We spend our time looking for a life partner and along the way we make many mistakes. From diving in head first with the wrong person and planning our future in a week, to then rejecting the next one who treats us like royalty. Couples can break up after a month, a year, ten years or even 50 years! So…how do you know if you are with the right person and how can you make your relationship last?
Ultimately, it comes down to compatibility and understanding.
There is always that ‘perfect couple’ who people think will never ever split up. I guarantee you that they still have their dramas behind closed doors. The difference is, they care enough about each other and their relationship to not LET anyone else get involved… in any aspect of it. We all need to vent about our partners now and again, however, a social media rant or telling everyone you see about your problems will only escalate your drama. If you need to speak to someone other than your partner about your relationship, then ensure it is someone you trust. So that is rule number one…Keep your relationship drama between you and your partner at all times…where possible. The more people that know your business the more your problems are talked about and remain unresolved.
The most unstable circumstances in a relationship usually come from someone making a huge mistake. Cheating, lying and manipulation make for painful wounds that can last a lifetime. It is key that you either forgive, forget or walk away. We always look for that in-between place that allows us to move on from the relationship and yet keep one foot on it just in case. That place does not exist. What does exist is resentment, suspicion, anxiety and heartache. It may take you months to decide the next step but even so, take your time to think. Was the mistake so big you have to walk away? Or do you truly believe they love you and will do better to keep you in their lives? Those questions can only be answered by you.
Having a partner, especially one you live with, means you have to make an EFFORT to put yourself in their shoes from time to time. If you are the dominant one in the relationship, you may drown out your partners voice by either reacting too quickly and aggressively, or by dismissing their concerns as unwarranted. This will lead to the relationship breaking down. It has to be a partnership where you listen to each other, even if you really do not want to hear it. And should you reach an impasse, efforts should be made to compromise, negotiate and give in. This does take practice but the more you do it the more structure you create to resolve problems quickly and efficiently. If you cannot have a discussion without screaming at each other, then you need to go back to basics and figure out how your relationship escalated in this negative way.
Once you have reached the place where dramas can be contained and resolved, it is time to start anticipating each other’s needs. Each person has life pressures that they have to manage both together as a couple and as individuals. These stresses can be work, money, time management, health problems and everything else in-between. Showing affection for your partner by making their coffee in a morning, or surprising them with a gift will boost their mood and make them feel loved. A common stress and a large contributor to relationships breaking down, are household chores. After working your shift, you may want to lay your head or eat some grub and someone is telling you, in a stressed tone, that you need to wash up, get the kids, hoover the house and blah blah blah. The reality is, you are both responsible for the life you are building together. Whether you have to take it in turns or make a rota, you should have processes (yes processes!) in place to manage your lives effectively for the sake of each other’s well being.
A crucial aspect of having a healthy relationship is letting each other be an individual. It is unhealthy to be with the same person 24/7 and you should spend some of your time honing your sense of self. This may be a sport you do once a week, catching up with your friends or just having a couple of hours alone to reflect on life. This will give you something fresh to talk about and it will help you grow, both individually and together. At the same time, you need to remain on the same page in relation to joint decisions such as marriage, children and finances.
Lastly, have fun! Getting stuck in a rut is completely normal but if you choose to stay in the rut, more problems will surface down the line. Someone will eventually get bored and start to question exactly why they are in a relationship that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Life is for living, so if you want to stay with your partner for the rest of your life, you have to try new things and push yourselves out of your comfort zones. Make couple goals, plan holidays, go camping and dance and sing together in your living room!
So there you have it. Go forth, be happy, be open and MAKE AN EFFORT for each other.