When I first starting going out with my boyfriend, we were thrilled. We loved to spend time with each other. However, things began spiralling south when we started to discover different aspects of each other’s personalities.
It became difficult to be together because we were not happy anymore. There were many things we didn’t approve of about the other and communicating with each other was frustrating. Till we learnt the secrets to a happy relationship. It didn’t happen overnight. It took a toll on us, but we held on even when we didn’t feel like it. And all this happened because we followed a few simple rules.
If you have been struggling with your relationship and thinking of giving up, DON’T! Forget about breaking up. Stop reading whatever you are in those awful coffee table books with cheesy titles and read these experience-based, hard-hitting truths about happy relationships that actually work. I guarantee that this article would change your perspective on relationships forever.
You Might Also Like: 12 Basic Rules for Every Successful Friends-With-Benefits Relationship
1. Get Some Realistic Expectations from Your Partner
One thing that was the most difficult for me, initially, was to make my boyfriend understand that he should steer clear of superficial expectations. It was his first relationship, and everything that he knew about relationships was either things that he had read in the books or seen on TV. And I don’t blame him because most of us, Indians, get our knowledge about love and relationships from TV shows and movies because we are never allowed to explore love first-hand.
As a result, my boyfriend and I ended up having countless fights every day about the same things during the initial six months. However, we both learnt from them. I learnt to give him some time to understand how relationships work in real life, and he learnt to start having realistic expectations for me. And that helped!
2. Never Forget that Although You Are Together, You Are Still Two Different People
I have always been a workaholic because my work gives me immense joy. Therefore, you would always find me at a Starbucks, in my usual corner couch, glued to my laptop. And I did not change even after getting into a relationship. Fortunately, my boyfriend immediately understood this. In fact, he was so supportive of it that he would pick me from my place and take me to the coffee shop just so that I would not have to drive and instead, utilise that time to work. And even though he sat right next to me, he would never dare to disturb me. Instead, he carried on with his work or quietly sat there doing nothing. He gave me my space even when he was around.
Moreover, we have successfully maintained different sets of friends. And although we hang out with them as a couple, it happens only on special occasions such as birthdays or farewell parties. We have always tried to uphold a kind of wall between us when it comes to privacy, and that is why, I can proudly say, our relationship has lasted longer than every other couple who started dating at the same time we did.
I should also tell you that whenever we are busy, we simply tell each other that we are busy and there is like an unspoken contract that is issued between us that immediately stops us from disturbing the peace of the other person. And that is the kind of individualism you ought to have in your relationship, too.
You Might Also Like: 20 Unthinkable Tips for Sustaining a Long-Distance Relationship
3. Constantly Agreeing With Each Other Would Lead You Nowhere
My boyfriend has got the brain for an analyst. He instantly calls me off every time I am wrong. And I am forever grateful to him for being the way he is. I have noticed many couples who merely nod in affirmation whenever their partners say or do something, even when they know that they are wrong. That is short-term thinking.
Imagine having to spend the rest of your life with a person whose behaviour you don’t wholly approve of. Their behaviour may be unethical, immoral or may even oppose your own principles. Would you be happy being with a person like that for the rest of your life? Not only would you be sacrificing your own happiness but you would also be depriving yourself of the joy of being in the company of a person whose behaviour you actually approve of. Therefore, never hesitate to engage in a healthy disagreement especially when you think that there is room for change.
4. You Don’t Always Have to Resolve All Your Issues Forcefully
I was mentally drained when this happened to us. Our relationship had hit rock bottom, and I was losing hope. But just when I was about to give up, I spoke. I did not talk to my boyfriend with a view to resolving whatever was wrong with our relationship. I spoke because I had to tell him that we ought to drop it if we wanted to be happy again. And believe you me, it worked!
Sometimes, conversations take you nowhere. Talking about your problems multiple times knowing that there is no way you can close the matter would only make things worse. Hence, the best thing to do in such cases is to move on. Decide mutually to never speak of that particular issue again and move ahead without any unpleasant memories.
You Might Also Like: Top 10 Most Romantic Places in the World for Your Next Couple’s Trip
5. Accept that Every Relationship Loses Its Spark Someday
I have come across several couples who keep complaining about their relationship missing its spark. And it is simply bewildering for me. Do you think your parents still have that novel spark left in their relationship that they once had when they got married? No! And frankly, it is a ridiculous expectation to have.
Some relationships lose their spark within a year (happened to us) while some may take 3 to 4 years. But it happens eventually. And however cliched as this may sound to you, what truly remains is love. We were stupid enough to try to get back the spark. It worked for a few weeks and then poof. It was gone again. However, we learnt that we were fine without the spark because when the spark is gone, you are left with a deep, meaningful relationship, which is more valuable than anything else.
