Okay, I don’t claim to be some kind of an relationship expert, or Oprah, or Dr. Phil or, I don’t know, Martha Stewart (God, please not Martha Stewart). I’m not some grandma with five kids and ten grandkids married for 75 years and full of life experience and wisdom. I’m just a gal who spent a lot of time observing people around her and taking stuff in and writing those stuff down. What I will write down are not hard facts or me preaching, just my opinions after experiencing a bunch of years in a pretty awesome relationship and observing other people in their relationships. So, here are some simple things that couples in relationship should keep in mind, but constantly seem to forget.
1. Your relationship is not a jail
I find it weird that I even have to mention this at loud but the amount of people I’ve met or heard of that have forgotten this really surprise me, and I must admit that until recently, I was one of those people.
There is only one restriction you should put on yourself when you are in a relationship and that is not to be with other people, and that one counts only if you are in a monogamous relationship. If not, not even that is a restriction. Yet, people put so many restrictions not only to themselves, but to their partners as well. I was one of those people. I didn’t want to travel alone because I thought that it was inappropriate to travel without my boyfriend. I didn’t pierce my ears because he didn’t like pierced ears. I didn’t go out because he’s the type of person that doesn’t go out partying. I’d be a liar if after some time of this kind of behavior I didn’t start feeling down and like I was lacking in life and the funny thing is that I did all of that to own myself. Those are just some of the restrictions that I put on myself just because I was in a relationship and now when I think back, I realized I spent so much time living in the “we” that I completely forgot about “me”.
I notice that when people get out of long relationships that they consider themselves more “free” and I’ve been told by newly single people how they are finally starting to have “fun” and can finally go traveling and going to parties and doing other stuff they didn’t do while they were dating X. The thought that comes to me after that is: Can’t you be free while you are in a relationship, too? What is it in your relationship that is stopping you to have fun and see the world? If you are in a relationship, you shouldn’t feel like you’re in a jail or a closed box. You should feel as free as if you were single (with the restriction mentioned in the beginning of this text) because if you’re with someone, they should be encouraging you to enjoy the best of life with or without their physical presence. You partner should not be your physical “other half” but a beautiful person that complements your already independent and whole self. You shouldn’t live just in the “we”, you really need to be great and familiar with “you” and the person you’re with should respect that.
If you’re the kind of couple that does anything and everything together but are both developed people, then I’m very happy for you but if you’re a person that wants to do stuff on your own or if you have interests that don’t include your significant other then you should feel absolutely free to do those things and shouldn’t feel guilty for it. Want to go on a world trip for three months all alone? Go ahead! Want to get a tattoo, get your nose pierced, want to have a solo night out and go back home plastered? Why not? You can have all the fun in the world and experience all the great experiences and after you get back, you will learn a bunch of new stuff, still have that awesome person with you and you will love them more for it.
2. Communicate like your lives depend on it because they do
I can’t believe how many problems and arguments I’ve heard about that have happened solely because of lack of communication. People in relationships often have such a hard time Listening to what their significant other has to say and act before they think. This often results in a bunch of misunderstandings, bad feelings, really ugly words and (I’m hoping only emotional) bruises. Really, guys, sometimes you just need to sit down and talk it out. Don’t get off those chairs, or bed, or benches, or whatever, until that stuff is worked out. Listen to your partner, openly and honestly express your thoughts and emotions on a regular basis. Don’t expect your partner to read your mind, because as much as you know each other, they can’t.
Don’t be disrespective, don’t ever ever ever go below the belt and for God’s sake don’t just hear what you want to hear. I’ve seen so many arguments where one person said one thing and the other one, in their anger and heated emotions, understood that sentence in a whole other way, further deepening the argument. Communicate, guys. Remember to do that. You will both be happier for it.
3. You don’t have to like each other at all times
This one particularly applies to me. Since I’m an anxious person and always overthink everything and anything that happens in my life, whenever I notice any fluctuation in my emotions towards my partner or vice versa, I get seriously worried and freak out about it. It’s silly, I know, but then I remember that I don’t have to be head over heels emotional about him every single day of my whole life or him towards me. Actually, I don’t think that it’s humanly possible to do that. There are some days when I will be frustrated with him. There are times where I won’t be especially enthusiastic about his company at all. There are times where I won’t even feel like talking to him, because I will rather be playing games or watching something or whatever else. To expect to be lovey-dovey at all times is downright silly and impossible and actually quite tiring to imagine, yet, some people tend to overreact when they notice a lack of affection from their partner. They are all like “Is everything ok? Are they angry with me? Why don’t they want to hang out? ” and the person is most probably just tired or feels like staying at home watching movies by themselves and that’s perfectly OK.
A relationship, especially if it’s for the long haul, is constantly changing and fluctuating. There will be good times, bad times, awesome times, boring times, just like life. If things remained the same all the time, things would get really boring really quick. You just have to take baby steps and enjoy the ride.