It is totally natural that, from time to time, people doubt whether their relationship is what “it should be like.” Your family may be different from the family you grew up in and that’s also okay.
We at Bright Side have analyzed the signs of unorthodox relationships and found expert opinions on why many couples don’t follow the stereotypes and are still happy.
You don’t talk a lot.
You can be together in silence for a long time. You don’t feel uncomfortable and you don’t have to talk all the time. Doctor Roni Beth thinks that the couples that can just be together in silence, doing their own thing, have a very special connection.
- My dad always told me that all I needed to do to make friends was to be ok at talking, good at listening, and excellent at keeping my mouth shut. © Pretty*****Chalant / Reddit
Being able to be happy in “awkward” silence is actually truly loving silence. It says everything words cannot. © BigBossLittleFiddle / Reddit
You go on vacations separately.
The number of people who go on vacation without their partners is growing, with around one-third of American adults admitting they go on solo trips. It can even make your relationship stronger: if you truly love your partner, you will miss them. At the same time, you can do whatever you want. For example, you can go and visit museums while your partner is out somewhere climbing mountains.
- Last summer I needed a break, and my husband couldn’t take the time off with me. I was pretty discouraged but took the time off without him. I spent the morning hiking in the mountains by myself, and took myself out to eat for lunch, and took myself shopping for me, and not my kids. It was probably the most relaxing day off I’d had in a long time. It gave me time to refocus, and take my own sweet time to enjoy the day. I didn’t have to wait for kids or keep up with them, and I didn’t feel rushed to go fast because of my husband’s busy schedule. It was my time. And I think every married couple needs to take a break without the other one, even if it’s just one day away, it is a good thing. © Lizzy White / Quora
Your partner doesn’t spend time with your family.
If your parents and your partner get along well, that’s great. But it’s far less pleasant if they don’t like each other. This doesn’t have to be a source of conflict though. Your partner doesn’t have to take part in family dinners with your parents, but he or she can still love you and respect your relatives. You just need to set the ground rules as soon as possible.
- Don’t try to turn your parents against your partner and use them as a weapon to control him or her. © Matthew Joaquin / Quora
You have different views and interests.
Doctor Mark White thinks that people overemphasize the value of similar hobbies. In his opinion, common interests may just help people ignore their problems and prolong a relationship that is no longer viable. Psychologist Diane Barth thinks that most of us need someone different from us, to make us strong and make our lives richer.
- My partner and I don’t like the same music, art, books, or hobbies, and we have very different friends but we agree about the core stuff like he understands my ambition, he knows I am not the housewife type — things that matter. @ Anonymous / Quora
- If you find someone who agrees with you on EVERYTHING, and is exactly like you, I’d think that would be pretty boring. I want a woman who will bring me to new places, and show me new things, and introduce me to new foods, etc. I don’t want a twin of myself. @ Mark Taylor / Quora
You argue often.
Sometimes when you are very angry with each other, you have arguments. Doctor Elizabeth Dorrance says that the people we love the most, get the most of our negative emotions. On the other hand, conflicts are good for relationships, because they indicate that you both need to change something. It is important to be able to end conflicts on a positive note and admit your mistakes.
- I have friends that love having intellectual battles between themselves, it’s how they connect to each other and express their love. © Iwunderalot / Reddit
- No matter how angry you are at one another. You will still go out of your way or they will go out of their way to help. I’ll be wicked pissed, but I’ll angrily make my wife her favorite dinner even though I don’t want to eat. No matter how angry we are at one another (it usually only lasts for a short period of time) we will never sabotage or try to teach the other one a lesson. Many times, it ends up as us both apologizing to one another. Arguing and getting angry is just part of the relationship and unavoidable. It is how you deal with it that sets it apart from a healthy relationship, versus a bad one. © kamikaziboarder / Reddit
- When your partner takes criticism from you seriously, without immediately trying to turn it back on you. If the converse is also true, you 2 stand a great chance of going the distance. © SqueakyCleanNoseDown / Reddit
You don’t try to please each other at your own expense.