6. Your Life Isn’t Koffee With Karan. Be Real
I have never been jealous of another couple because I know that when each of them goes to their separate homes, they completely change. It is like they have DID. They switch to the real them, which is utterly unrecognisable to the other person. And I am left with the question, “Why would you treat your relationship like a talk show interview where you just say what the other person wants to hear you say?” Be real because that is the only thing that will hold your relationship together in the long run. I agree that being is more difficult than pretending to be, but you have got to start somewhere.
Tie your hair in a messy bun, wear loose tees and don’t take a bath for two days if that is what you are like in real life. Because all this is still better than letting somebody else spend time with a person who is merely wearing a mask of niceness.
You Might Also Like: Let’s Debunk 25 Most Common Myths About Dating
7. Always Support Each Other But Not Unconditionally
Other blogs would tell you that you should always be supportive of your partner, irrespective of what it is. But do you really think that this is ideal advice? I am a firm believer of ‘conditional’ support. I would only support my boyfriend until he is walking on this side of the crazy-bridge. The moment he crosses it, I weigh the consequences of his actions for him.
This small practice or belief, whatever you may choose to call it, has enabled him to find his passion, career objectives and future goals. It brought a 360° change in him that he is proud of. So, regardless of how much you love your partner, the only thing that you should be supporting is their rationality.
8. Respect Makes Every Relationship Stronger
My maternal grandfather and grandmother addressed each other with ‘sir’ and ‘madam.’ That was the definition of treating each other with respect for them. But we have evolved too much since then. ‘Respecting someone’ has become a very complicated term now.
Today, the word ‘respect’ is used as a blanket term for accepting your partner’s field of work, their opinions, their morals, their anxieties, their flaws and so much more. By this, I don’t mean that it wasn’t so earlier. However, people had fewer expectations back in the days as compared to what people presently have. We have become an increasingly sensitive lot of individuals, which I reckon is an excellent thing. If not, we would still be making fun of mentally and physically gifted people.
9. There Is a Thin Line Between Possessiveness and Insane Insecurity
Maybe people are accustomed to a hostile environment, or they simply like the attention that they get when this happens but let me tell you that possessiveness and insecurity are not the same behaviours. And none of them is even remotely ‘cute.’ Being possessive is asking your partner “ Who were you talking to so late?” with a ‘tone.’ Insane insecurity is asking the same question and checking their phone, later on, to confirm if they were telling the truth.
To be honest with you, neither my boyfriend nor I have ever poked our noses into each other’s business. We trust each other enough to tell the truth. If it concerns him, I would say to him who I was speaking to even at 2 a.m. and he would do the same. Therefore, it is safe to say that where there is trust, there is no room for either possessiveness or insecurity.
You Might Also Like: 16 Unique Things That Tell Your Boyfriend Is the Real Deal
10. There Is Nothing Wrong in Bringing Positive Changes in Each Other
I really fail to understand why relationship blogs always tell their readers never to change their partner. It is one of the most toxic pieces of advice I have ever received, and I would do everything but follow that advice. I call it toxic because it hinders the growth of potential in an individual and stops them from being more than who they can indeed be.
Thanks to my boyfriend for bringing in such motivational and positive changes in the way I look at life and my aspirations now as compared to before. Let me share a small dialogue that took place between him and me that would tell you why you need to change the other person.
I always kept telling my boyfriend that I wanted to be famous. And he told me something that changed my perspective on that forever. He said and I quote, “Kim Kardashian is famous, too. Do you want to be like her?” Well, no offence, Kim but I would never want to be someone who is famous for nothing. He then continued saying, “You should always aim to be successful. And that is how you would achieve fame.” Golden words! Ever immortal. And I caved. Two years later and those words still rule my very existence.
11. Don’t Forget to Show Your Love Outside the Instagram Captions
Instagram is perhaps the only glamourous platform that everyone has access to. Anyone can be whoever they want to be.
You may have come across people who continuously post pictures with their significant others with long captions stating their many attractive qualities that they find magnetic. But what happens outside is kept undisclosed. In fact, research suggests that couples who regularly upload their pictures on social media fail to keep their relationship together in most cases. It is because they are so engrossed in seeking validation from the world that they forget that the relationship is about them and not the other people. They post relentlessly to mask their relationship’s insecurities.
Well, not all hope is lost. It is never too late to start anew even if you have been following this trend for some time. Just make sure that whatever you write on Instagram are things that you tell your significant other in real life, too.
