All relationships have rough spots now and then, but high standard relationships avoid certain problems at all costs — even ones that many consider “normal” for relationships.
If you’re questioning whether you’re on the right path or should cut your losses and leave, read on to discover five seemingly “typical” relationship issues that aren’t worth dealing with long-term if you want a high-standard relationship.
Relationships can be incredible, difficult, exciting, exhausting, thrilling, challenging, and so much more — we all know this.
But because they are so complicated, it may become easy to make excuses and justifications for the problems that do come up — especially if you’re in a newer relationship or the dating stage and desperately want to make things work.
That’s why it’s important to maintain high standards in relationships and know the difference between issues that are just annoying versus ones that are incompatible with the type of relationship you really want.
Even if you understand what a “bad” relationship” looks like — dishonesty, unhealthy jealousy, constant fighting, lack of attraction, etc. — high-standard relationships, or those that exceed expectations, may still seem hard to come by.
But knowing where the line is between a high standard relationship and an average one — by understanding the type of problems that high-standard relationships actively steer clear of — is a great start.
So in this article, I’ll share five seemingly “normal” problems that high-standard relationships avoid.
What Are High Standard Relationships?
In order to understand the types of problems high-standard relationships avoid, it’d probably be helpful to know what the heck I’m even talking about with this term.
In short, a high standard relationship is one in which both partners have high standards for themselves and each other and are comfortable with — even excited and inspired by — these high standards.
A high-standard relationship entails communicating openly and honestly, listening to and respecting each other’s opinions, always striving to grow and improve, and being there for each other during the good and bad times.
Couples in high-standard relationships don’t just love each other. They adore, respect, learn from, challenge, understand, and desire each other.
Of course, no relationship is 100% perfect, but if this type of relationship sounds significantly more appealing to you than the ones you’ve had in the past (or are currently in), then read on to uncover the types of issues that high standard relationships strive to avoid at all costs:
1. Cold Shouldering
Even if both partners are the best communicators, poor communication can still occur in a healthy relationship now and then.
Given people’s different backgrounds, temperaments, use of language, and general communication styles, it can be difficult to always communicate perfectly, even if (or perhaps especially if) you’ve been with your partner for years.
However, giving your partner the cold shoulder — or purposefully ignoring your partner for a long time — is not acceptable in high-standard relationships. It’s downright disrespectful to blow off your partner without any communication.
Important: Giving the cold shoulder is different than asking for space and expecting your partner to respect your boundaries by granting you that space.
The cold shoulder would involve no ask and little to no honest communication. Giving the cold shoulder is simply turning away and expecting your partner to understand why you’re upset and what you need.
You might have given the cold shoulder or gotten it from a past partner and assumed this was normal.
But high-standard relationships avoid cold shouldering at all costs and prioritize healthy communication, even through challenging moments.
2. Fighting About Opinions
Nobody is a huge fan of relationship fighting. But even in the healthiest relationships, fighting on occasion can be normal.
Couples may fight about chores, money, sex, in-laws, etc.
However, high-standard relationships avoid fighting about opinions — whether those are opinions on current events, books, movies, politics, etc.
Couples in high-standard relationships understand that they each have a right to their own opinions and that their partner’s views do not invalidate their own.
These couples also understand that it’s okay to agree to disagree. Just because you have some different opinions from your partner doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed.
What If We Have Different Opinions about Chores, Money, etc.?
It may be confusing to think that fighting about money is understandable but fighting about opinions is not — even though the fight often begins by having different opinions.
But here’s the difference: Typically, when a couple fights about these issues, they are not necessarily fighting about their opinions.
For example, when it comes to money, couples may fight about:
- how to best handle their money
- how much money to save per month
- what to spend their shared money on
These are not opinions but decisions.
Even then, of course, fighting isn’t ideal. But it is more understandable for fights about shared decisions in relationships rather than any opinions either partner might hold.
The same goes for chores, kids, frequency of dates, work-life balance, and other things couples may fight about — these all involve decisions, and the focus should be kept on coming to an agreement about a decision as opposed to changing someone’s opinions.
If there are opinions your partner has that are incongruent with your values or unjustifiable to you, there is still no reason to fight about them.
In this case, these incongruent opinions indicate that you are likely an incompatible match and should not be in the relationship. But fighting about these opinions is pointless.
Alternatively, if both parties are open and the opinions are not bad enough to break up, debating can be a viable option:
Debates Instead of Fights
Having discussions that both people agree to in advance — in which one or both parties are open to changing their minds — is different.
These types of discussions or healthy debates are incredible and can help expand the mindsets of one or both partners. They help challenge you and your partner to grow. But again, they do not require a fight.
