Do you want a healthy relationship? Here’s the thing … relationships are not like you see on the television and movies. We often romanticise people in a way that is not healthy or productive for real romantic relationships. There is a difference between having realistic expectations and discussing your values and non-negotiables and believing that someone is going to whisk you off your feet and carry you away to fairytale land.
Real and healthy relationships take work and if you have to work at it that doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong – in fact, it means you’re doing it right. However, there are plenty of relationship rules out there that are giving you bad advice. So, here are 10 things to ignore so you can maintain a healthy relationship with your romantic partner.
#1: Your friends’ unsolicited advice
Let’s face it – sometimes friends do give lousy advice. This doesn’t mean you should be ignoring your friends – in fact, it’s the opposite. You both need time away from each other to hang out with your friends without feeling bad about it. So, unless your partner is constantly canceling on you to hang out with friends, encourage that time away from each other. It’s a healthy way to strike a balance between love and friendship. But make sure that you take unsolicited advice with a grain of salt.
When you hit a bump in your relationship it’s natural to dish to your friends and hope to get advice to steer you out of troubled waters. Remember this, every relationship is different so the advice they are dispensing might not be the right tonic for your relationship. Don’t be afraid to ignore advice, especially if you didn’t ask for it. If you find yourself constantly talking badly about your partner to your friends – you should know they’re probably not going to like that person. A healthy relationship is a reward that keeps on giving.
#2: Your partner’s unchangeable flaws
There will come a time in your relationship where you start to notice the other person’s flaws. Usually this happens after the “honeymoon phase”; somewhere around 2-6 months in. Don’t try to change your partner, learn how to live with them (unless they are destructive to their health). You have flaws, too, and that’s part and parcel of making a life with someone else. You love them, warts and all. If you truly want to make a healthy relationship last, then this is something to take notice of.
#3: Petty arguments
We all want to be “right”, and to some of us, this is very important but in a relationship, you need to learn to “pick your battles”. Think of a successful couple, one that’s been married for decades. Consider just how much needs to be resolved in that time period and how much compromise is necessary.
During an argument, it’s normal for people to try and hurt their partner in order to win the round. It’s not productive and will only serve to escalate things. So, when you find yourself in this position don’t pick the low hanging fruit and go in for the kill. Take a moment to calm yourself down and rise above it. Don’t you just want to find a resolution to the argument rather than making matters worse?
#4: The past
Learn to let go of the past – I mean, really let go. That time she crashed your car? That time he let the insurance lapse? Get over it – really move on. Whether it’s previous relationships or issues that you have had in the past that you have resolved and buried – just learn to ignore it. Dwelling on past problems is a recipe for disaster and will only cause aggravation to your relationship. Don’t cast them back up during an argument to score points. Leave problems from the past where they belong and move forward.
#5: Let stale arguments die
Never going to bed angry might sound like great advice, but there’s something to be said for a good night’s sleep providing you with much-needed rest and a fresh perspective. No one wants to stay up until 3 in the morning in an argument that’s going nowhere. Know when to call it a day and come together once your anger has subsided.
#6: Your exes
That means you don’t talk about any of your exes. Never. Honestly, it might be very tempting, but act as though you’re in the first relationship of your life and forget the past. Although it might seem like a good idea at the time to re-hash old arguments you had with an ex, it never, ever is – as that can be used against you in the future.
When your relationship first started there was a good chance that you discussed past relationships and where they had gone wrong, etc. Once you’ve had those initial conversations you can leave those exes in the past. No one wants to feel like they’re competing with a ghost.
#7: Gender stereotypes
If you live together you should have a share in the household chores. That doesn’t mean everything has to be split right down the middle, though. One of you may love to cook and in that case, the other can take care of the dishes. It’s all about finding a balance that’s right for you.
If you’re a man, don’t expect your female partner to do all the household stuff and if you’re a woman, don’t expect your male partner to pay all the bills. Yes, those are massive stereotypes – but the important thing to do is work out what’s best for you as a couple. My husband is a better cook and baker than I am, and I am better at budgeting and finance – but I also like to cook, and he is an amazing discount and bargain shopper, so we take it in turns.
#8: Changes in sexual behaviour
It’s completely normal for your sex-life to evolve throughout your relationship. Some couples might reach a point where it isn’t as often or as long. That’s okay. The longer you have been together, the more you need to go with the ebb and the flow. I do believe that sex is important to a relationship, however, and should be made a priority.
But go easy on yourself, particularly if something happens like a sickness or job loss – these can affect our libido. Learn to show non-sexual ways of relating too, such as helping with household duties, kisses and cuddles and proper listening techniques.
A healthy relationship is a longstanding relationship
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