You Might Also Like: 30 Definite Things That Will Happen If You Date an Older Man
12. Introducing Material Love Is Completely Okay
Among several of our unspoken traditions, one is to frequently buy items that we think might be useful to the other. My boyfriend and I buy things that we think would make the other person’s life a tad easier. Sometimes, it is just things that may not even be so resourceful such as a Harry Potter kindle cover or a sipper-snack bottle but are solely for aesthetic purposes. It is not mandatory. We do it when and if we can. And I think it is also one of the reasons why we are together. It is not about gifts. It is about recognising the other person’s desires and needs and fulfilling them without being asked to do so. Moreover, everyone loves surprises. If you have been dating for years and can still find ways to surprise each other, you have succeeded.
13. Don’t Turn Your Relationship into a Competition and Keep Scores
As mentioned before, my boyfriend and I do things for each other if and when we can. It is not compulsory. In fact, my boyfriend gives me more gifts in a year than Santa Claus gives out to all the children on Christmas. You would not believe this, but I have a dedicated wardrobe for all my stationery items that are gifted by him. Everything from pencils to the emboss punchers is all a part of his generosities. But still, he would never keep scores or calculate his ROIs.
Similarly, when you do something for your partner, forget about it the minute you do it. Do it for love and not because you like to win.
14. Say What Disappoints You During Fights Instead of Placing Blame
People would always tell you how important communicating in a relationship is. But do they ever tell you how? It is a rookie mistake to speak your mind when you have a complaint with your partner. Words are our most deceiving possession. They are rarely perceived the way you intend. But you can avoid the mistakes that other couples do and unlock the secret to a happy relationship by simply being mindful.
Try this the next time you fight – Whenever you want to express how upset you are, talk about how you feel instead of how the other person is making you feel. For example, if your significant other has been avoiding you or not giving you enough time, instead of saying “I hate that you never have time for me” say, “I feel ignored when you don’t spend time with me” or “I wish you would be around more often.” Sentences like these would allow you to avoid placing blame and yet express your true feelings.
You Might Also Like: 18 Things That Say Your Girlfriend Is the Bawse
15. Try Your Best to Understand Where Your Partner is Coming from
Happy couples always try their best to understand the other person’s point of view. This is because most of the problems start with a small disagreement and later lead to bigger fights. Therefore, it is always wise to develop some rationality in every situation. Try your best to see where your significant other is coming from and why they are the way they are.
Drawing another example from my relationship; my boyfriend had zero sense of hygiene when we first got into a relationship. And being obsessed with cleanliness, I often found a way to mock him for his nasty habits. However, upon visiting his house one day and seeing its ‘condition,’ I realised that it was not his fault. It is how he was brought up. He did not know any better. So, I reduced ‘the yelling’ and increased ‘the telling’ with him. I taught him about cleanliness, and he gradually began to adopt a cleaner lifestyle. Problem solved!
16. Texting and Calling Constantly Can Make Relationships Dull Soon
Every couple I see these days is either hanging out together, chatting over texts or talking over the phone with each other. There is no space at all. Not only is it annoying for those around them but it also is terrible for your relationship in the longer run.
If you refrain from texting or calling too much all day, you will have so much to talk about when you get home that you would feel less distracted and more satisfied with your love life. Also, it would help both of you not to take each other’s time and presence for granted. Moreover, it would allow you to pay more attention and keep your interest in each other intact.
17. Learn to Differentiate Your Relationship from Those of the Others’
Have you ever wondered why you feel the need to compare your relationship with that of the others’?
You only compare when you feel you aren’t good enough or you can do better. When you see happier couples, you only see the surface and not that what goes underneath. Every couple struggles to find their comfort zones. For some, it takes time, and for some, it happens right at the beginning. But comparing would take you nowhere. Keeping your mind open to possibilities and disagreements would always help you to come out stronger than before.
You Might Also Like: 18 Times Relationships Are Slowly Killed – Real People Share Their Thoughts
18. Avoid Quarrelling Immediately Over Matters. Give Them Some Time to Settle
“You ignored me once!” Bam. Fight. “How could you hang up on me?” Fight. “Why did you joke about my past?” Fight. Break up!
See, how toxic that looks? That is what happens when you react impulsively. Like all things, relationships, too, are fragile. So whenever you disapprove of something that can be avoided, don’t react to it the first time it happens. Give it some time. Maybe what your partner said was a slip of the tongue. Allow the benefit of a doubt.
19. Never Stop Working on Your Relationship
No relationship can ever be perfect. It is only a bond between two people who try to be the best versions of themselves. Every day, I work to keep my relationship alive. It isn’t wrong. Relationships are work, and if you love each other enough, you will always get through anything.
20. Save Money to Take Occasional Trips Once in a while.
A change in a location is essential for every relationship. Otherwise, it starts to be suffocating. The happiest couples are the ones who are travelling in each other’s company. So, if you think things have turned sore in your relationship, plan a trip