There are some things that will never go out of style – red lipstick, blazers, the Beatles, and of course, relationship advice. Most long term relationships experience their share of highs and lows, and what allows them to survive everyday challenges is the hard work and dedication put in by both parties. While the idea of the “perfect relationship” may vary from person to person, here are 25 timeless tips that are guaranteed to assist you in having a healthier and happier relationship.
Don’t set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.
You should never sacrifice your own well being or happiness for the sake of someone else’s. It’s nice to be a provider in a relationship, but there is only so much you can give. If your partner asks things of you that make you feel uncomfortable, simply refuse. You have the right to say no and just because you’re not fulfilling their every need doesn’t mean they will stop loving you… and if they do, it was never meant to be.
You can gauge a person’s love for you by how they treat you when they’re upset.
We all have our breaking points and say things we don’t necessarily mean when we’re upset, but if your lover becomes abusive, destructive, or over-the-top nasty any time you have a tiff then they are not the person for you. It can be hard to get out of these types of relationships, especially if your partner is otherwise a good person. However, it’s likely that this type of disrespectful behaviour will only get worse with time.
A big part of growing, both as a person and as one half of a partnership, is being able to make mistakes. If every small mistake is met by your partner with anger or distrust, there’s a problem. You both have to be able to trust and forgive each other’s errors so you can move forward together. Of course, there are many different kinds of mistakes, some more detrimental than others. Be sure to choose your battles, forgive the minor blunders, and handle the more harmful mistakes appropriately. It’s okay to let your partner know they were wrong, but don’t hold on to their mess ups. No one is perfect, and there will come a time that you’ll slip up and need forgiveness.
Fight the problem, not the person.
No one likes arguing with the person they love, and in relationships it can be especially hard to keep personal jabs out of the brawl. An easy way to deal with this is by focusing on the issue at hand, and not on your partner’s shortcomings as you see them in the moment. Isolate the problem, bring it to the spotlight, and remove yourself and your partner from the picture. By doing this you’ll inflict less emotional harm and be able to resolve the problem quicker.
If you feel lonely, you’re better off being alone.
As the late, great Robin Williams once said, “I used to think that the worse thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not. The worse thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel alone.” If you’re feeling alone in your relationship, it’s best to end it. Loneliness creates emotional anguish and heartache that can lead to depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. A partner who makes you feel this way is not worth sticking around for.
Know when to walk away.
There’s a point at which you cannot and should not continue to wait for things to get better, nor should you give your partner more chances than they deserve. It’s true that all relationships experience some turmoil, but if your partner is constantly bringing out the worst in you or vice versa, then it’s time to walk away. Don’t feel obligated to stay with someone just because you’ve been together for a long time. If the relationship has run its course and the best is behind you, then let it go.
Keep having sex.
Sex isn’t just about getting frisky between the sheets. It’s good for your body, mind, and soul. Sex can make couples feel closer, more deeply connected, and can even rehash early feelings of passion. At no point in your relationship should you stop having sex, and it’s important to know your partner’s sexual desires. Always be honest when talking about what turns you on and never stop working to seduce each other. [RELATED: 3 Ways to Build a Deeper Bond with Your Partner]
Keep romance and intimacy alive.
After the honeymoon phase fizzles out it’s easy to let the passion fade. To ensure that your relationship lasts, keep the flame alive with affection and romantic gestures. You shouldn’t need an excuse to hold your lover’s hand, send them flowers, or stash a love note in their lunch bag. These little efforts may not seem revolutionary, but they’ll have a major impact on your relationship and show your partner that you still think about them all the time.
Treat your partner how you want to be treated.
The golden rule for any sort of relationship is that you should expect to get what you give. In order to be treated with love, loyalty, respect, and trust, you must also treat your partner in the same way and to the same degree. It’s easy to get caught up in daily tasks and forget to treat our partners like the important people they are. To avoid taking your partner for granted, make a point to be present in the time you spend together, and actively practice kindness, thoughtfulness, and respect every day.
Honesty is the best policy.
To grow a strong, healthy relationship both partners must be upfront and honest with one another. This means it’s important to share how you feel, your likes, dislikes, expectations, and emotional triggers with your partner. There should never be secrets or withheld information between a couple, and even when the truth hurts, it’s better to let it out than bottle it up.
Find common interests, but keep your own too.
Sharing common interests with your partner is a great way to create a lifetime of happiness and fun. Doing things you both enjoy together gives you the opportunity to become closer while spending quality time together. Finding common interests can be a challenge, but the options are limitless. Do remember to keep your own individual interests though. You don’t want to lose your own identity to your identity as one half of a couple.
Remember the little things.
