How To Keep Falling: 10 Rules For Lasting Relationships
At their core, human relationships —whether romantic, platonic or otherwise— are about love and understanding.
It’s rather unfortunate, then, that there’s no college class or crash course to teach us how to maintain healthy relationships. Society just kind of expects us to get relationships right through trial and error, and I’m sure that’s led to immeasurable amounts of heartbreak throughout human history. Just look at the plays of Shakespeare or any one of the Greek tragedies, and you’ll see what I mean.
How are we supposed to deal with jealousy, insecurity, and distrust? What is a healthy outlet for disappointment, frustration, or even anger in our relationships?
It is my goal with this article to help all of us lay down a few simple rules. Rules to ensure we all enjoy more robust and healthier relationships in the face of life’s adversities and our own shortcomings so that we can be better partners for the ones we love most.
I’ll be honest - I’m not a licensed marriage counselor or anything like that. I’ve been in a relationship for only a little over a decade. My rules are in no way iron-clad nor fool-proof but, with clear intentions, if this article goes on to save even one relationship, it will have served its purpose.
Without further ado, here is my list of essential rules for building the foundation of a lifelong romantic relationship:
Respect One Another
The first rule of sustaining a healthy relationship is to respect your partner. You must respect your partner’s time, heart, character, and, of course, trust, and you must expect the same in return.
Remember that a number of acts can undermine the feeling of respect that is provided or received. Examples include:
- secretly checking your partner’s cell phone,
- making ultimatums,
- threatening to quit the relationship.
Avoid such behavior at all costs because it will only make it even more difficult for you and your partner.
You must always be fully honest with your partner if you want to maintain a healthy relationship and deepen your emotional bond, even when you’re afraid your honesty will hurt. Honest couples express their feelings, ideas, and perspectives on a variety of issues and aren’t hesitant to speak their minds.
When you both commit to being fully honest with one another, communication becomes much easier, and your trust in one another grows.
It is well-established that lying gets you nowhere —not in the long run, anyway. Being sincere, truthful, and upfront with your partner is the only way to foster mutual trust, respect, and lasting confidence relationships are built on.
Honest communication is a good start, but that needs to go with openness to communication. Direct communication will do your relationship no good if you or your partner aren’t open to the implications of what you are trying to tell each other.
Open communication can seem easy when you express your love, praise, and admiration for each other. But, more often than that, we choose to dismiss unpleasant situations and avoid conflict. Discussing unpleasant situations or conflicts is even more critical because ignoring and dismissing conflicts can not solve them.
To grow together and lay the basis for a successful relationship, a couple has to be able to completely share their feelings, both the good and the bad.
Demonstrate Your Affection
When we are in a long-term relationship, we tend to neglect to express our affection for our partners over time. Affection communicates love to your beloved for being at your side and is a fundamental way to maintain a healthy relationship.
Simple gestures, kind words, and a genuine interest in your partner’s life will boost a relationship’s intimacy and make your significant other feel loved.
Don’t Even Think About How Green The Grass On The Other Side Is
The happiest and strongest couples avoid comparing their relationships with those of others — if you’re in a serious relationship, stay away from dating sites (on the other hand, if you’re a single LGBTQI+ person who’s somehow found your way to this article, I highly recommend Taimi app).
People in strong relationships know that though they and their partner may have conflicts, daydreaming about being with someone else won’t fix anything and will only make things worse. You have to concentrate on mending and strengthening your relationship through the hard times.
Find Things You Enjoy Doing Together
When a relationship is new, it’s not uncommon to find ourselves wanting to spend as much time as possible with our partner. But, spending every waking moment with or talking with our partners doesn’t necessarily mean we’re building a strong relationship.
Do you really think you’re building a deeper bond by asking your partner what they just ate for the 11th time this week? Rather, find common ground —things you both enjoy— and talk about that, or, even better, do those things together.
Find activities that let you relax, bond, and have fun. These can be museum trips, picnics, sports, music, or even video games. Bonding in this way can help to sustain and strengthen your relationship.
It should go without saying that these activities can be just as detrimental to your relationship if you are a sore loser or a spoiled sport, so remember that you love this person, and when they win, you win.
The more quality time you spend together, the more you will get to know them and the stronger your relationship will be.
Do The Sex
Depending on your beliefs and the stage of your relationship, you may want to pass on this suggestion. But, studies show that sex helps couples bond by cultivating a physical connection on the most intimate level.
Indulge In Your Partner’s Playfulness
At any point, either you or your partner is going to be more serious than the other. Don’t take offense at playfulness, instead show your partner you care by taking a break from your seriousness to share their in-joke or use your silly pet names in front of your friends.
Likewise, don’t take it too hard if your playfulness isn’t reciprocated. Fall back on Rule 1.
Take Time For Yourself
Spending all of your time together can lead to codependency. Remember your partner fell in love with you for who you are, so don’t be afraid to bite the bullet and take the time you need to rediscover yourself if you ever find your “I” lost in you and your partner’s “us.”
Put In The Effort
The last relationship rule to keep in mind is that nothing genuinely flourishes without conscious effort. If you want to keep your relationship alive, realize that “falling” in love is a myth. Love is a constant effort. It’s a series of small and major ordinary and occasionally extraordinary acts that add up to a lifetime reward that is more than the sum of its parts.
Reading this list is a good start, but it should only be the beginning! Ultimately, it is up to you and your partner whether you decide to take my advice, or anyone’s advice, grow as individuals, and together, to improve your relationship.