It seems like relationships these days barely last. Here's my input on the major problems and simple solutions to those same issues that plague good relationships.
Nobody has ESP. If you are not able to communicate to your partner when something is wrong, what hope is there that the problem will be fixed? Women tend to be more emotional while men tend to be more literal. Not that it can't be the other way around because it is; we all use a combination of both but let me paraphrase relationship expert Mark Gungor to explain it.
In men's brains there are boxes. Each specific topic has its own box that he takes out, uses and puts back into that specific box. Women's brains are like a network where every single thing is connected to everything else.
So a woman might be having an issue with one thing and instead of explaining it directly to her partner, she will get angry and quarrel for a million other things except the one thing that is the source of what's bothering her. Men are generally the opposite. A guy might have an issue and say it so bluntly that he doesn't even realize he is hurting his partner's feelings, just by the WAY he said it. Now he doesn't necessarily mean it the way it sounds to his partner, it's just the blunt honesty that makes it painful.
In these ways, people end up having horrible communication problems to the extent that they are in relationships but not really together. Like a punctured car tire that is still rolling but only because it must. Communication is the key to a healthy relationship. Your relationship is not supposed to be like a war ground with each soldier behind their wall, throwing grenades at the other. This is a surefire way to destroy it. Instead, build...
Build each other up with positive words, encourage your partner in anything that they show interest about. And when something bothers you, talk to your partner. You can wait until you just had mind blowing sex or whenever it is you are both having really good personal time. Cuddle them close and say, "You know, I'll be honest, I really felt this way when you did _____ the other day." Or start with, "I have a confession." Then when they ask say, "When x happened a few weeks ago I really expected you to y but you didn't and I was disappointed/angry/sad/etc. I wasn't sure how to tell you because I didn't want you to overreact/get mad/ be sad/ etc." Your partner is human too and if they care about you, they'll be willing to listen to what you have to say about how you feel or how they made you feel. If you want something, wait until you see them in a good mood; all bubbly or smiley or doing whatever is their happy ritual, and say "You know I've been wondering about _____ ." Or "I was thinking maybe we could try x instead of y and see how it goes."
Also, don't ever just make any decisions sound like you already decided. Always ask them for their input on important stuff. Ask, "What do you think?" Or "Do you agree with me/this/it?" In this way you are letting them know that their opinion matters to you and that you see them as valuable.
Don't pass up on easy confidence boosters like complimenting what they wear, their hair, their smell, their new whatever they got or their old something they improved. These little things may seem unworthy of attention but with them your relationship could be vastly different.
I can't reiterate enough how important it is to let your partner know that you notice them, that you pay attention to them, that you think they are wonderful. And this is for all humans regardless of gender. Men need it and women need it. Even animals love it when you say they did a good job so who are we? If you are the most important person in their life and you don't communicate to them with both words and actions that they mean the world to you, there's no way they'll just know it. during the 'chase' or dating phase we always make the extra effort to communicate our affection but that's before getting into the relationship. When the deal is done and we get the person we wanted, we get accustomed to them and forget to feed their emotional egos. Always think of your relationship as a constant chase because it's up to you to keep your partner happy, flattered, content and invested in the future you both originally hoped to have.
Sweating the Small Stuff
Okay. So he leaves the cap off on the toothpaste every single time he uses it... Or every single time she takes her clothes off, they end up on the floor next to it instead of inside the clothes basket.
Overreacting much? These little issues are so small and so insignificant that an outsider looking in would wonder what brand of crazy you must be on. Why are you wasting time finding problems to make in your relationship? Why are you forsaking every good trait your partner has to focus on the few silly, trivial habits they have? Nobody's perfect... Get over it! Don't take small problems and magnify them into problem walls that block you from your partner. Roll with the punches... Chances are you also do a few things that drive them crazy too. It's just the way life goes. Always put your little issues into perspective.
Think of all the wonderful things your partner does for you. Then think of the issue. How does it compare?
Isn't it bearable considering how much you love that person? It is big enough of an issue that you would prefer to not be with that person because of it? If the answer is that you wouldn't leave, just take a deep breath and fix whatever it is that they are lacking or forgot. I'm sure that your partner will appreciate you for it, and for not making a big deal out of it. Hopefully it will also encourage them to be more accepting of your shortcomings too. Life is too big and important to sweat the small insignificant stuff.
Nobody is Willing to Compromise
Boy oh boy do people hate this one. Relationships are riddled with choices; which parents to visit for the holidays, which kind of restaurant do we go to, what type of movie do we watch, when do we take a vacation, what new things can we try in the bedroom? Big and small decisions must be made almost every day and compromise is a trait that is necessary for the playing field to always be even. Often in relationships everybody wants what they want, when they want it, regardless of how it affects their partner. This could never foster a healthy relationship.
Each party has to be willing to give in to their partner's wishes some of the time and for the sake of keeping the peace.
Remember, if its not that way from the beginning, your partner won't learn to compromise unless you show them (with words and actions) how to. When decisions have to be made and you see your partner particularly passionate about one of the choices don't even second guess, just go for it. And make sure you do so without seeming annoyed or angry. No debating, no arguing just give them the pleasure of their choice and add a kiss and hug with it. Then do your best to actually enjoy whatever choice they have made; no negativity, teasing, pouted face or annoyed look. Really enjoy it with them.
When the next decision comes around that you're particularly passionate about, slip in the puppy eyes and the "You had your way last time!" while asking them if you could have your choice now. The memories of the wonderful time they had will hopefully flood back to them and make them inclined to want you to be as happy this time. Compromise is a two way street. Always remember that. Also remember that it takes two to make an argument.
