You should never belong to each other, but belong together
Relationships are complicated. They have so many variables and factors to making them work. You usually commit to a relationship in the hopes that love will develop and you can share your time with someone. Love itself is an element of a relationship. You can be deeply in love but be unhappy or not content. Through life I will learn more lessons but for now, here is what I have learned so far:
Lesson One: Appreciation
Appreciating the little things goes a long way. Many times people who are in unhappy relationships feel that way because they feel unappreciated, which leads to resentfulness. Saying thank you or showing appreciation is easy. It realizing that you appreciate that persons efforts that is the hard part. Simply telling the other person “thank you for cooking dinner” or stating that you enjoyed your time together is all you need. Positive re-enforcement that the person in your life makes a difference and means something to your existence.
Lesson Two: Wants and Needs
Understanding each others wants and needs is very important. Understanding means that you know what that person wants/needs are and why they want/need those those things. The why is more important when understanding if you can help facilitate and support them. A need can be a simple as being cuddled to sleep because to that person it gives them a sense of security. It is the same with goals and pathways. You need to be communicating what you want in life and your goals. Decide whether these goals can align with your own so that you can support each other.
Lesson Three: Communication
Miscommunication is the leading cause of arguments. It usually happens when two people disagree or don’t communicate how they feel clearly. The number one rule is to be respectful of others opinions, views or feelings but also be clear on your own. It can start with a simple “I can understand your point of view, but perhaps. . .”. Being open and honest is also important. You will find that the more you open up to each other that communication will run more freely. Ladies, just say what you mean or feel because men are not mind readers. If you’re hoping they will figure it out, it ain’t going to happen. Men, say it in your head first.
Lesson Four: Trust
“There is nothing, without trust” you have probably heard this advise. That is because it is important. You need to be able to trust the person with your life. You need to trust that they are faithful. Trust that they are not lying to you. Without trust there is no point to continue. The emotional and psychological harm it will cause both parties in the log run. Imagine laying awake at night wondering where they are or who they’re with. The paranoia will destroy your happiness.You can work through building trust again but if there is a pattern of it being broken, its time to walk away.
Lesson Five: Quality time together
A persons time and effort is the best gift they can give you. If they don’t want to give it to you, then they are not worth your time. Although, it is a balancing game. Quality over quantity is important. Date nights are a great way to ensure that this is happening. No matter how long you have been together you should at least try to have one date night a week. Even cooking dinner together is quality time. Find something that you both like doing that is comfortable and carefree. That way you’ll be bonding over conversations without even trying because you’re in your element.
Lesson Six: Resolutions
You have a fight. It needs to be resolved. If you don’t resolve it, it will come back and haunt you. Next time you have a fight, the previous fights will be mentioned and soon enough the reason you’re fighting gets forgotten. Its just everything else that was never resolved. The best advice I have heard is “never go to sleep angry”. If it takes you all night to figure it out then do it. If it is more serious seek professional help or get some space so you can think about it more clearly. Do what it takes to clear the air and address the elephant in the room.
Lesson Seven: Acceptance
This one is tricky because it involves both people reflecting on things that they are willing to accept about a person. The goal in a relationship is to not change each other to match but to grow together. If there is a behavior that bothers you, you need to figure out why it bothers you. Does it actually effect you? Then you need to communicate this clearly and respectfully. If your partner always leaves a mess in the bathroom and it drives you nuts you need to figure out how it affects you, communicate it, discuss or compromise and then decide if you’re willing to accept the behavior for the bigger picture.
If you can’t accept it, it becomes a deal breaker and creates resentment. But if you can accept it, you may find that you become happier because you’re less fixated on it.
Lesson Eight: Affection
Unless you’re Sheldon from Big Bang Theory then affection is important in maintaining a healthy relationship. A relationship is about intimacy otherwise your just their roommate or best friend. Humans crave feeling wanted and needed. A cuddle is beneficial to your health and well-being. It release oxytocins which is a “feel-good”hormone, helps to release anxiety and stress. Of course it is also a sign of affection. Even a kiss on the head when you get home or before you go to sleep is affectionate. Holding hands in public or even falling asleep holding hands. Affection, affection, affection. Everyone needs it.
Lesson Nine: Don’t be a negative Nancy
It is okay to confine in your partner about a problem you are having or how you’re feeling. But never direct this negativity toward them. If you have a bad day, arrive home in a horrible mood and then take it out on your partner you will find an irrational argument. They weren’t the reason for you feeling that way. Their role is to listen and provide comfort to allow you to release the negativity. But they should never inherit negativity that they are not responsible for.
Lesson Ten: Distance and Time
No amount of distance or time should change the way you love or feel about someone. The test of time is a real test. If two people cannot both survive it, then the love was never real. Call me a hopeless romantic but the feeling of real love should be able to last a lifetime. Lust or infatuation cannot. Be very careful to identify which you are actually feeling. If a person is not able to wait for someone, even with the promise that they will be together in the future then they lied to themselves and to you about what they were really feeling.
Lesson Eleven: Love is not enough
The harshest lesson. We are always taught that love will conquer all but there are so many factors to its survival. All of the lesson above are a two-way street and if a couple are not on the same page then love can be very painful. They say that there is a thin line between love and hate. Love is only enough if you work on your relationship and want the same things. Different pathways, morals and values is a recipe for a inevitable break up. Remember love is a feeling, it is not the relationship itself. Don’t let this lesson discourage you though. Falling in love and being in a loving relationship is a wonderful thing. Beyond anything you can imagine. You just need two willing participants that are wanting to create and work on it.