And why don’t they teach us really important things in school? Logarithms, formulas and the Pythagorean theorem are all great, of course. But knowing how to handle legs and hypotenuses and knowing the dates of birth of long-dead individuals is unlikely to help you build a healthy relationship with a partner. So we have to fill bumps and learn from our own mistakes. Long, painful, energy-consuming. So what to do?
Stop! Nobody forbids you to learn from the mistakes of others and listen to the advice of knowledgeable people. Speaking of people in the know…
Allison Cohen is a licensed marriage and family therapist based in California. She holds a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University and has over 12 years of experience enabling individuals and couples to achieve their best.
She compiled a list of 13 actionable tips that will help you build strong and healthy partnerships.
Get out the pens and double leaflets, kids!
Secrets of building the perfect relationship
Like the first time
Months and years fly by. You get used to each other and start to get lazy little by little. I no longer want to preen and put myself in the best light. What for? He/she already knows everything about me. Trying to surprise and impress your partner? Somehow I don’t want to. It is better to turn on the series and stay at home.
The reserves of patience, understanding and gentleness are also depleted. Sometimes very fast. You do not understand why your relationship is not the same as before.
And the point is that you just stopped trying to do something. For your partner, for your relationship, and even for yourself.
Make a list of everything that you have safely given up on – romantic trips on the weekends, cute traditions like confession notes, the desire to dress nicely even at home, the habit of arranging unusual dates, etc. Made up? Re-read. And immediately begin to carry out point by point.
For some reason, it seems to us that long-term relationships turn our partners into psychics who can read minds: “I won’t say what I want! Is it really that hard to guess?”
What do we end up with? Exaggerated expectations, the collapse of illusions and a pile of unnecessary grievances.
Learn to talk about your desires. Without claims, ultimatums and reproaches. Talk about everything that you would like to receive from your partner – whether it’s a restaurant for the evening or some kind of sexual desire.
Study your partner
How well do you know the person next to you? And do you want to try to find out?
Do you consider yourself an expert in everything that concerns your partner? We do not want to upset you, but most likely you are mistaken. We so love to think out their thoughts for others, make wishes for them and analyze the motives of their actions, that we often make big mistakes about the closest people.
You can just have a heart to heart talk or play a game like 36 questions. The main thing is to be prepared for the fact that a partner can open up to you from a new side.
“How are you?”
We hear this question so often that we have forgotten how to answer it sincerely. We are asked about this by friends, relatives, colleagues and people who, in general, do not care about our “business”.
Such formulaic questions lead to the same formulaic answers. Such a nightly exchange of pleasantries is unlikely to strengthen the bond between you.
If it works in your pair – okay, let’s move on. But if you see that this phrase does not cause much enthusiasm, try asking your partner a more original question. For example:
- “Well, what crazy thing happened to you today?”
- “How many times did you smile today?”
- “On a scale of one to ten, how difficult was today?”
When your partner is talking, listen to him while looking into his eyes. Take a break from your business, go up to him and hug him. You can reply to messages later. And a burnt scrambled egg is not so scary.
Tradition for two
Did you have sweet traditions and rituals that you safely forgot about, getting bogged down in your problems and worries? Urgently revive the romantic routine! Right here today.
And if you have never had any habits and rituals, it’s time to come up with them. For example, once a week you go to the park for a walk. Or go to your favorite cafe. Or once a month you take time off from work, turn off social networks and arrange a date for yourself – always only the two of you and outside the apartment.
What turns you on the most in your partner? Discuss this at your leisure. Make a list of sexy things that you really care about. For example, you really like it when your boyfriend cooks dinner and dances to the music. Or you can’t take your eyes off your girlfriend when she’s wearing your T-shirt at home (and there’s nothing else on her).
Share your revelations and start putting them into practice. When? At the first opportunity.
You can also discuss your partner’s “not sexy” habits. The main thing is to present everything with humor and in a mild form.
More fantasy! Movies and restaurants are great. Couples who don’t go anywhere at all will be delighted with such a rendezvous.
But still it is worth adding a little originality.
You may not believe it, but problems with money and lack of time are not critical. A date doesn’t have to cost four figures. And people who spend several hours a day flipping through social media feeds can hardly say in good conscience that they have an insanely busy schedule.
Search the internet for low-budget dating ideas. Put the kids/cats/dogs in good hands for a few hours and spend time with each other.
Kissing, hugging, and sex are insanely important ingredients for a healthy relationship. Talk about sex. Take care of it. Touch each other more often (this is not only about sex).
The amount of sex is an indicator that is individual for each couple. By the way, you would do well to discuss this issue. It is better to learn about the emerging problem and begin to resolve it than to part with the accumulated grievances and omissions.
What was your relationship like in the first days, weeks and months? Did you constantly hold hands, watch movies only in an embrace and have a habit of kissing every morning, going about your business? We turn on the time machine and return to the past.
Be in the moment
Whether you’re having sex, having dinner at a restaurant, discussing the day before, or eating a cold pizza on a Sunday morning, be in the moment. Next to your partner. Hear and feel it. All problems will be solved later.
Break instead of scandal
When you’re in the midst of a fight and your emotions are running high, it’s time to take a break. Stop yelling at each other and agree to continue the conversation in 10 minutes, half an hour, or tomorrow night.
In the heat of a quarrel, you can say a lot of things that you will regret after a few minutes. Don’t let this destructive energy take over you. Take a break and get your sanity back.
Conflicts are inevitable. You just need to learn how to behave properly. Talk about how you feel and why. Instead of being insulting, say, “I feel bad because … . I understand that now you are offended because of my words. I feel that …”.
This approach requires courage and honesty. It is much easier to send a partner to hell than to talk about your feelings and show your vulnerability.
You can always send it. And then start yelling at each other and go to different rooms, breaking all the dishes.
But let’s do without the second-rate Mexican series today.
You don’t have to agree
But try to understand your partner. Learn to look at things from different angles. Relationships are always teamwork. The “there are two opinions – mine and the wrong” approach has not yet helped anyone build a healthy relationship.
Fake apologies don’t make sense
“I’m sorry, I can’t help it,” “I’m sorry you think so,” and other excuses for show do not make any sense.
Try to understand why your words or actions hurt your loved one so much. You have read the previous paragraphs and know how to listen to your partner and take his place, right?
Listen, accept, speak out, apologize. Discuss what can be done under the circumstances.
But! Don’t let your partner play on your guilt. If there are problems in the relationship, and you are always the only one who apologizes, something is wrong here.
The main secret
Accept the fact that no relationship is perfect. Give up the idea of building an Ideal Relationship in which there will never be quarrels. This is a utopia. Conflicts in a couple are not a disaster. Infantilism and fear of the slightest difficulties and disagreements are much worse.