It's been a long day. You and your partner are finally home, and ready to spend the evening together. And yet, without even realizing it, you both get caught up in bad nightly habits that affect your relationship.
The type of bad habits will obviously differ from couple to couple, depending on your living arrangements and how long you've been together. But the end results are usually the same — bad habits make your relationship more difficult, and less than loving, than it could or should be.
Before you start feeling horrible, however, remember that no one means to develop bad habits, and doing so is totally normal. Think along the lines of your morning routine, and how you used to make each other coffee, or snuggle in bed. Perhaps now you forgo this pre-work hangout time in favor of ignoring each other, or staring at your phones. (Bad habits, indeed.) Neither of you are acting this way consciously, I'm sure. But such scenarios can develop over time, and definitely take a toll on your relationship.
So let's stop and think about what you guys are doing at night. I'm talking about the things you do (or don't do) as a couple in those cozy, homey moments before bed. Do you repeat your morning routine, and stare blankly into your phones, instead of of cuddling or having sex? Do you rarely, if ever, eat dinner together? These are all bad habits that can lead to problems down the road. So read on for more things you should stop doing at night, if you want a happier and healthier relationship with your partner.
1. Going To Bed A Different Times
Going to bed at the same time isn't always possible, especially (obviously) if you have totally different schedules. But if both your lives allow it, try to get on the same sleep schedule. "Happy couples resist the temptation to go to bed at different times," said Mark Goulston, MD, F.A.P.A., on Psychology Today. "They go to bed at the same time, even if one partner wakes up later to do things while their partner sleeps." It's a simple that can offer a nice moment of "togetherness" at the end of the day.
2. Having The Same Go-To Date Night
There's something very cute about traditions — Taco Tuesday with your SO being one that sounds particularly nice. But sometimes it's easy to get into a rut, where you find yourselves going through the motions instead of actually enjoying the date. If that's the case, switch things up with your partner, and try something new and exciting. According to the editors at Prevention, rewarding experiences flood your brain with dopamine, a mood-boosting chemical, which can help boost your bond. Pretty cool, right?
3. Not Talking About Your Day
Whatever you do, don't barge past each other on the way to fridge, eat dinner in silence, or go to bed without discussing the day's events. Instead, make an effort to talk over dinner, or share your thoughts before falling asleep. "Sharing this little chat every night really can improve your relationship," said psychologist Angela Hicks, PhD, on Prevention. She found that couples have increased feelings of connection when they make it a point to discuss recent positive events. So definitely carve out a few minutes for this each evening.
4. Staring Into Your Phones
Once the initial shine wears off of a relationship, and you find yourself sinking into comfy routines, it can be tempting to totally ignore your SO in favor of your phone. But don't let this happen, especially while lying in bed at night. "Bedtime is an opportunity for real connection with the person right next to you — you know, the person you fell madly in love with and whom you’ve chosen to be your partner," said Charles J. Orlando on SELF. "Make your bedroom a sanctuary, free from the noise of life, and watch your connection improve almost immediately."
5. Eating At Separate Times
Everyone's heard about the important of family meals. They make sense for couples, too — even if it's just you and your SO alone in a tiny apartment. As Cody C. Delistraty said on The Atlantic, "The dinner table can act as a unifier, a place of community. Sharing a meal is an excuse to catch up and talk, one of the few times where people are happy to put aside their work and take time out of their day." In other words, it may be the perfect time to have that necessary end-of-day chat. So try to make it a nightly tradition.
6. Not Having Any Alone Time
I know, this one kind of goes against all the above advice. And yet having personal time is still incredibly important for a healthy relationship, especially if you live with your partner. "It is healthy to have some separate interests and activities and to come back to the relationship refreshed and ready to share your experiences," noted Maud Purcell, LCSW, CEAP on PsychCentral.com. "Missing your partner helps remind you how important he or she is to you."
7. Going To Bed Angry
"Never go to bed angry" may be the oldest relationship cliché. There is something to be said, however, for coming to some kind of truce before bed. "Wildly-happy couples have fights, just like the rest of the world’s couples. But they never go to bed angry ... By going to bed angry, it only festers and grows deeper. And they refuse to allow that to happen," said R.L. Adams on HuffingtonPost.com. Do yourselves a favor, and make up before bed.
8. Forgoing Cuddling Time
If you start going to bed at the same time, then this one should be easy. Because the last thing you want to do is lie coldly next to each other, or spend the evening on two different planets. "Couples should take five minutes each morning and each night to simply hold each other," suggested Charley Ferrer, Ph.D., in an article by April Daniels Hussar on Women's Health. "This is a wonderful way to start and end your day."
9. Sitting Miles Apart
Another good chance to cuddle? When you're both chilling around the house. "We all need personal time and space, but taking the time to sit close together can help you feel more connected," said Michele Chevrier on EliteDaily.com. You don't have to talk, or even be doing the same activity, but the closeness will still feel nice.
10. Waiting To Be In The Mood
If you truly don't feel like having sex, then don't feel bad about turning your partner down, or going to sleep early. That, of course, goes without being said. But sometimes the mood never comes. Maybe you're always tired, or have a busy schedule. When that's the case, sometimes you have to get things going — while in the mood or not — for the good of your relationship. As Kristen Sollee said on Women's Health, "... previous research shows that pleasing your partner can actually boost your own libido ... you might be surprised by how turned on you get in the process." Give it a go, and you might be surprised.
11. Not Kissing Goodnight
I know... you're both tired and want to get to sleep ASAP. But is it really so difficult to kiss each other goodnight? If you don't have the energy for the aforementioned sex, or even cuddling, this is the least you can do to show each other some love. As Orlando said, "...a kiss goodnight is one of the simplest ways to connect at the end of the day." I couldn't agree more.
After all, these bad habits are all ones that create a sort of sad, disconnected relationship. To prevent that horrible feeling, take time to pay attention to each other at night — eat dinner together, cuddle, have sex, talk about your days. You'll see that, once you get rid of these nightly bad habits, your relationship will become stronger and healthier than ever.
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