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May 28, 2018

3 Surprisingly Healthy Relationship Habits

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When it comes to relationships, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. What works for you may not work for your sister, neighbours, parents or best friend. However, we have tendency to judge other people’s relationships based on our own experiences, which are neither universally applicable nor rooted in science or expertise. So as as you review these three habits that are healthy for many couples, bear in mind that they may or may not work for you and your partner, so you need to deliberate, discuss and experiment with various approaches to find the right fit.

Without further ado, here are three relationship habits that are often labelled as toxic, but can be healthy in many relationships:

Sharing passwords.call-1866884_640

Some people believe that sharing account passwords is a sign that trust is lacking and others suggest that it will inevitably lead to checking up on each other. I believe the opposite is true: sharing your passwords to social media accounts demonstrates that you trust your partner; holding your partner’s password without using it to check in on their private messages demonstrates that you trust them. It can be handy to have their passwords for practical reasons (e.g. sign in to help them out when they can’t access their account/device), but you don’t need to access their private messages to check up on them.

Note: It can be healthy to share passwords and it can be equally healthy to keep them private. Just because sharing passwords can be a healthy relationship habit does not mean that it is essential to a lasting, fulfilling relationship. So don’t use this an excuse to pressure your partner into sharing their password if they’re not comfortable doing so; instead, you might want to ask yourself why you feel so driven or entitled to access their account in the first place.

Spending time apart/with separate friend groups.

Time apart is essential to an exciting, passionate relationship and research suggests that we can learn from long-distance couples who report higher levels of emotional intimacy and positive communication. There is nothing wrong with maintaining separate social circles as long as you’re not hiding relationships from your partner; in fact, spending time with friends on your own can help to mitigate the negative effects if your friends and partner simply don’t click. Time apart also allows you to reap the benefits of “self-expansion theory” which suggests that we’re happiest in our relationships when we are given space to grow and embrace new experiences.

Taking a break from sex

You’ve probably read the research suggesting that sexual frequency is positively correlated with greater happiness levels; this data is a correlation — not causal and research suggests that the purported happiness benefits of sex may max out at once per week. Having said that, you don’t have to have sex every week to have a happy relationship.  You may mutually agree to take breaks from sex after kids, during illness while grieving or simply when you’re busy, stressed, exhausted, distracted or simply not in the mood. As long as you maintain other forms of intimacy and communicate your needs to your partner, you can have a happy relationship — even if you’re not having sex.