13 things mentally strong couples don't do, according to a psychotherapist

Hinterhaus Productions/Getty ImagesRelationships thrive when you maintain good habits.
  • Amy Morin is a psychotherapist, licensed clinical social worker, and bestselling author.
  • She says the absence of unhealthy habits is important to allow romantic relationships to thrive.
  • These behaviours include manipulation, holding a grudge, and minimising one another’s feelings.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Mentally strong couples are comprised of two strong individuals who bring out the best in each other. They challenge each other in healthy ways and support each other’s efforts to reach their goals.

While good habits are important to their success, the absence of bad habits is what really separates them from other people. They avoid unhealthy habits that could rob them of the mental strength they need to be their best. Here are 13 things mentally strong couples don’t do.

1. They don’t keep score

Photo by Jon Furniss/Invision for PS4/APA healthy couple doesn’t complain about who does more.

They don’t worry about whose turn it is to do the dishes, and they don’t complain about being owed a favour. They understand that there are times when one of them will have more to give than the other – so they don’t keep score over who does the most.

2. They don’t compete

Maria Evseyeva/ShutterstockStrong partners support each other.

Mentally strong couples don’t try to outshine one another. They build each other up, celebrate one another’s successes, and cheer each other on. They know that they are on the same team and aren’t trying to earn the most, be the favourite parent, or attract the most attention.

3. They don’t attack

Mixmike/Getty ImagesAddress issues with love, not anger.

You won’t catch mentally strong couples calling each other names or making false accusations. They don’t blame one another for their emotions, their problems, or their behaviour. Instead, they take responsibility for their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.

4. They don’t let their emotions rule

Cavan Images/Getty ImagesIf an argument gets heated, take a deep breath and step back from the situation.

Mentally strong couples are emotionally intelligent. They use healthy coping skills to deal with uncomfortable feelings like loneliness, anger, and sadness. They embrace discomfort when it’s part of the healing process, and they know how to change their emotional state when their feelings aren’t serving them well.

5. They don’t manipulate

Murat Deniz/Getty ImagesA loving person doesn’t deceive their partner.

They don’t use deceptive or passive-aggressive tactics to try and get their partner to do things. Instead, they influence one another in a healthy, direct way. They talk openly about their concerns and expectations.

6. They don’t hold a grudge

Shutterstock/Ana Blazic PavlovicA strong couple will work through past issues.

Mentally strong couples know that they will let each other down, hurt one another, and make mistakes. So they apologise when they’re wrong and forgive each other for when they mess up. They don’t try to punish one another by holding grudges.

7. They don’t take each other for granted

Hinterhaus Productions/Getty ImagesAppreciate your partner’s strengths and flaws.

Mentally strong couples feel fortunate. They experience and express gratitude on a regular basis, not just for what their partners do for them, but also for who their partners are.

8. They don’t minimise one another’s feelings

Hinterhaus Productions/Getty ImagesBe empathetic towards your partner.

Mentally strong couples don’t always understand one another feelings. They might think their partner’s feelings are out of proportion to the situation sometimes. But they don’t invalidate one another’s emotions. Instead, they acknowledge that their partner has a right to their feelings, no matter what those feelings might be.

9. They don’t speak ill of each other

Pekic/Getty ImagesDon’t belittle your partner.

Mentally strong couples don’t complain to their friends or family members about their partners. They don’t reveal one another’s secrets to the world, and they don’t make fun of them to others. While they may seek relationship advice from people they respect, their conversations are about looking for solutions rather than putting their partner down.

10. They don’t keep secrets

Fergus Coyle/ShutterstockStrong couples are open and honest with each other.

Unless it’s a surprise birthday party or a present, mentally strong couples don’t keep secrets from one another. They allow each other to have privacy, but they don’t hide things that could damage the relationship – like spending habits or online behaviours. They’re open and honest with one another.

11. They don’t try to change each other

The Gender Spectrum CollectionAccept your partner for who they are.

While they do express concerns when they see concerning behaviour, they don’t try to force their partner to change. Rather than micromanage, nag, belittle, or beg, they focus on the things they can control – like their own effort and attitude.

12. They don’t stifle each other

Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty ImagesEncourage your partner to have their own hobbies.

Mentally strong couples don’t try to tame their partners. They allow them the space they need to be themselves, even when it involves their partner exploring interests or goals that they don’t share. They’re confident that their partner can enjoy freedom and pursue happiness as an individual while maintaining a strong, healthy relationship.

13. They don’t lose sight of their values

MoMo Productions/Getty ImagesStrong couples have compatible values and long-term goals.

While it’s tempting to get caught up in day-to-day stresses, and it’s easy to get stuck in a rut, mentally strong couples don’t lose sight of their values. Whether they value hard work, education, or extended family, they know what’s important to them, and they work together as a team to ensure their priorities reflect their core values.

Build your mental muscle

Luis Alvarez/Getty ImagesYou can work to develop good habits with your partner.

If you feel as though you or your partner aren’t as strong as you can be, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Fortunately, you can develop more mental strength both as an individual and as a couple.

So concentrate on building your own mental muscle – and you might inspire your partner to do the same. When you’re both invested in becoming the strongest versions of yourselves, you can become a powerful couple who supports one another’s efforts to create positive change.

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