In the heat of an argument, it can seem easy to let words fly without thinking about their implications or the hurt they may cause. And once name-calling has become normalized in a relationship, it can be challenging to change that bad habit.
Many people assume that name-calling is not that big of a deal just because they “don’t mean it” and are “speaking emotionally” at the moment. They believe they can get away with it or just apologize each time it occurs.
However, in high-standard relationships, couples avoid name-calling at all costs.
Name-calling is hurtful, belittling, and disrespectful. Point, blank, period.
Name-calling includes any derogatory term used to describe your partner, whether in the heat of the moment or not. The only exception is mutual teasing, in which both parties are laughing and joking around, and it is clear that no one is offended by the terms used.
The Irony of Name-Calling
Plus, name-calling doesn’t make a lot of sense… If someone calls their partner “stupid,” “ugly,” “an a-hole,” “a loser,” or anything else, that says much more about them than it does their partner.
It indirectly implies that that person is choosing to be with someone they think has x,y, and z issues.
Of course, this irony is not one that people consciously think about when they start name-calling.
But it’s crucial to be aware of the overall implications, in addition to all the damage it can do to your partner’s self-esteem and your relationship as a whole.
Complacency is often mistaken for contentment. It’s lovely to feel content and at ease in your relationship.
But complacency simply means you’re not actively unhappy. And just because you’re not actively unhappy in your relationship doesn’t mean you should stop working on it.
Couples in high-standard relationships understand that a relationship is something you must work on and put effort into if you want it to be not only successful but exceptional.
Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset in Relationships
Growth mindset is a term typically used in regards to learning and motivation in an educational setting, but it can apply to various aspects of life — including relationships.
When a partner has a fixed mindset instead of a growth mindset, this means that they are fine the way things are and either don’t believe that there’s any reason to change or don’t believe that change is even possible.
And once even one partner refuses to change because they are complacent, it can be an uphill battle for the relationship to improve.
On the other hand, partners with a growth mindset are willing to reflect, learn, and challenge themselves to develop as romantic partners.
Staying in a Rut
It’s easy for any relationship to fall into a rut, especially long-term relationships.
But seriously — what’s the point of putting in the work of a relationship and making certain boundaries, rules, and sacrifices to be together if you’re just going to take each other for granted at the end of the day?
Couples in it for the long haul understand that even if they love each other very much and are perfectly happy with things the way they are, that’s no excuse to stop making an effort.
In other words, don’t wait until things are “bad” to start trying to make things “good.” That mindset will only result in an unfulfilling, passionless relationship — which is obviously not a high-standard one.
In high-standard relationships, the “dating stage” never truly ends.
Boredom may seem similar to complacency, but there’s a significant difference:
Let’s say you’re with someone that has a growth mindset: They are willing to listen, learn, grow, and adapt. They never want to stay in a rut — so they put in loads of effort to make you feel special, spend quality time with you, and appreciate the effort you put in as well.
However, if this person still makes you feel bored out of your mind — that’s a different problem.
It may be tempting to settle with someone who is perfect on paper — good looks, charming demeanor, passionate career, etc. — but if there’s no real chemistry, connection, or long-lasting interest, then it simply won’t become a high-standard relationship.
People who desire high-standard relationships avoid boredom by committing to two ideas:
- Showing their true, authentic selves every step of the way so that both they and their person of interest can accurately assess the connection.
- Leaving a relationship if they are simply too bored for too long.
Ultimately, boredom is not “good enough.”
Although it may seem normal to be bored with someone after a while, boredom in a relationship is a sign that it’s time to either do something different, find ways to rekindle the flame, or move on.
In high-standard relationships, both partners are always striving to be the best versions of themselves.
And if you’re not with someone striving to do the same, then it’s not a high-standard relationship.
Alternatively, if both partners are striving to be the best version of themselves, but the results are still lackluster and uninspiring, then it’s likely just not a good match, which also means there’s little to no chance of building a high-standard relationship.
Final Thoughts on High Standard Relationships
High-standard relationships aren’t the easiest to find and certainly not the easiest to maintain. But in my opinion, high-standard relationships are the only ones worthy of the time, effort, and energy any romantic relationship requires.
To have a high-standard relationship, you need to be with someone that is also striving for the same goal. And it’s not enough for them to simply be “good enough,” so if that thought ever crosses your mind, you may be settling.
No relationship is perfect, and there’ll always be room for improvement.
But if you’re with someone that is also committed to making things work, is always trying to learn and grow, and is open to new experiences and ideas, then you’re well on your way to building a high-standard relationship.