Breakups suck, whether you’re dealing with a ghosting situation or simply grew apart. And most of the time, they’re an unavoidable part of finding the one. One way to avoid as many post-breakup ice cream and teary Taylor Swift sessions is to be more selective about your relationships. Sara Trask, a communications professor at Randolph-Macon College, says that maintaining healthy relationships starts before you even swipe right. Scroll on for her best tips on breaking must-ditch habits before you choose your next partner.


1. Ignoring your ideal. Trask says that bad relationships happen because one or both partners ignore their ideal relationship qualities. Seeking out partners who match those ideals — not just partners who check some boxes — leads to happier, more fulfilled relationships down the road.

2. Choosing someone too different from us. Old adages say that opposites attract. While this may be true in some cases, Trask says that being similar to your SO actually provides more stability and satisfaction in the long run. Having similar hobbies, beliefs and backgrounds might sound boring, but it’s also what makes relationships strong.

3. Losing yourself in your partner. Taking on the interests and hobbies of your partner can be an awesome way to bond. “Many individuals will take on interests of their partners, and this is okay,” Trask said. “However, losing yourself and your wants, needs, desires, hobbies and goals can cause resentment later in the relationship.” Trask recommends resisting the urge to agree with your partner just to avoid conflict; this could set a precedent of not being your true self around your boyfriend or girlfriend.

4. Handing conflict inefficiently. Trask reminds us that a simple “I’m sorry” doesn’t always cut it. And sometimes, trying to apologize can actually backfire. Bringing up past conflicts, third parties or aggressive humor can all turn an apology into a negative interaction between you and your SO. “We all want to believe we are very constructive in how we communicate conflicts to our partners,” Trask said. “However, many times our emotions get the best of us and every time we engage in conflict, we can be very destructive.”

5. Being afraid of being alone. Confusing love with a fear of being alone is a frequent mistake in the dating world, Trask says. Getting over this fear, while scary, can lead to more fulfilled relationships and a better sense of self in the future.

6. Not communicating your desires. The first step toward #relationshipgoals is to know what you want and communicate it. If you’re up front and open about your goals and needs, your partner will be more willing to meet them.

Have anything to add to the list? Tweet us @BritandCo and tell us your best tips!

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