Dating is all well and good. However, there gets to a point where a relationship is going to reach the point of no return. You either have to get on the boat or let it float off into the distance. But you have to make sure that you’re ready to actually take the trip with the boat as well. There are a few things that many agree as essential to a long-term relationship. Without taking these qualities to heart, you might end up suffering heartbreak down the line instead.
This is perhaps the trait that causes the most trouble further down the line. We’re not talking about skipping the little white lies about how you love Italian food when you really hate it. It’s about having the courage to be honest about the important things. Gauging when it’s right to have the ‘future us’ conversations can be difficult. But you have to be honest about what you want from a relationship. You have to think about what’s most important to you and what you’re willing to compromise. Potential future children, prioritizing one career over another, choosing a place to live. These are all things you have to decide within yourself so you can give honest answers to your partner. Otherwise, the snags can seem unexpected and cause a lot of trouble in the relationship.
Just as important as saying your piece is paying attention when they’re saying theirs. Listening and watching their behaviours is going to be a great help later in the relationship. For one, people like to be appreciated when the nice little gestures they make are noticed. But failing to really listen to them makes it clear that you’re only in this relationship for yourself, not for the both of you. But the truth is that many of us stay blind to differences that could later become rifts simply by not giving our partner the full attention the relationship deserves.
The two points above are the keys to successful communication in a relationship. That’s the most important thing and it’s going to help avoid some arguments. But those arguments are going to happen in most relationships. They’re also likely going to get quite heated at some point. This is when we can really sabotage a relationship. That’s why we need to spend time being mindful and paying attention to our behaviour. With mindfulness, we can identify the steps that lead to something particularly hurtful that we otherwise wouldn’t want to do.
As relationships go on for a while, it’s very common that you might experience them cooling down a little bit. It’s a natural part of the lifecycle of a relationship. As you get to know someone, they become just a little less exciting and you get used to not a new toy in your life but a real relationship. But that doesn’t mean that warmth, affection, or sex should cool off. Both parties should always be making some effort to keep that warmth in check. Do things for one another. Find opportunities for new dates. Surprise them once in awhile. Of course, this warmth has to be built mutually. If one person is doing all the work, then resentment will build.
As stated above, arguments are going to pop up at some point. When it’s a disagreement that seems impassable, then fairness should be what you seek to achieve above all else. Even if a long-term relationship ends, you can still make sure that both parties see a fair deal when it comes to dealing with the nitty-gritty of which friends are kept by who, how financial and household responsibilities are dealt with and so on. Not how you can “win” either in a relationship or at the end of it. Reaching that stage is crucial. Otherwise, the wounds of a relationship can last much longer than they should.
Not every major disagreement has to be the catalyst of a breakup, however. You have to be willing to work on a relationship even in its darkest days. This means learning how to take a wound when a partner does something you otherwise can’t accept. It means learning how to forgive. It means knowing when to reach out to help to try and repair a relationship. Many couples nowadays lack that resilience. It’s hard to build, but it’s essential if you want a relationship to truly be able to weather any storm. Those that do tend to come out stronger.
There’s no real guide to win at long-term relationships. They all have their own twists and turns. The best you can do is to embody the traits above and be the best partner you can be. To be honest not just to your partner but to yourself and to always be the best you. Not all are built to last, but you can make sure you’re at least ready to go the distance.
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