At my age, I often find myself ruminating on past relationship experiences, and thinking “if I’d only known then what I know now.” Let’s face it, relationships are complicated. Very rarely do two people just collide in this universe and meld together perfectly. It’s a series of compromises, decisions, interactions, emotions, and chemistry that, if written out as a mathematical equation, would baffle Einstein. Anytime I have the opportunity to give someone advice, especially about relationships: I speak from experience, not popular opinion.
If you’re ready for a dose of reality that might not be what you want to hear – these are some realistic relationship tips.
1. Quit Texting So Damn Much
As amazing as text messages can be for communicating in a concise and efficient manner, they are just as amazing at being devoid of actual substance. Text messages don’t convey sarcasm, emotion, inflection, or mood quite like the human voice does. That’s what our voices are for. Hell, I know people who communicate almost exclusively through emoji’s these days. How are you supposed to actually COMMUNICATE with another human being if you don’t talk?
2. Sex is NOT a Currency
I’ve never understood the concept of “being cut off”. Doesn’t that technically mean we are both suffering? I mean, unless the sex is just horrible, in which case work on that first. By using sex as a form of manipulation you automatically cheapen an experience that is supposed to be a powerful connection between two people. Sex is not a tool to get whatever it is that you want.
3. Go Out, Do Stuff
A lot of times when people get into committed, long-term relationships that initial desire to experience life gets boiled down from a roving adventure to nights on a couch with take-out food. I’m not saying that we don’t all need our downtime, but in the beginnings of relationships it seems like everything is a production and once you have that person secured, you get lazy. It’s simple things like sitting on a patio in nice weather together instead of sitting on your couch and staring at a TV. Or a day trip to a nearby town you’ve never been to. Little things make the biggest difference. Also, remember: not all time together is created equally. Getting out of the house just to sit around and stare at your phones in a new and exotic location completely defeats the purpose.
4. “Me” Time
No matter what your circumstance with your partner, we all need time to ourselves. The key here isn’t just finding your alone time, it is respecting your partner’s alone time. I’ve seen so many relationships where one partner wants time to themselves, but when their significant other wants to be alone they freak out. Being suffocated isn’t fun, and neither is feeling abandoned.
5. NEVER Go to Bed Angry
This is a tough one. Every relationship is going to have it’s “disputes”, I get that. Sometimes you both just have to be bigger people and take a “time out” from whatever it is you are arguing about and sleep on it. There is nothing like saying, “Look, I love you – but we can continue this conversation in the morning if it is that important.” You’ll be amazed how often you just forget about whatever it was you were arguing about and move on.
6. Open Up Already…Seriously
A little mystique and intrigue in the beginning of the courtship process are one thing. Being married to someone who’s middle name you don’t know is kind of weird. There are those of us who have been hurt in the past and might be a little guarded in the beginning of a relationship, but at some point you have to open up. That’s what a relationship is all about – understanding and acceptance. Too often we worry about people seeing our “ugly side”. The truth is, the RIGHT person won’t care.