I met my boyfriend at the beginning of this year.
We have been a blessing for one another: Not a day passes by in which I am not grateful for our love and connection. (Hmm, well I suppose I have taken him for granted a few times, but I am trying to keep that from happening.)
Although, we have been inseparable from the very moment we met and have experienced unimaginable synchrony, our predominantly blissful relationship has not been all peaches and cream. We have had a fair share of awkward moments creeping into our love affair and it hasn’t been easy to avoid occasional conflicts.
A week ago, amidst yet another misunderstanding, I wanted to run away from it all. I considered taking the easy way out, ending something beautiful before even giving it a fair chance to blossom.
Zapped back to my senses, however, I took a step back from my rush of impulsiveness. I observed my dramatic reaction to our instance of friction and realized it takes two to tango.
I centered my frazzled mind and realized that I was just as responsible for the temporary discomfort in our relationship as my boyfriend was. If I chose to avoid the true root of our discord, then I wouldn’t be solving anything but would instead be cheating myself of something potentially long-lasting.
Fortunately, I didn’t do anything rash, but chose to unravel the reasons behind our collisions. Since I knew that neither of us had ill intentions and genuinely cared for one another, then it would be such a misfortune to see us crumble to nothingness overnight.
We chose to communicate honestly about our concerns. As a team, we came up with a list of issues that needed to be addressed. We didn’t give up and are still standing strong.
New relationships can be incredible, but messiness is always a possibility. And for that, I have compiled a number of ways in which we can survive the rocky roads that may peak their face amidst all the gloriousness of our newfound connections.
Here are five keys to maintaining harmony in your new relationship:
1. Be real with each other.
If we hide our true feelings from our partners, we are doing ourselves a disservice. There is a reason why we chose to be in a relationship with this individual in the first place, so if we conceal our inner world from them, we might as well be alone. Who can we trust to be wholeheartedly open with, if not with our own lovers? Secrecy will draw us farther apart from our partners, as it fuels resentment.
Personally speaking, I used to become irritated with certain aspects of my boyfriend’s behavior, but almost never brought them up in conversation. Rather, I chose to engage in passive-aggressive combat, which left him completely confused. He had no clue what he was doing to create such reactions on my part and would thereby react with his own set of personal defenses.
Before long, we would wind up in a state of overwhelming bitterness that could have been prevented, had I been transparent with him from the get-go. This is just one example of what concealment can do to negatively impact a blooming relationship and it is something that we are still actively working on.
Honesty is a sign of intimacy. If we plan to grow closer to our partners, then it may be worth our time to consider this facet of our relationships and water it thoroughly. Being real feels so good, trust me!
2. Find the light in the darkness.
Sh*t happens. Not everything is going to be perfect in our newfound relationship. In fact, that is unrealistic and fantastical. And we aren’t about that life! Life is a mixture of sugar and spice and that is what makes it so fascinating.
Assuming that we are primarily enjoying our relationships and aren’t being undermined in any way, there is always a chance that conflict will arise. Don’t we fight with our very own family members? We love them, don’t we? That is why we can’t forget about all of the good the minute we butt heads with our partners.
Personally, I am guilty of this. Whenever my boyfriend and I get into any kind of disagreement, I act like he is a stranger and essentially reject his affection. I have a difficult time maintaining a state of loving equilibrium amidst the discord, which leaves him feeling dejected. He then proceeds to worry that I am the type of girl that will flee the second anything gets a little off track.
Currently, I am making it my priority to keep the light alive the second a bit of darkness greets us. This way, we can work on our problems as a team and ultimately soften the thorns that make their way into our otherwise harmonious love affair.
In short, if and when discomfort steps foot into our loving relationship, it is imperative that we hold onto all of the love that we share with our partners. Our new relationship will fall through the cracks if we always follow a “glass half empty” approach. Can we still say, “I love you” to our partner even when things are shaky? I challenge us to give it a shot. Our hearts will thank us.
3. Communicate in person as much as possible.
This key may seem a bit simplistic, but it is actually quite relevant to our current-day social climate. We spend a lot of our time communicating with one another via social media, text, and email, while face-to-face communication has been wavering.
There are obviously positive factors outside of the face-to-face, but they can negatively impact our new relationship. When these methods are overused, we are setting ourselves up for impending strife. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I prefer peaceful waters over raging storms.
Miscommunication is rampant when we use methods such as texting to get our deepest thoughts, ideas, and concerns across to our partner. I recommend holding off on sensitive matters for a proper interface, as it lessens our chances of misunderstanding what each party is attempting to convey.
No matter how cautious and diligent we are in our texting skills, there is a high margin for error in being clear. Spiraling out of control is highly possible, with one confusing text leading way to a full-fledged fight. It’s common sense, really. Our phones don’t carry the same mannerisms, body language, and dynamism that we do. No doubt about that.
Let’s keep the serious stuff for in-person, while the lighter matters can be said via text and/or social media. My worst fights have taken place when my boyfriend and I chose to utilize texting for matters that were way too complicated for our cell hones to handle. We grew tired of wasting our precious time digging ourselves out of the holes we created, as these holes could have been prevented if we simply spoke in person.
4. Embrace imperfection.
We aren’t perfect beings, yet we often forget this important truth when we are in a new relationship. We search for an amazing entity that is flawless and essentially inhuman, while overlooking the fact that we are far from impeccable ourselves. If everyone lived by this philosophy, then everyone would be left unsatisfied and endlessly unsuccessful.
In terms of my own current relationship, I catch myself consciously searching for flaws in my partner. Strangely enough, at some point in my young life, I have equated any shortcomings on the part of potential partners with an overall mismatch. Undoubtedly, with this imbalanced approach to love, I wind up proving myself right.
No one is perfect and if I keep leaving everyone behind in search of utopic love then I am setting myself up for a lonely, fruitless romantic life. Recently, amidst one of the low points of my relationship, I came to the realization that a lot of our disagreements stem from the fact that I am too hard on my boyfriend. I don’t allow him to be imperfectly perfect and eventually, if I continue on this road, I will inevitably drive him away.
We need to be mindful of how we view our partners. Let’s allow them to be comfortable expressing their whole selves with no fear of rejection. And of course, we will hope for the same from them.
5. Celebrate each other.
Last but not least, a happy relationship is one in which both parties celebrate one another.
All we need to do is support each other’s dreams, passions, and ideas whether we agree with them or not. A fruitful relationship doesn’t focus all of its energy on one person over the other, as that is a lopsided dynamic that will contribute to impending displeasure for both parties. In our new and seasoned relationships alike, let’s never stop boosting one another. The celebration should never end, no matter how long we have been with our romantic partners.
Personally, my boyfriend and I do a pretty good job in this department, if I can say so myself. While I cheer him on with his entrepreneurial endeavors, he fully supports me in my writing endeavors and aspirations. We keep each other on track, sending each other motivating messages all of the time and look for opportunities to celebrate our love itself.
There doesn’t always have to be a precondition preceding celebration! There is always room for improvement and we are constantly working on ways to celebrate each other.
I urge everyone to follow suit on this. Our love lives will truly transform.
Author: Shirin Karimi Tararani
Image: Scio Central School Website/Flickr
Editor: Sara Kärpänen