7 Ways You Can And Should Make This Relationship Different From The Ones Before It

by Anjali Sareen Nowakowski

We've all made our fair share of mistakes in relationships past. But when we find the person that we really want it to last with, it's natural to wonder how to make this relationship different from the last. I truly sucked at relationships before my husband. I didn't like them, I wasn't good at them, and I did everything I could to try to stay away from them.

All of that changed when I connected with him, though. Not only did I find certain things were just easier, I also realized that he was worth it for me to commit to making things different. So if you haven't had the best luck in relationships, but you really want to change that, here are a few things you can do to make this relationship different from all the rest:

1. Let Go Of The Jealousy

Jealousy is not a good look. On anyone. It wasn't cute when we were teenagers (it was just annoying), and it's definitely not cute as adults.

Too many people think that jealousy is the hallmark of "true love" and that if you aren't a little jealous, you don't really love your partner. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Jealousy is actually totally useless and generally bad for relationships. One of my favorite things about my marriage is that neither of us are really jealous individuals. Instead, we laugh at people hitting on the other. (I actually find it totally hilarious when women hit on my oh-so-hot hubby in front of me. He's not going anywhere, so I may as well enjoy the show!)

If you've accused partners of certain behaviors in the past or if you've been unreasonably jealous, now is the time to let all of that go. It's hard to make a relationship work if any kind of significant jealousy is in play.

2. Forgive Easily

We all know the stereotype of the girl who stays mad at her boyfriend for ages and makes him buy her flowers and do nice things until she arbitrarily gets over being mad. That girl is not a kind person. Don't be that person.

If your partner really does something to upset you, it's perfectly acceptable and healthy to talk to them about it. You should let them know you were hurt or angry, and find ways to not have it happen again.

It's not perfectly acceptable to intentionally stay mad at your partner, refuse to talk to them, make them grovel or bring you gifts, or otherwise be a jerk. I was always the girl that held grudges and never wanted to forgive people. I realized later on that it's because I was immature. (And I was also in the wrong relationships.) I worked on it, though, and am happy to be in a marriage where we can talk and forgive each other for the stupid things we do.

If you've seen relationships in the past where one partner treats the other this way, you may think it's OK. But it's not. It just makes your relationship an uneven playing field. So instead of holding grudges, hold love and forgive as easily as you can. This will make your relationship stronger and happier in the long run.

3. Make Space For Yourself

It's common to get into relationships and find ourselves totally consumed by our new partners. I get it. I married my husband within two months of meeting him, and I'm pretty obsessed with him in general.

That said, I also find ways to create intentional space for myself in my relationship, because I think it's one of the most important things for my mental health. I go running without him. I go to the gym without him. I have dates with my girl friends once or twice a week without him. These events give me the opportunity to miss him. And I also spend a lot of time alone, on purpose, because I like it.

Although it's easy to get caught up in the relationship "thing," if you've lost yourself in the past, now might be a good time to reassess and work on being happier with your alone time. Overtime, as you give your partner space as well, it'll make the two of you realize your bond is strong, and there's no need to worry. Then, you'll enjoy your time away from each other even more.

4. Praise, Admire, And Value Your Partner

Not a day goes by that I don't tell my husband he's the best husband in the world. I also thank him for every little thing he does for me and our fur babies, and I let him know that he's my hero every chance I get. I do all of these things because they are true to how I feel, but also because my husband deserves it all. He is the best partner I've ever had, and I want to make sure he knows I realize that.

The truth is, both partners should feel loved and valued at all times in the relationship. If you haven't been that good about praise and admiration in the past, work on it. It'll lend a new life and vigor to your relationship, and it'll make your partner feel extremely appreciated.

5. Communicate About Everything

There's no such thing as too much talking in a relationship. (OK, maybe there is. There's, like, too much talking about bodily fluids, talking during movies, etc. But you get my point!) Communication is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship, and if you've held back from talking with your past partners, now is the time to change all of that.

My husband and I talk a lot. Although he is the more natural communicator between the two of us, being with him has taught me to open up more and actually discuss when things are bothering me, instead of letting them bubble up on the inside.

You can't have a good relationship without good communication, so if you aren't working on it, now's the time to do so.

6. Seek Help

One of my favorite things to say is that none of us comes out of the womb prepared for a long-term relationship. It's not an innate skill we somehow possess. In fact, most of us suck at relationships, and it takes a lot of hard work to get relatively decent at them.

Because of that, one thing you can do to ensure this relationship is different than your last ones is to get help. I don't necessarily mean therapy. (Although, that is a great one, too!) Instead, what I mean is use your tribe. Ask parents, older friends, aunts, uncles, and anyone you think is in a successful relationship what makes them tick. We're creatures of community, but we don't utilize our own communities nearly enough.

And if therapy is your jam, go for that, too! It never hurts to examine why you are the way you are and figure out how to be better, which will, of course help your relationship out as well.

7. Commit

Finally, the best thing to do to make this relationship different than any ones before it is to commit — commit to making it good and commit to doing the work to get it there.

I wasn't exactly the "relationship type" before I got married. In fact, I really hated them, and because of this, whenever I'd find myself in one, I would be sort of half in and half out. I never fully committed to making any of them work. It was perfect, of course, because it gave me the room to find and end up with my husband. But even then, I had to decide to commit to the marriage and our relationship after I found him.

If you're like me, and you've never really been sure if relationships are for you or if someone is the right fit, now is the time to change all that. Going into your relationship, decide now that you want to work hard on building the best relationship you can. And you'll likely find that you will do just that.

We all make mistakes in relationships, but the important thing is that, often, those mistakes lead us to exactly where we're supposed to be. If you are dedicated to making this relationship different than the ones that came before it, follow the tips on this list, and you'll find your bliss in no time.

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