Angelism: “Always remember LOVE should FEEL GOOD. If that feeling is not there the majority of the time, move on. If you do feel the love, buckle up and enjoy the ride!”
In a few weeks I will be celebrating my 17th anniversary. Not all 17 years have been a walk in the park but they have not been awful either. Many relationships thrive on the bad. I am proud to say that mine excels because of the good. We are not married, and that is our choice. We have lived together 16+ years, we don’t have children, and we still enjoy dating like we did in the beginning. He is 38, I’m 40, and after 17 years of love, we are look forward to our future together. In case any of you are interested in what has worked for us, here are some of my personal tips for a successful relationship.
1) Communicate, communicate, communicate. We were not always good at this and at the 7 year mark we were not doing this successfully. With some professional guidance, our love kept us together and we were able to learn how to get back on the same page and communicate. Without quality, honest communication, your relationship is doomed. With good communication you learn about individual needs and then you can come together to meet those needs. Only when you know what each other wants can you decide if you are a good match.
2) Sex, sex, and more sex. An intimate relationship is key to keeping it interesting. You have to desire your partner. They need to feel like they are the only one for you. You have to kiss, hug, pinch, leave love notes, plan for some wild nights out and enjoy one another in an intimate way. You don’t have to swing from the ceiling, dress in bondage, and do uncomfortable freaky things to get your partner’s attention; but you have to want them. If you don’t someone else will.
3) Play, play, play! Go on dates. Make time to laugh. Be in a good mood more often than a bad one. Find time to have fun. Take vacations or a quick one night getaway. Schedule a babysitter and plan a date. Take a stroll through the park and chase each other. Play a board game and whoever loses has to do whatever the winner wants. There are so many easy ways to be playful with your partner. Having a fun attitude about life will keep things light and exciting.
4) Love, love, love. Never fall out of love. Get mad, have your moments, and take time to breathe through them. Don’t let your mind take over what your heart wants. Your mind will always make a bigger deal out of something than it is. Your heart will do what’s right, if you listen to it. When your mind thinks the love is not strong enough and your relationship is not worth it, take time. Most often you are in love and you don’t want to leave but you are having a rough moment. If you know in your heart your love is good, don’t give up on it.
5) Grow, grow, grow. Grow together always. Life will change, family will interfere, and illness and financial stresses will consume you. Make a commitment to the relationship to grow through the ups and downs together. Change is inevitable. Embrace it and come together when faced with change rather than falling apart. Couple-hood means negotiating so that you can compromise and grow together.
6) Support, support, support. Give support and you will get it in return. Not every decision will be agreed upon. Support your partner when a change needs to happen. If it’s going back to school, quitting a job, moving to a new town, losing weight, or even changing one’s appearance, support one another. You must be your mates #1 fan.
7) Freedom, freedom, freedom. Give your lover freedom. Not everything needs to be done together. Having time apart will bring you closer together. Putting restrictions on what your mate can and can’t do, is going to scare them away. Plus, trying to control what your partner does, and who they hang out with, only shows how insecure you are which is incredibly unattractive. Freedom from always having to be around to entertain each other helps a relationship mature.
8) Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. We all have some kind of expectation. Some are realistic and others are demanding and unnecessary. If you have wants and needs express them, set a boundary and stick to it. For example: “I have dated and lived with you for two years. I want to be married. If we can’t get married by end of next year, I can’t stay in this relationship anymore.” That’s a clear, respectable boundary, that is realistic in its time frame. If your partner can’t step up and give you what you want, you leave. The only way to ever get what you want, is to set a boundary and stick to it. This is how you can be taken seriously.
9) Trust, trust, trust. Giving your partner your trust is a true gift. Have faith that your lover will show up for you. Trust that they have your best interest at heart. Trust that you are the only one for them. Trust that they tell the truth. Give trust and don’t look for reasons or clues to mistrust. If you have to take it to the level of investigating, sneaking around and trying to catch your mate in a lie, then you have no business being with that person. You should never have to check a cell phone, spy on emails, read through bank accounts or follow your mate. Either you trust, or you leave. I have a whole blog on this. Trust is a must!
10) Listen, listen, listen. I have to admit I am not the best listener. This is something I had to learn the hard way. Since I always feel I have the better plan, something smarter to say, or more knowledge on a topic, I often offer up commentary but don’t always listen to feedback. I have gotten much better at this in the last couple of years. Listening allows you to follow up later on the same topics and be in the know about them. Doing this will make your partner feel important, heard and validated. Say less, and listen more. It really works.
These are my top 10 tips for a great relationship. When you get to a place of incorporating all these tips, the relationship becomes easy. The relationship ends up working for you rather than you working for the relationship. Don’t make love more complicated than it is. My hope for all is that you find the love you always dreamed of. That what you experience in a relationship is joy, happiness, calm and trust; not anxiety, hate, anger and mistrust. It is possible. You decide when you get into a relationship what it will look like and what is acceptable. The power is in your hands.
P.S. Final thought… Life is NOT a fantasy so quit dreaming. Not all relationships are built to last forever. That is the goal but not always the outcome. Enjoy the moment and appreciate what you have today. I don’t know that the love I have today will be here 10 years from now. If it is, great! If it’s not meant to last, then that’s OK too. When you surrender the fairytale fantasy, you take a lot of pressure off your relationship and can enjoy it one day at a time!