Relationships That Work

Relationships, new or old, are never easy, but these five tips can help keep you on the right track for a satisfying love life. So whether you’re in the market, on the market or happily paired off with the person for you, learn to incorporate these handy hints into your day to day and you’ll reap the rewards in romance!

Love yourself
If you can’t recognize how loveable you are, it will be difficult for you to respect anyone who loves you. Confidence, which only truly occurs when we love and accept ourselves, has an uncanny effect on how attractive we are, how satisfied we can be, and how fully we can love others. It can also ensure that we expect and receive the treatment we deserve.

Communicate, communicate, communicate
Yes, do it as early, honestly and often as possible – even when you don’t want to. You’ve heard it before because it’s true. Communication is the fertile soil in which a relationship grows. You may have the budding beginnings of a garden, but if communication falters, the relationship will wither long before it reaches maturity.

Even in the early stages of love, when you want your new partner to believe only the best about you and no crime they commit is unforgivable; make an effort to be open and honest. If you hide parts of yourself, how will you feel when you grow closer and they still don’t really know who you are? And if, in the early throes of infatuation, you tell them an offense doesn’t bother you, they’ll be confused when you are hurt or angered by the same action later. No one wants to make a mountain out of a little dry soil, so it’s easy to be tempted to pretend all is well when we’re offended. Being honest is not the same as being over-dramatic. If you can’t truly let it go – even if it seems trivial – it’s worth communicating.

These things have a way of sprouting up later, when they’re much more difficult to manage. That’s not to say that all necessary communication is negative. Don’t hold back in telling your partner (whether a new beau or long-time liaison) what it is about them that you find enchanting, charming or admirable. And, once you’ve established trust, be courageous in explaining your own vulnerabilities. Exposing ourselves so openly can be really intimidating. If you’re hoping for a union that will thrive past its adolescence, however, this kind of honesty is vital. You will probably find that your courage and sincerity elicit similar honesty, as well as a deeper sense of trust and intimacy, from your partner.

Sweat the small stuff
Gestures, big and small, are essential to keeping the magic alive. Try leaving a gift in their car or under a pillow, or promise a half-hour unreciprocated massage after a stressful day. Even seemingly trivial gestures (a compliment, a hand squeeze, an unprompted smile) have a tendency to become fewer and further between as relationships progress. Taking the time for simple reminders that your partner is special and appreciated can be a major investment in your future happiness.

When to say you’re sorry
Don’t apologize when you’re not sorry. Be sorry when you apologize. One person in a relationship should never always be wrong or always be right. Conceding an argument for the sake of resolution or because you don’t want your partner to be angry is a form of dishonesty. It also may lead to you feeling subordinate in the relationship or to them feeling that they can take advantage of your accommodating nature.

Partnerships that work tend to be those in which both partners are equal and are able to argue in an honest and non-antagonistic manner. By the same token, when you believe you really are in the wrong, apologize sincerely and without resentment. Try to specify exactly what it is you regret, so that your partner knows you understand what it was that was hurtful and there is no miscommunication about what sort of responsibility you are accepting.

Be tolerant
Your partner’s flaws and irritating idiosyncrasies are most likely the flip side of the qualities you love about them. They’re rash decisions and public antics may drive you crazy, but didn’t you fall for their spontaneity and sense of humor? If that isn’t enough to help you treasure their infuriating housekeeping habits, think about a few of your own less endearing quirks. Then remind yourself that your partner loves and accepts you in spite of them, maybe even because of them. You may find yourself more eager to give them that same gratifying sense of safety and acceptance.

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