On Real-Life Relationships: How To Keep Your Relationship Alive And Thriving

In this article I want to emphasize how important it is for men and women to have a realistic expectations about their relationships. The sooner we come to realize that there aren’t Cinderellas and princes on white horses in real life, the higher our chances are to have healthier and long-lasting relationships with the right partners.

Having a calm, full, and balanced life with the right person beside him or her seems to be the ultimate goal of every one of us. More importantly, this is something money can’t buy, so we’ve got to figure out how to get there by means of effective communication and mutual understanding.   

It’s all about compromises

If you meet a happy elderly couple on the street or in the park on a sunny day, stop and ask them about the secret to their long-lasting marriage. I bet “compromise” will be one of the first words you are going to hear.

Let us first draw a clear line between healthy and unhealthy compromises. A healthy compromise is, for example, if you agree to let him complete his MA abroad first, before you announce your engagement. That way you are sacrificing your short-term emotional comfort and happiness in the name of your future well-being as a couple.

Every relationship has its ups and downs, but both of you should be ready to accept temporary periods of separation in return for a greater future gain for both of you.

By contrast, an unhealthy compromise is when you  sacrifice your personal comfort, your professional development, or your moral views, so as to please your partner. If you want your relationship to work through whatever hardships life may throw at it, you’ve got to always speak up when you feel the person beside you asks you to make an unhealthy compromise.

Neither too mouthy, nor too shy. The power of effective communication

Many girls in their late teens or early twenties tend to be complete conflict avoiders in their relationships, as they believe they should never quarrel with their guys. Thus, they seldom have the courage to defend themselves, even if they can see they’ve been wronged.

This isn’t good for them, because the lingering resentment that such situations leave in them is very likely to continue to mar their relationship in the future. Few things are more dangerous for a relationship than the buildup of negative emotions and feelings in one of the partners. Mounting inward pressures usually result in violent outburst of negative emotions, or even tragic crimes of passion.

Going to the other extreme is not good either. It is certainly OK to be open and honest about all things that seem to be worrying you in your relationship. However,  being too outspoken and having your voice heard at all costs can put a lot of strain on your partner. Just as in the situation discussed above, this buildup of strain can at some point get too much for him to handle, and he may just decide that enough is enough.

Instead of being too outspoken or too shy, you’ve got to aim for the golden mean and try to get a balanced and effective communication with your partner. In her article on Effective Couples Communication, Suzanne Degges-White, PhD, highlights the give-and-take communication as the key to a working relationship.

If you want your relationship to work, try not to stake claims and stomp your little feet on the ground every time you want to get things your way. Such behavior is counterproductive and even childish. It is wiser and far more productive to listen to what he’s got to say on the matter, and try to talk things through.

Always bring good vibrations into your relationship

Important and exciting as your relationship is to you, it isn’t always perfect. It’s also important to understand that you and your partner will not always be on the same page. You have two unique mindsets that make you the people you are.

A good, working relationship isn’t about trying to change the mindset of the person beside you. It’s about two separate minds that complement each other. Rather than focusing on what energy your partner is bringing into the relationship, focus on your own inner game. Your emotional balance and self-confidence will make the person by your side relaxed and more confident.

I am not saying that you’ve got to acquire the inner peace of the current Dalai Lama. Just try to count to ten and take a deep breath the next time you get mad at your guy. Even if he’s clearly wrong, shouting and throwing stuff at him won’t get you anywhere.

A working relationship requires the efforts of both of you

As soon as you get the feeling that your guy isn’t contributing enough to your relationship, you’ve got to put the issue on the table and engage him an an open discussion, otherwise negative emotions are sure to build up.

However, even if both of you try to regularly fuel your relationship with positive vibrations and good energy, you may eventually get tired of it all and break up. What it is, then, that has kept the elderly couple I mentioned above together for so long?

The secret is in the common goals they’ve had and they’ve achieved together. For a relationship to work well, both participants in it should motivate each other to achieve their individual goals. At the same time, they should set common goals for them to achieve as a couple. This mutual effort strengthens their bond and makes their relationship impervious to negative influences from the outside.

Learn to trust your partner

Towards the end of this article I want to emphasize how important it is to fully trust the person beside you. No relationship will work, if one of the partners enters it full of suspicion and distrust for the other.

In his publication on healthy, long-lasting relationships, Gleb Tsipursky PhD, writes that it is very important to show openness to your partner early on, and at the same time evaluate his or her trustworthiness. More than anything else, building trust is a long process that requires the active participation of both of you.

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