This is for those of you out there in long term or serious relationships. Unlike a lot of the subjects discussed in my previous posts, the following advice was offered to me, I just chose not to follow it. Two and a half years into my relationship, I’m finally starting to listen to what I’ve been told, and I feel a lot happier because of it.
- Do exciting things. If you’re really serious about each other, you’ve got decades to sit and watch TV together.
- Try to be independent – codependency can be so damaging. You may want to spend every second with your significant other (believe me when I say I understand how that feels), but if you don’t make time for your friends, it’s unlikely to end well.
- Don’t play mind games, just be honest, always. Playing the guilt card is mean and doesn’t inspire trust.
- Don’t let your other responsibilities slide because of your relationship.
- Don’t let your happiness depend soley on your partner. Nothing is certain in life, so relying on someone else to make you happy is pretty risky. Whether it is planned or unexpected, change is a huge part of life for most adults so being flexible about your source of happiness is important.
- Manage expectations. I made some fairly concrete plans with my partner fairly early on, and in hindsight, we would have saved ourselves a lot of heart ache if we had been a little more realistic and flexible about our expectations.
- Try not to avoid conflict. Healthy debate is a good thing; it’ll stop you from becoming the same person with the same opinions, and burying issues for fear of causing offense only leads to resentment in the long term.
- Fight fairly, be kind and forgive. Sadly this is the only point that came naturally, but I believe it’s such an important one for maintaining a healthy long term relationship.
Since accepting this advice, I feel a lot more secure in my relationship. My partner and I have actually just moved into a phase of our lives which means we have to deal with living hours apart – a concept that would have devastated us a year ago. I find it extremely encouraging that we’ve been able to grow and mature in this respect, and I hope you find this anecdote reassuring.