How often do you look back on a memory that seemed insignificant at the time, only to realize later that it meant the world to you? The beginning of a relationship is built on a series of events and little moments – shared jokes, funny stories, romantic and passionate encounters – that eventually win you over. To keep your spark alive and avoid this shared passion from diminishing, it’s important for you and your partner to keep doing and remembering the little things. Just think, if they wooed you then, they should still be able to woo you now.
Don’t stay with someone who agonizes or belittles you.
If your partner is rude, belittling, or passive-aggressive toward you, don’t be afraid to take a stand and end the relationship. Love is about finding a companion that brings out the best in you, and if your partner is constantly putting you down and making you mentally and emotionally distraught, then there’s no room for you to happily grow together. The sooner you get away from this type of person, the better.
The grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it.
Not comparing your relationship to other relationships can be tough, especially if other couples seem to be happier and more in love than you and your partner. Remember that you get what you give, and most times you can improve your relationship by simply putting in a greater effort. Also be aware that you’ll never know what goes on behind other couples’ closed doors, so don’t focus on how someone else seems to be happier; focus on making your relationship a better one.
Loose lips sink ships.
To have a healthy relationship, you and your partner must respect one another and the love you share. If either of you run to your friends or relatives to gossip when there’s a problem, then someone is going to end up hurt. Having an outlet for your emotions is one thing, and it’s certainly important to have someone to talk to in difficult times, but betraying your partner by sharing private information or placing unjust blame is another. Be careful with your words; even the best intentions can be misconstrued.
Be the first to apologize after a fight.
It takes a big person to be the first to apologize. Saying sorry doesn’t mean you’re admitting defeat, but rather that you’re willing and ready to smooth things over with your partner. Being the one that makes it easy for you both to move past your disagreements shows benevolence, an admirable trait to possess. At times it may be tough to step up to the plate, but at the end of the day it’s better to be happy than to be right.
If you love the memories more than the relationship, then it’s time to move on.
Your past is no reason to be present in your relationship. If you’re holding on to your love solely for the memories you and your partner once created and share, then it’s time to move on. Looking back on the past can be heartwarming, but if your relationship has been at a standstill since those good ol’ days, then you owe it to yourself to start living in the present.
Don’t go to bed angry.
Turning out the lights before your argument is resolved is a recipe for disaster. If you go to bed after an argument, it’s likely that you’ll lay there for hours and lose sleep while overthinking the disagreement. Come morning you’ll feel tired and agitated – the perfect scenario for bickering. Instead, work out your problems before you go to bed. Not only will you sleep well, you will alleviate yourselves from waking up angry and with a fight you have to resolve.
Trust your gut.
It could be a peculiar urge, a funny tingle, or a small voice inside your head, but if your gut says that something isn’t right, the chances are something isn’t right. This may not always be the case and it’s important not to overreact to any suspicion you may have without doing due diligence. Instead, acknowledge what your gut is telling you and dig deeper. Humans have incredible intuition when it comes to many things in life, and love – or the lack of it – is one of them.
You can’t love someone until you first love yourself.
Before you fall in love with someone else, it’s important that you first fall in love with yourself. This thought has often been disputed, but the point is that for a fulfilling, loving relationship to exist, you must first love, respect, and fulfil yourself. This means acknowledging your beliefs and desires, accepting your flaws, and embracing your story. Once you learn to love yourself, your ability to love others will grow immensely.
Don’t assume what your partner wants.
The old saying goes that “when you assume things you make an ass-out-of-u-and-me”. It’s true. Assuming that you and your partner know each other’s wants and needs is a huge waste of time that will likely result in disappointment. Rather than hoping that your partner is a mind reader, be vocal about your expectations and encourage your partner to do the same. Communication is key.
Be the man or woman you would want your child to date.
Whether you already have kids or not, using this analogy will help you become the best partner you can be. Parents always want what’s best for their child; someone who loves and respects them, is loyal, committed, and trustworthy. Envision the kind of partner that you would approve of your child bringing home to meet you, and then become that person.
Before you marry your partner, travel with them.
You think you know someone, but it’s amazing all the small things that surface when you travel together. If you and your partner are considering marriage, first take a trip together. Go someplace neither of you have ever been before and explore the unknown side-by-side. Doing this will give you both a taste of what it’ll be like to depend on one another. Marriage is a journey, so why not have a trial run?
True love accepts you for you.
You should never be in a relationship that makes you feel unworthy or like you need to change something about yourself. The right partner should make you feel good and accept all the little quirks that make you who you are. If you feel like you’re constantly on the chopping block or being criticized for just being you, then talk to your partner about how their words hurt. If nothing changes, then say “goodbye!”.
It takes two happy individuals to make a happy relationship.
It takes two to tango, and it most definitely takes two to create a lasting, loving relationship. Relationships are about companionship and require devotion from both partners. If one person is putting all of their love and energy into building a relationship while the other stands idly by, the relationship will quickly crumble. Having your partner at once be your teammate and your biggest fan is the key to a happy and healthy relationship.