Most people want to keep relationships that last forever but they lose it while they are trying all their best to keep it. Sometimes, you need to be conscious of the fact that there are some hard truths you must accept to make your relationship last long. Here are a few:
1. Your partner is probably not your soul mate
I don’t believe in soul mates. The notion of two star-crossed lovers who are destined to be together forever is fanciful but statistically improbable.
Unless you’re either incredibly lucky or a character in a Richard Curtis film, what you will probably end up with is someone who ticks most of your boxes and who ‘gets’ you most of the time.
It’s not enough just to love someone – you have to work with them (and for them) as well.
2. The words ‘you’ve changed’ needn’t be negative
Look, you’ve both changed, haven’t you? The constant presence of another person – whether the impact of that presence is positive, negative, or both – will make different people of both of you.
This was always going to happen. Enjoy it. And if you don’t like the people you’ve become, you can fix that without having to say goodbye.
3. Love further down the line is very different
We’ve lost count of the number of people we’ve heard saying ‘Oh, it’s just not the same – he feels more like a brother to me now’.
Here’s the bottom line: to a certain extent, it does.
You can keep the fun, sexy part of your relationship alive with a little mutual effort, but you’re going to find it difficult to keep up the level of intensity you once had.
The mistake many couples make is thinking this is a bad thing. Sex works in peaks and troughs, and torrents and dry spells, but when it’s not there, you still have each other.
4. Don’t air your dirty laundry in public
Sounds obvious, this one. I’m not saying you should give the impression that everything is permanently rosy. People I’ve known who do that often turn out to be emotionally abusive. But there is a time and a place for airing grievances, and it is not on Facebook.
Subtle digs mentioning a joke you’ve shared together is one thing; posting inappropriate photos and detailing rows you’ve had – just before you continue them in the comments section – is not.
5. Always intend to say what you mean – and always expect your partner to do the opposite
Yes, this sounds a little harsh. But it works both ways, for both genders. There will be times when you’re both keeping yourself under wraps. Learning to read between the lines is essential – you and you alone are going to recognise those little signs that manifest when your partner is saying one thing when s/he’s quite clearly feeling something else.
And don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re perfect, because you won’t realise you’re doing it yourself until it’s too late.
Poor communication doesn’t destroy relationships immediately. It roughens the edges…and when it becomes blunt, the inevitable happens.
6. Compromise, but be true to who you are
There is a danger that some introvert-extrovert couples allow themselves to get partially swallowed up so that in a social situation the extrovert is the only one who talks – and then that bleeds into the other stuff you do.
If that’s where you are, be sure that your partner has made room for you and allowed you to be your own person.
A friend of mine told me a while back that sometimes the only reason a marriage appears rock solid is because one person had given up trying to chip the rock. Hmmm…do you agree with him?
7. Have the argument in your head
When I’m on the verge of shouting at my other half, I’ll take myself off to a quiet area and reconstruct the argument I was about to have with her in the privacy of my own brain.
These little internally realised tiffs invariably end with me making her cry, because none of us are at our most eloquent when we’re emotionally heightened. By the time I’ve worked out what was really bothering me, I’m no longer angry about it – and if things still need to be said, I can go back and have the conversation with her about it without things degenerating into a slanging match.
Just for the record, both of you – if it happened months ago and you didn’t bring it up at the time, think very, very hard before you bring it up now.
Let me take a coffee break here. Feel free to add hard truths that work for your relationship.