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Thoughts on Relationships


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'Ello,

 

I just had a nice conversation with a relative about the future (which includes jobs, family, and relationships, the topic of this thread.

 

I generally refer to romantic relationships. It's a nice concept - meeting and falling for the one you want to spend the rest of your life with. It doesn't always work out that way, and conflict trods all over that path. Or so I hear, I'm extremely inexperienced with this sort of thing which is why I come to you. This is a comfortable (mostly) community for me to come to for help and advice, or motivation/inspiration. I'm not in a relationship, if you wondered, nor have I been in a serious one. I just wonder what it takes to help make a relationship work, and what sort of things get in the way. That smitten feeling one gets in a relationship seems to disappear after a certain point, and I don't think it should. But people get comfortable around each other and other things get in the way of that lust. A lot of you are married, or in different stages of relationships, searching for someone, not interested at all, or younger and not in the mindset for a serious relationship.

 

Anything you would like to add, please do (constructive, I hope - we must practice!). Hope you all are well and enjoyed your weekend as best you could,

 

Max

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Listen to (not just hear) your partner.

Make a point to say things in a way that doesn't intentionally upset your partner. (ie: don't be spiteful when you're hurt)

Apologize and explain to your partner what you were feeling when you said things to intentionally upset them.

Express your love and appreciation every day.

Show physical love (not just sex) every day, like holding hands, hugging, any kind of comforting touch

Be clear about your own needs and desires and don't sacrifice what's important to you to make a relationship work. You don't want to regret your loss and blame your partner. Some people are incompatible in a given time, place, set of circumstances.

There's a start. I'll give someone else a turn to chime in.

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There are three keystones to a successful relationship: Love, lust, and like.

 

Love is not just about the romantic, you should love your family but not want to sleep with them, after all. Love comes in lots of different flavours. You have yourself pointed out that as relationships mature, that initial feeling of giddy love tends to drift away. That isn't a bad thing though, it just shows your relationship is maturing. It's pretty easy to fall in love with someone, and not realize until after that giddy feeling fades away that you probably won't stay together. More importantly, don't be surprised if one of you finds the giddyness wearing off faster than the other; again, that's fairly normal and not an indication that the relationship is doomed.

 

Like is, to me, the most important of all. Its about friendship, and getting on together in ways other than just the romantic. Having a lot of things that you both like to do will (usually) help you to find ways to spend time together, and help you get to know each other. I have been in many, many relationships, none shorter than three months, and only once have I come out of a relationship not staying friends with the other person (I will talk about that shortly). Now I am married, and my wife and I, we have an excellent relationship, because it is built firstly on friendship.

 

Now lust; Lust is one of those things people think of as immature in views of relationships. However, it is actually an important component of a healthy romantic relationship. That isn't to say that if you don't have libidoes so hyper active you want to go at it every week your not in a healthy relationship. Indeed, there is nothing wrong with going months at a time without that sort of intimacy, if that is where both of you are comfortable. It is however important that you can feel comfortable thinking of each other sexually. If not, then perhaps it would be best to stay just as really good friends.

Additionally, its also a good idea to try and find someone with a fairly similar libido to yourself. Not necessarily exactly the same of course, there is nothing wrong with variety, however if one of you is constantly frustrated, or worse - feeling pressured, then the relationship is going to have a lot more stress than it needs, and possibly even end up very unhealthy for both of you.

 

Now, to talk a little about one of my own personal experiences...

The one time I came out of a relationship not still friends with my partner, was my fault. I had feelings for a girl, but she herself didn't reciprocate. However, she let me know that Her friend had feelings for me. As her friend was attractive and interesting, I went along with it and we started dating. However, because I did not have the same sort of feelings for her that she had for me, she became very frustrated with my detachment and seeming lack of interest (not for want of trying, but you can't force feelings). In the end, she became bitter and we broke it off, but because I had gone along with it when I had no feelings for her I had been leading her on. Certainly, I had hoped I would develop feelings for her, and I liked her, but what she felt and what I felt did not match up.

 

On to other things!

 

One piece of advice I will have for you if you do find yourself in a longterm, high commitment relationship: If you have a fight, sort it out sooner rather than later. If possible, do so same day. The longer you leave an argument, the more damage it does.

If you find yourself having a hard time cooling off, try writing out your side of the argument. Then, right their side as well as you can. Try to understand both sides, then go and Ask them to tell you your side. See if you have understood. If you need to, go back and write out your side of the argument again, keeping a cool head, and show it to them, preferably with you there in person so they can ask questions.

Its easy to get carried away when you think the other person isn't listening, and when you get carried away its even easier to stop listening yourself. When its written down, its often far easier to understand each other.

 

Last of all, never be afraid to say sorry, but more important than that, if They say sorry, think about what they are apologizeing for, and what made them come to the decision they needed to apologize. Then, offer them an apology in turn for your own part in it, even it it's as simple as "sorry for upsetting you". Being able to apologize like that shows you have thought about each other, not just yourselves, and if you get in the habit of it you will likely find that you have a lot fewer, and a lot shorter, arguments.

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