You don’t do the things your partner doesn’t like doing for them. You do the housework together. Psychologist Atalanta Beaumont is against trying to please your partner a lot. If someone tries to help other people too much, it may be because in childhood, their effort wasn’t rewarded or they didn’t feel like they were good enough.
- If you try to please everyone, you end up sacrificing your own needs sometimes. It’s okay to displease people. You can’t make everyone happy, and if you could, that’d be worrisome. © Daniel Dye / Quora
You sleep separately.
You sleep separately because one of you snores in their sleep and the other one wakes up to the smallest noise. Psychologist Katherine Schreiber says that more and more couples are sleeping separately nowadays. Scientists at Ohio State University prove that healthy sleep is far more useful for a relationship than sleeping together.
- For years, sleeping in the same bed did not work for us. It caused a lot of friction between us. When we started sleeping apart we became a better couple. A good night’s rest without the other complaining about snoring or the hugging of covers can do wonders to one’s psyche. We laugh more and are relaxed when we quietly say good night and leave to go to our separate rooms. © Ameerah Ahmed / Quora
You don’t have kids.
You both accept this fact and it’s okay for both of you. Psychologists say that childless couples are often happier than those that have children.
- My husband has recently started his own practice, whereas I’ve gone back to being a full-time student doing a Ph.D. in an area that I love. We tend to break up our work routines by visiting different countries every few months, to give ourselves a break, clear our heads, come back & work in our respective areas again. It is always an amazing experience to visit new places and learn about different cultures. On the weekends, my husband plays as part of a band and they occasionally do shows together. I volunteer at an animal shelter and have started taking French language classes, as it’s a language I’ve always wanted to learn. If we had kids, we would probably not have the freedom or the time to pursue our own interests and passions. © Anonymous / Quora
You spend less time together than you want.
You can’t spend a lot of time together, but you don’t worry about it: you trust your partner and you are sure about their feelings. Of course, how much time you spend together is important, but according to psychologists, how you spend it is way more important. Doing something together has to make both partners happy.
- They learn to anticipate your needs instinctively. Very early on when I was dating my husband, I felt he was distant at a time when we were both quite busy. I never mentioned it to him, but I felt he was distancing himself and I wanted to respect that without conflict. Later he sent me a handful of messages saying he felt he’d been distant and missed me. © Me_Mento_Mori / Reddit
It takes a long time to accept each other.
All of us have our own flaws and it sometimes takes people time to accept them. Psychologists say that accepting people doesn’t mean we should agree with what they do. Acceptance is agreeing with reality, without trying to change it. Just imagine how much a relationship with someone would improve if a person feels that they are totally accepted.
- It’s taken about 7 years with my husband to start to criticize him less, but every so often I still get that initial gut reaction of, “I’m a bad wife.” © whodunit_notme / Reddit
- My partner grew up slightly poorer than me, but we kept many of the ideas that worked for us. Like how one of us was raised, for example, to get concerned when food was running low, compared to being raised with the thought that we have to eat everything and not let anything go to waste. Then, it’s a conversation you have to have with them. It was a sin to let food go bad, rather than keeping a stocked fridge and if something went bad then you just tossed it out. © Postsupernova / Reddit
You express your feelings in different ways.
You can have different ideas about how to express your feelings. For one of you, words are important, for the other one — actions, hugs, and other things are important. A study shows: people who stay in a marriage for a long time treat buying food or cleaning at home as a way to show love and care.
- It’s important to know the way in which someone best expresses and best receives signs of love/affection. A lot of guys are physical lovers, meaning that they best receive signs of affection through literal physical affection, like a kiss or hug that wasn’t asked for. On that same token, they might have a partner whose love language is something like the written word or speech, these kinds of people love to be told, in elegant and profound ways, about the feelings their partners hold. Things like love letters, long talks, and friendly notes make them feel appreciated and show them the true feelings of someone. © Christopher Johnson / Quora
What is the definition of the perfect relationship for you?