I have been in a few long term and short term relationships and I’ve learned a lot from them that I want to share with you.
1. Love Myself.
This is no bull. If I don’t truly love myself, forget about having a relationship that makes me happy. This means I must really like who I am, even with my limitations. I cannot keep expecting the outside world to love me.
2. Respect Myself.
If I do not have a sense of respect about who I am and that I deserve to be treated respectfully, forget about it in a relationship. Again, looking to someone else to respect me when I don’t care about myself—it ain’t gonna happen from the outside.
3. I learned to not look for the other person to fulfill all of my needs.
If I haven’t worked on myself and don’t know my own strengths and weaknesses, I no longer look on the outside for someone to give me what I don’t understand about myself.
Example: If I am not a highly passionate human being, I don’t look for someone else to fulfill that need. It may work in the beginning, but sooner or later the fire goes out. It’s like pouring water on a fire by looking for someone else to give me the passion. And I learned not to be afraid of being sexy; if I was afraid of my sexuality, I would investigate why.
4. If I am passionate, I meet other passionate people.
This can be dynamite between two kindred spirits with amazing chemistry, but I have found if there is nothing else in the relationship to support the passion (like integrity or honesty) it won’t last. It has become a happy memory.
5. Space in a relationship.
At one point I didn’t like spending time alone and always had to be with the person. I began to suffocate and the good stuff would just disappear. I was willing to have the courage to learn how to be alone and to learn how to enjoy myself while alone.
6. Understand there are some things that don’t have to be worked through with the other person.
I understand when I have stuff that has been triggered in a relationship, and I realize that I have more stuff to work on. I don’t bring my partner into stuff that’s mine, that I need to work on. Your partner doesn’t need to know unless he/she brings it up.
7. I don’t blame.
I used to be in relationships where one another would blame and never take responsibility for our actions. That was and is a setup to fail.
8. Take separate vacations.
I can only do this if there is a definite sense of trust in the relationship. If that element of basic trust isn’t there, either one of us will go out of our minds while the other one is away.
9. Forget about each of us looking at other men or women.
We are human. We will definitely be attracted to other people. Unless I have decided to be in an open relationship—where both can sleep with other people, I don’t expect my partner to not be attracted to other people when I am with him. We are not stupid unless we are in a place of deep denial.
10. Being honest with one another.
Don’t expect me to know what you are thinking. That is something that might have happened when we were young, but if we are still doing it as an adult, it will cause conflict, acting out and resentment. We’ve got to talk to each other about these things, even if they are scary.
11. Allow myself to be vulnerable.
If I allow myself and my partner to be vulnerable, like showing a side of ourselves that we don’t want the other to know about, it’s a path toward intimacy.
12. Don’t lose the sexiness in the relationship.
As we all know, the sexiness in the beginning of a relationship is on fire. After we’ve been together for at least
two years, we see changes and our lives will change. We need to be aware of what’s going on, and both of us need to do something to put that “charge” back into the relationship.
13. Cook one another delicious meals.
Go on a spontaneous picnic even if you have to have the picnic on the floor in the middle of winter. it is truly fun! Fun tip: leave love notes in the freezer.
14. I cannot stress this enough: if I promise to call, to meet or to take him out to a special place, I keep my word.
Nothing spells selfish more than a person who does not keep their word. Just imagine me doing this with my children and how it would affect them.
15. I do not have to be the savior in a relationship.
Meaning I all of these red lights in the beginning of our relationship but I feel you will
change with love. Is not going to happen. I am not going to save anyone and I will end up getting myself really messed up.
l6. If I am with someone of a different culture or religion, I investigate whether this will work for each of us and for the relationship.
I may have completely different beliefs, and I am not going to change the other person. If I can go into the relationship accepting what is, there is a good chance everything will be okay.
l7. If I feel my mate’s family comes first before me, much resentment can build up and it could be the kiss of death of a relationship.
Who am I in relationship with? My love or the entire family?
l8. If I feel intimacy is about buying my companion whatever they want to keep them happy, I am so wrong.
This gets old fast. In the beginning, I’m in heaven being showered with gorgeous gifts…but then I want to talk to my partner and work something out, they may just want to continue shopping, mainly to keep me quiet.
19. If one of us makes more money than the other—can we both deal with that?
If I get jealous or resentful, can we sit down and talk about it and work things out? Or do I just make sarcastic remarks to you? Usually with sarcasm there is an element of truth there that needs to be paid attention to.
20. I make my partner the most important person in the world to me.
Yes, we both have a life, but when it comes to the two of us, we are both a priority for each other. And don’t let the “I love you” leave the relationship. I also don’t say “I love you” as though I am on a rote button. I mean what i say and say what I mean.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Bruce Frick/Flickr