Generally speaking, we all know that any promising relationship is a two-way street consisting of a lot of time, effort, and commitment. Dating is a process, and to be honest, I don’t like this process. It’s tedious and can get super repetitive if you’re dating one person after another. But, at the same time, without experiencing the dating life, I probably would be taking my wonderful significant other for granted right now. Dating, if anything, has really taught me that truly compatible & good people are hard to come by, so I’m holding onto mine tightly!
Lately, there has been quite a bit of relationship talk with different friends of mine, so I became inspired to put together this post! Just like life in general, relationships are complex — meaning there is no formula or hard rules to follow in order to “succeed,” but generally speaking, I live by these 10 commandments (not in any particular order) to maintain a healthy, long-term relationship.
1. BE FRIENDS FIRST
From those endless OKCupid dates, I’ve learned the importance of building a strong foundation of friendship before getting into a serious relationship. I’ve definitely seen online dating work for some, but not for me because I found that with dating online, there wasn’t much time for “friendship,” as it always felt like one or the other expected something more. Again, any good relationship takes time and dedication, so it doesn’t help to rush into things. If things are meant to be, they will be — it’s just a matter of time! So, if you’re into someone, take the time to really get to know them, their family, their interests, and their life goals. See how closely they match up to yours; this will definitely help give you a clearer picture of the relationship potential, if there is any. Potter and I were best friends for around a year before getting together. I thought I had completely friend-zoned him, and the next thing I knew, this happened! Even my friends were surprised. It really is true that the best things in life come unexpectedly at the most unexpected times 😉
2. BE OPEN & COMMUNICATE
From several failed relationships, I’ve learned to be open and always communicate my feelings, thoughts, and even just everyday happenings or musings. I expect my significant other to not be taken aback by this, and in fact, would hope that he would do the same to me if he really saw any potential in being with me long-term. I know this is easier said than done, but in any relationship, you’ll need to just be yourself and don’t be afraid to communicate. If something’s bothering you, don’t play games. Just let him/her know. From my experience, guys are super oblivious to a lot of girls’ irkings, so the sooner I communicate my feelings or concerns, the quicker I feel at ease again (assuming the guy is reasonable and willing to talk things out with me). Communicating also gives you a chance to see how the other person reacts when you initiate a confrontation. Not saying you should be a confrontational b!tch all the time, but don’t be afraid to be strong and voice your opinions and thoughts!
3. BE HONEST
As an extension to commandment #2, honesty is the best policy. Okay, I’ll admit, I’ve thrown in a little white lie here and there, but you know what I mean. If you have massive debt, don’t act like nothing’s wrong and hide it from your SO. If you were previously married and had kids, don’t lie. He/she will find out eventually and what will he/she think of you then? I personally admire a man who can come to terms with his flaws and understand that honesty is key to any long-term relationship.
4. KEEP YOUR PROMISES
It really, really bothers me when a guy promises me something and doesn’t follow through. I’m not saying material things, but just more like giving me his word for something. For example, if you say you’re going to be here by 11, be here by 11. I get that life happens, but at least give me notice/keep me posted if you’re going to be late. When someone keeps his word to me (or at least intends to do so), it shows me that he values having me in his life.
5. PRACTICE TEAMWORK
A relationship is a two-way street. This is probably what makes it hardest! If one person starts to “not feel it,” well, there goes the relationship. This is why I feel teamwork is important. This means helping each other out when needed, and doing things together. In this case, I’m not saying just fun things… more like, chores: cooking and cleaning together, for example.
6. APPRECIATE & FORGIVE
It’s easy to get super comfortable in a relationship, especially if things are constantly just going well. When you’re not challenged to feel otherwise, it’s natural to take each other for granted. If not rectified, this can lead to serious issues. Appreciation can be shown in so many different ways — even as simple as having a small but deep conversation with the other before bed. Also, never let the other person go to bed mad. I absolutely hate this, and sometimes this requires me to set aside my ego and just apologize even when I feel it isn’t completely my fault (or at all). I sit down, take a deep breath, and think to myself, “If this was my last day ever with him, would I be able to tell others I loved him wholly and deeply?” If the answer is “no,” then I had better do something to change it! Of course, this is a two-way street as well — meaning, if you find that you’re the only one appreciating & forgiving and not the other way around too, then it may be time to communicate or re-evaluate the relationship.
7. MAKE TIME
Busy schedules, a ton of traveling… there can be so many excuses for why someone could be feeling neglected. In my eyes, people in healthy relationships shouldn’t feel neglected; if someone loved me as much as he says he does, he would make time for me regardless, even if it’s just a 5 minute phone call or FaceTime video call. That’s not too much to ask, is it?
8. GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER’S FAMILY & FRIENDS
When I was younger, I didn’t realise how important it was to get along with my SO’s family & friends. If you’re not on their good side, chances are, things are going to be rockier. So, get to know them early on. This also gives you a chance to see what kind of people your SO associates with, which will help to give you a better idea of the kind of person he is/could be. My best friend and I are literally almost the same person in different bodies, so if my boyfriend can’t get along with her, he probably won’t get along with me. At least not for long.
9. SHARE ADVENTURES & GROW TOGETHER
Experiences are priceless and should be shared between two lovers, as often as possible. They help both people grow together and learn more about each other in terms of hobbies and culture, among many other things. Plus, it’s always nice to have a little fun together! Potter and I will be road-tripping across the US during the holidays this year, and I am so stoked because 1) I still have so much to see in this world, and 2) I get to see it all with him! I am sure that I will learn not only more about myself, but more about him as well.
10. HAVE SIMILAR LIFE GOALS & VISIONS
This one may be the 10th commandment, but certainly not the least important. In fact, if I had to rank these, this one would probably be way up there. I was never able to make my 4-year relationship work with my high school to college boyfriend, simply because I felt we had completely different goals & ambitions, driving us apart. I could no longer see a bright, certain future with him. If two people do not share the same visions, it can be extremely difficult to make a relationship work. It’s very important for a couple to be on the same page and just share similar life goals (and work together to achieve them)! Having a solid friendship before a relationship helps both people visualize life goals & visions, and to see if they match up 🙂
Do you have any other “commandments” that you feel are important to sustaining a healthy, long-term relationship?
Featured Image by my daddy on my iPhone! 🙂