Learning the dos and don’ts of relationships can be a bumpy road.
It has been for me. There’s no clear-cut explanation for how to do things. Regardless of how many relationship, love and sex books there are out there, there’s no actual instruction manual and there's definitely no right answer.
Every experience for every individual, whether good or bad, is a lesson learned. With that being said, those lessons, and the morals of each great story, should be compiled into your memory bank.
They should all be experiences you look back on, learn from and use in order to work towards success in your future relationships. Here are some things I've learned along the way:
Really listen. Don’t just hear, listen. Don’t just wait for your chance to reply. Consume the other person’s words and process them. Understand them. It’s the key ingredient to communication.
Without that, there’s really no point in having a conversation, because without listening, you’re really only making it one-sided and it can be a little daunting to talk to yourself about relationship woes.
2. Pick your battles
Not every issue, should be a scene from "300." Some fights just aren't worth it. Know when to hold and when to fold. At the end of that battle, are you going to be closer to where you want to be, or further away?
Would ‘letting it go’ have really caused harm? If you can walk away from the issue and life still goes on, then chances are, it isn’t that deep. However, if the issue is detrimental to your relationship, or really stressful for you, then deal with it head on.
Evaluate every scenario and deal accordingly.
3. Keep things fresh.
Whether it’s in the bedroom, or the relationship in general. Remember why you first fell for that person? Find ways to rekindle those old feelings. Like the great philosopher of our time, Drake, says
"when’s the last time you did something for the first time?" Find something new and exciting to share that brings back the ‘fresh’ feeling you once had during that honeymoon phase.
4. Keep it real.
Don’t be someone you’re not to keep your significant other interested. Unless you’re an Oscar winning actor, chances are, it’s going to be hard to maintain the façade over time. Get to know each other, for real.
It’s better to know what you’re getting yourself into, and vice versa, as opposed to waking up one day and wondering who you’re with and how you got there, and then trying to accept them for who they are at that point.
Can you imagine feeling like you don't actually know the person you're with?
5. Learn chemistry
Initial attraction is of course a key ingredient in wanting to be with someone. How could you not want to jump your partner’s bones when you see them, right?
But, physical attraction cannot and should not be the only chemistry you share with your partner. Your minds, body and soul need to connect in order for the relationship to withstand the tests of time.
Learn about the chemistry you have with your partner in order to grow. Will your relationship withstand the aesthetics?
6. Avoid social media
Seriously. If I can advise people to do anything, it’s that. Social media has created distrust, insecurities, dishonesty, carelessness, insincerities and so many more issues amongst relationships.
If you can help it, avoid it. Agree to disagree. In other words, have enough faith in each other (ideally if you’re both honest and loyal individuals) to not have to creep on each other's social media.
The general public has become so accustomed to saying whatever they want without regret or hesitation through social media, and when it comes to your significant other, the only person we really hold accountable for things we see posted that we don’t like, is them.
So have some faith that they use their discretion when using social media, and keep off each other’s pages. Pretend it’s the 90s and it’s not even an option.
Scary right? Date the old school way. Simply ask that your partner respect you and your relationship and use social media responsibly.
7. Rely on each other
Probably one of the most important pieces of advice that I’ve learned to date is that when you have an issue in your relationship, turn to each other.
Be honest and open, and work through it as a team. You are in essence, each other’s teammates, and only if you work together will you succeed.
Bringing in outside opinions, while may seem helpful at the time, can only cloud your judgment. People who aren’t part of the relationship don’t know all the facts and aren't experiencing the emotions that you’re feeling, no matter how much you inform them of issues in the heat of the moment.
Additionally, when you pour out your emotions and feelings to others, you’re creating an impression of your significant other to them that is often times hard to repair.
Once the problem you have with your partner is over, you may have a hard time reversing those feelings you created.
Do your best to keep it to yourself and work together. Also, the emotions that you’re sharing with others should ideally be shared only with your partner.
They deserve to know how you’re feeling and what you’re going through more than anyone. If they don’t want to listen to you then perhaps it's not the best relationship for you.
8. Love yourself
No one else’s love can replace or replicate the love you must have for yourself. If you don’t love yourself, you’re going to have a hard time finding someone to love you the way you think you need them to.
It sounds so cliché but it’s true. In a relationship, you need to be confident and be able to trust your partner. You need to know what’s acceptable and what’s not.
And you need to know that without your partner, life can still go on. Someone you’re in a relationship with should only complement you, not complete you.
When you love yourself and know what’s great about you, you will be able to find someone that meets yours standards you set for yourself and who is able to appreciate how great you are.
When it all comes down to it, every relationship is different. We all have our own personal experiences we share with our significant other, but if you can stick to some of the advice above, then you likely will be on the right track to a budding romance, or maintaining the love you already have.
It’s really a matter of knowing who you are, what you want and learning who you're with, and working towards a middle ground together.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It