Monday, October 24, 2011

How to Make Your Relationships Work

All of us have hundreds, if not thousands of relationships in our lives. They are one of the most complicated facets of life, and perhaps none are as important as the relationship that we build with a significant other. If you tend to have relationships that don’t work out, or you’re entering a new one and don’t know what to expect, keep these basic tips in mind.

Love yourself. The love your boyfriend or girlfriend gives you will never be a substitute for your own self-esteem. Love yourself, and others will find it easy to love you, too. Don’t undermine yourself or be overly critical. Being relaxed and fun will make both you and your partner the happiest you can be.
Trust your partner. A lack of trust will doom any and every relationship. Be on the lookout for controlling behavior, and learn to stop it before it starts. If something is bothering you, you need to be able to talk to your lover about it rather than let it eat away at you. Just don’t assume the worst every time you aren’t certain what is going on, and you’ll find that it probably was never the case anyway.

Think like a couple. If you and your significant other really want to spend the rest of your lives together, you need to be an effective team. Don’t be selfish, but also don’t make yourself miserable so that your lover will be happy. The two of you are in this together! Learn to think in ways that benefit you as a couple, rather than just one of you individually.

Listen always. Be open to what your partner says to you, even if it’s critical and even if you disagree initially. Try to gain flexibility and perspective in your life. There’s a difference between a knee-jerk response and a well-thought-out position, and your relationships will improve the more open you are!
Give them space. If your boyfriend or girlfriend likes to do something that you don’t enjoy, just spend that time away from them working on your own hobby. Smothering your partner with your presence will only drive them further away from you. Even though you’re in love, you can lead separate, adult lives.
Communicate! We’ve all heard this a million times from every piece of dating advice ever given, but the reason it’s still said so often is because it doesn’t always sink in. The crucial role that open communication plays in a relationship cannot possibly be overstated. Always be honest, even if the implications are painful. Your life will ultimately be happier because of it.
Be proactive. If your relationship has issues, the last thing you want to do is sit around and wait for somebody else to solve them. If you feel strongly that it is mostly your partner’s fault, then that is a problem in and of itself. If you want your partner to express affection to you, go and express affection to them first. The power is always in your hands to do something meaningful.