Lack of Trust
Why people are so damn suspicious all the damn time I will never know. Should my partner go through my phone? I went through my partner's phone. I want to go through my partner's phone but they won't let me. We live in a world where insecurity and immaturity go hand in hand. A relationship is not worth your time if there's no trust. Have you ever seen a paranoid person in a movie?
They are sweating and looking around at the drop of a pin, acting crazy because they believe whoever they are running from is going to get them. Insecure people act similarly. They assume every little thing is something, some clue, some piece of an imaginary puzzle, that some woman or man is attempting to step into their territory.... And end up destroying their relationships. If your partner is with you, trust that you are indeed the one they want to be with. From the minute you decide to be in a relationship, lay down the law; "Hey, I don't believe in cheating. If there ever comes a time when I'm no longer enough for you, respect me enough to say that and leave me. Don't string me along feeling everything is okay while you're fucking people behind my back."
Give your relationship space to flourish, focus on building a steady foundation together, turn to your partner in the times when you feel low and always let them know with words and with actions that they can turn to you when they are feeling low. Be there for them when they need you and ask them to be there when you need them. After a while there will be no words necessary, you will automatically cleave to each other whenever stressful situations arise.... instead of trying to kill each other like Mr. And Mrs. Smith.
Trust between two people in a relationship is like an impenetrable fortress while distrust creates cracks that other people inevitability try to fit themselves into, getting between the relationship.
And concerning phones which is a huge topic on Gag, there shouldn't be anything you need to hide on your phone. Sure you might have confidential conversations with close friends or people might confide their secrets in you that you wouldn't go publicising but your partner is your partner. Have enough maturity to respect your partner's privacy and not go sifting through their convos searching for stuff. This might sound confusing but let me put it like this. Would I hide my phone or not give my password to an SO? No I wouldn't. Because there's nothing to hide. Would I expect an SO to ask me to borrow my phone and then search through it when I give it to them? Nope. I'd feel highly offended that they felt the need to do that and extremely hurt that they think I'm hiding anything. So imagine that's the way your partner feels when you badger them. As I said, that's just making cracks in your relationship since your partner might say you don't trust them and then depending on their personality type, subconsciously/consciously either feel sad or begin to do exactly what they think you're accusing them of.
I'm not saying ignore blatant signs of cheating. If you can see significant changes in their behavior towards you... Or the person begins getting jumpy when you walk in on them using the phone, or they used to not care less and then starts keeping their phone 24\7... In such cases I say observe them carefully then confront them about what you think might be going on.
Most of the time if you hit someone unexpectedly with the "Why are you acting this way (list the behaviors)?" and then ask "Are you cheating on me?" Their behavior tells the truth at that point even if they manage to lie to your face.... The typical (look anywhere except in your eyes as they answer) look away, the look down, the look up at the ceiling, the big gulp, the crazy hands, the guilty laugh, the refusal to give a definite yes or no. It takes a different breed of manipulator to be able to look you in the eye and lie when asked off guard like this. So most times if it gets to this and their explanation of their behavior makes sense and they seem sincere that they are not cheating, you're probably good and should revert to these five things I'm mentioning to make your relationship stronger.
Not Getting to Know Your Partner's True Self
You think you know someone well, but how well do you really know them? If it took a person all the years of their life to get to being who they are today why do people assume that in a matter of months they can truly understand them? It will take years to really know your partner, years of observation and discussion with them, years of being the one they come to and seeing their reaction in different situations to really know them. So don't lose out on knowing every facet of their personality; some might even surprise you. Truly knowing them can save you from many arguments, can help you understand some of their behavior and help you also predict some reactions. So many people spend time and energy trying to learn all they can about their partner before they are together, pulling out all the stops to show that they know them, but what about after you guys decide to be together?
The learning and the growth is supposed to continue, don't stop trying to learn about your partner or thinking up ways to show you know them.
The best relationships are the ones that have participants caring enough to learn all they can about their partner. For example, by looking at your partner's upbringing, or the way they were treated when growing up, you might begin to understand why they tense up about certain issues or why they get weak in the face of certain difficulties. If you know which types of movies and songs your partner likes, that info might help you get them a more thoughtful gift. If you realize that memories are precious to you partner, you might be able to save the ticket stubs from your first movie and present it to them with an old photo somewhere down the road. The saying it's the little things that count definitely speaks to getting to know your partner inside out. This point is the reason many people feel misunderstood or unappreciated in relationships... Their partner never took the time to notice the minuscule details that hold relationships together.
Notice that I repeated some phrases and ideas a few times throughout this post. That was intentional; to embed these things in your minds....
- It's about words AND actions: No word is good enough without actions that support it. You can't say you're sorry but then do whatever it is you were supposedly 'sorry' about over and over. The way to show you are truly sorry about something is to not let it happen again. In this way your partner can KNOW you really are sorry... And this is the difference between words alone versus words AND actions.
- Little things count: noticing and acknowledging details of your partner's personality can only help your relationship.
- Don't stop your pursuit: Just because you get the guy or the girl you're pursuing. It doesn't end as soon as they agree to be in a relationship; that's just the beginning!
So in conclusion, keep in mind that words said from the heart in soft, non argumentative, non accusatory tones smoothen even the toughest topics. As per usual, timing is everything. Don't make molehills into mountains; learn to cope with the small stupid stuff. Appreciate them as a part of your partner's downfalls. We all have them anyway, nobody's perfect. Be willing to give and to take. A relationship is not a dictatorship, it's a partnership, compromise a little every now and again. Get to know who your partner really is on the inside... The ins and outs of their personality should be completely understood by no other the way you do. Make it your goal to know and understand your partner the best. And lastly throw out a little trust rope for them to grab on to. Make sure they know you are there to catch them, but also show them you trust them enough to let them catch you when you need it too.
Try these things and stop fucking up your good relationships :P