couples therapist told me this in response to my now-ex complaining that he wished he had met me at a different time because he felt like life was getting in the way. Now, I’m trying to focus more on the person I'm with rather than the timing!"
7. "Don't play into passive-aggressiveness."
"Adults should be able to communicate their needs to each other, so don't expect your partner (or anyone) to rely on unspoken clues about how you feel. And don't respond to unspoken clues — make your partner say what they need so you don't guess and get it wrong!"
8. "You can divorce yourself from the situation."
"Basically, I was having issues with my mother-in-law, and my therapist said I could just opt out. I didn't ask my S.O. to avoid his family and didn't cause drama — I just chose to no longer participate. Nine years later, I'd say it's the best advice I had ever gotten!"
9. "It's not you versus your partner; it's you and your partner versus the problem."
"Remember: You're on the same team."
10. "Never have an important discussion over text."
"You can't read real emotion or body language through a text message. So every time my partner and I have something important to discuss, we discuss it in person."
11. "Every argument is an opportunity to learn something new about your partner."
"View your disagreements as learning moments instead of battles!"
12. "It's not your job to make the other person happy."
"Our therapist said, 'It's not your job to make the other person happy.' I suffer from pretty bad depression which can sometimes translate as me seeming unhappy in the relationship, which I'm not. This quote made me feel okay addressing it."
13. "Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?"
"My therapist once asked me, in regard to things happening in my relationship, 'Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? ' For some reason, it was a huge epiphany for me."
14. "Avoid the words ‘always’ and ‘never’ in an argument."
"When you're in an argument, try to avoid saying things like, 'You always do this, or you never do that.' Chances are they don’t actually always or never do what you’re talking about."
15. "Great relationships don’t just happen."
"You can’t just be with someone and expect the rest to fall into place. Always make your partner a priority and work with them."
"My now ex-husband and I went to one meeting with a marriage counselor. The counselor told my ex that he was being emotionally abusive and manipulative, and since my ex didn't see himself as in the wrong, the counselor told me I should leave. My ex got mad, stormed out, and we never went back. I stayed with him for a bit longer and it only got worse. Sometimes, leaving IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO!"
17. "The best gift you can give yourself and your significant other is personal growth."
"When you try to be better, then your relationship will be better. But of course, it must be a priority for both of you to truly make a positive difference."
18. "Love is a lot of things...but at the end of the day, it is a choice."
"You must choose every day to love the person you’re with, even when you hate them!"