Many of us spend a portion of our time and energy on finding that perfect someone, the one that meets all the list requirements. Here’s my first bit of advice: ditch any form of list you might have, and just enjoy people for what they have to offer, the good and the bad.
As individuals we all need different things, we all want different things, and we too all offer a diversity of things for others. Accepting that there really is no such thing as a perfect person, rather an imperfect person who fits with you perfectly.
I’ve been in a successful relationship for over 5 years, so I’d like to think I know a little bit about what it takes to have a healthy relationship. Here’s my advice;
1. You need to be able to laugh together. I don’t care what anyone says, laughter is truly the best medicine and you need to be able to laugh together, and even at each other. When I slipped and fell down the stairs, it was hilarious and my partner laughed at me for a solid 10 minutes. I also laughed with him, so you should be able to laugh at yourself too.
2. Recognize the small things. Saying I love you, isn’t just limited to those three words, there are many ways to express your love and it isn’t always going to be a 500$ Tiffany and Co necklace or an expensive dinner and date night out. I love you is when you make sure they’re home safe, or picking up a coffee for them, or going to their family function even though that distant family member that no one really wants to talk to is going to be there and they absolutely love you and want to talk your ear off. Like they say, good things come in small packages.
3. Always say goodnight and good morning. I don’t know about you, but it makes my day waking up to a good morning text, it doesn’t need to be long, just it’s nice to know that you’re the first thought. I always call my partner before bed to say goodnight, and I suggest this routine to anyone because it’s intimate and he’s the last person I talk to before I go to bed, and especially if you don’t live together it’s a nice gesture, and even if you live together you should make the habit of saying goodnight to each other and good morning. I think this is a great way to start and end your day, and it brings a sense of closeness and intimacy.
4. Accept that your partner has flaws, and they might make you mad. My partner has a habit of always being right, or at least he thinks he is. This sometimes finds its way into arguments, where I express that he’s done something to upset me, but he has to find a reason as to why he did it and why it’s not his fault or how I didn’t interpret it properly. Does it make me the angriest person ever? Yes it does, but I love him for his ability to simultaneously make me mad and happy at the same time. I also understand that I too have flaws that make him upset, so I think it’s important to accept each other for who you are as individuals and always take the good with the bad, because the bad is always going to exist -we aren’t perfect, but remember that good always exists too!
5. Go out of your way for each other. I don’t care if you’re a girl dating a guy or a guy dating a guy, or a girl dating a girl – SPOIL YOUR PARTNER. Your gender is irrelevant, you want to be spoiled and so does your significant other. Go out of your way to pick up his or hers favorite take out three towns over, or get tickets to their favorite band even though they aren’t yours, or just a simple back massage would suffice. Remember that sometimes a little extra loving never hurt no one, and it’s important for you both to do for each other.
6. Spend time together, as friends with your friends. Double dates are fun, but spending time with your single friends together should never be about the famous third wheeling adventures, you should be able to hangout with your partner as a friend with your friends. Ease up on the PDA, and have a good time, save the romance for when you’re alone.
7. BE FRIENDS. Like I said in #6 being friends with each other while with your friends is important, but being able to be friends when it’s just the two of you is, in my opinion crucial to having a successful relationship. You need to be friends, it’s not just about dates, flowers and cuddling it’s also about having fun together, doing things and being silly together, or just relaxing.
8. Spend time apart. It’s important to have time to yourself, and with your friends. You need to be comfortable with the idea of doing things without your significant other, whether it’s just as simple as going for a walk alone or having a night out with your co-workers. Time apart is healthy, you need your own identity and to be you, not just “nicks girlfriend” or whoever.
9. Similar life goals. I’m extremely ambitious, I fill my life with many activities and volunteer work. I want to be a lawyer, and having a partner who supports my hectic life to help pursue my dreams just makes it even more important and worth it. More importantly having a partner with similar life goals is really a tell tale sign of whether or not it’s a forever kind of thing. Do you both want kids? Where do you want to work? Will you get married? Do they love animals as much as you? Will they support your life choices and do you support theirs? These are important questions, slight difference of opinion or ideas is perfectly normal, but you should both want similar things. Arguing about him or her wanting 4 kids and you only wanting 2 is, well I would say expected. But his or her dreams of moving to an island to live off of the land when you aspire to own a gas guzzling four wheel drive pick up truck, might suggest you have different interests or life goals? Who knows, but having an understanding of what your future will look like together is important.
10. Be Understanding. This is so important, you need to be understanding. Your partner is going to feel things and you’ll need to be there for them, and understand that they might need your support, your love, or for you to listen. Understanding that you will need to make sacrifices, compromises and you’ll need to apologize for things you might not understand, like how you never put the toilet paper back on the holder right and it makes your partner absolutely furious. Being an understanding person comes with time, and we don’t always get things and we don’t always understand why other people feel the way they do, but we need to accept that they’re human beings.