Speak to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero about this

30 Relationship Goals All Couples Should Aspire To

Disclosure: this page may contain affiliate links to select partners. We receive a commission should you choose to make a purchase after clicking on them. Read our affiliate disclosure.

A strong, healthy relationship is a thing of beauty. Although the right relationship should never be too much of a struggle, if you’re currently in or have ever been in a serious, committed relationship, you’ll know that it involves a lot of work.

The first rush of hormones and excitement may seem like it’s going to last forever, but there will come a point where the flame will start to die out if you don’t consciously put fuel on the fire.

On the one hand, it’s true that no two relationships will ever look quite the same. After all, every individual is different and has different wants and needs.

On the other, just because two people’s idea of perfection might be unintelligible to another couple, that doesn’t mean there aren’t certain generic goals that we can’t all aspire to; goals that keep relationships moving forward and evolving rather than stagnating.

I’m talking real goals; goals for a relationship that goes beyond the superficial. Things to aspire to as a couple that go far deeper than just taking the perfect photo to upload to Instagram with the caption #couplegoals.

Whilst there’s nothing wrong with sharing your love on social media now and again, the main focus of your relationship shouldn’t be good photo opportunities.

But what should the main focus be?

If you’re serious about nurturing your relationship beyond the initial honeymoon phase, here are a few goals that the two of you could consider setting yourselves to make sure it continues to flourish and grow for years to come.

9 Relationship Goals You Should Set

1. Have lives outside each other.

You know those couples who do absolutely everything together? Don’t be one of them!

It’s incredibly easy to get into a relationship and suddenly realize a few months (or years!) down the line that you have absolutely no life independent of your partner.

One of the keys to nourishing your romantic relationship is that you don’t let it push your relationships with your family, your friends, and even yourself to one side. If you do, you risk smothering the relationship.

Whilst it might seem strange that I’ve started this list by telling you to think about your other relationships and yourself rather than your partner, it’s important that you don’t become solely dependent on one person (or codependent on each other if you both let other relationships fall by the wayside).

No one person should be responsible for your entire happiness; it’s too heavy a burden to carry. That’s your job.

If you put too much pressure on your partner, it will only cause problems down the line. You’ll have far more interesting things to talk about if you can come back to each other after time apart with stories to tell and new-found knowledge to pass on.

2. Prioritize your relationship.

Having said all that, whilst you should never overburden your relationship, it should still be a priority for both of you.

Remind yourself not to take the relationship for granted at any point, and set aside time for the two of you to spend together.

Considering how hectic most of our lives are these days, particularly once children or other dependents are thrown into the mix, if you don’t schedule in quality time together, you probably won’t end up having any.

Aim to connect with each other daily for some one on one time. Fully focus on each other, even for just 15 minutes over a cup of tea, and arrange regular date nights or days when you can spend a few hours really enjoying one another’s company.

It can be helpful to see a relationship as a separate entity that actively needs nourishing. A fire, after all, will eventually die out when it’s burnt through all the available fuel. Time together is equivalent to stoking or throwing a log on the flames.

3. Have fun together.

I know, the phrase ‘working on your relationship’ doesn’t really sound like much fun. But it should be!

Make sure that as well as having the serious conversations, you’re also making time to have fun together.

Think back to the things you did together at the beginning of your relationship and dream up new things you could try.

Try not to take life so seriously and don’t be afraid to be silly and behave like kids again. Revive your in-jokes and take the Mickey out of each other. Enjoy each other’s company!

4. Push each other.

The ideal relationship shouldn’t be something that holds you back and means you stagnate; it should push you forward.

Have you ever witnessed one of those breakups or divorces where one or both parties go on to completely revamp their lives? Where they finally do all the things they always dreamed of, but never felt they could do whilst in the relationship.

Be the couple that does those things together, pushing each other and not settling for mediocrity.

You and your partner should do your best to encourage each other to strive toward your respective life goals, whether professional or personal. Be your partner’s biggest cheerleader and remind them they can do anything they set their mind to, and they’ll do the same for you.

5. Stimulate each other intellectually.

Whilst you don’t have to take an intellectual interest in all of the same things, you should have a genuine interest in each other’s minds.

One of you might love an outing to a museum or reading a good book on a Sunday afternoon; the other might be more of a film buff.

But, whilst it’s good to have different interests, you should still be able to have conversations that go beyond the superficial. Whether you discuss culture, politics, or even the meaning of life, you should be interested in delving deeper into the other’s thoughts.

If you think this is lacking in your relationship, try turning off the TV now and then, bypassing the small talk, and asking them about morality, aliens, sex, religion, the stars, their insecurities…

When you dig deep into the psyche of the person you love, you’ll find buried treasure.

6. …And sexually.

For the vast majority of people, sex is an important part of any romantic relationship. At the end of the day, we’re all animals with natural sex drives.

It’s also fairly natural, however, for sex in a long term relationship to become a little lackluster and for both parties to lose interest, particularly when life gets busy and stressful.

What’s required here is a determination to make things work. Just as you should put your cards on the table about your needs in other aspects of the relationship, discussions about sex need to be frank, open, and unashamed.

You should feel comfortable enough with your partner to be able to communicate your needs and ask them about theirs (whilst respecting each other’s boundaries at all times).

If you put the effort in to keep the fire burning and are willing to try new things, there’s no reason why sex can’t continue to get better as your knowledge of each other’s bodies and desires deepens over the years.

7. Put all your cards on the table.

Honesty is almost always the best policy. A healthy relationship shouldn’t be based on things that you both assume are ‘implied’ in a look or the way you phrase something.

Whilst discussions about relationships can be tricky to negotiate, if you both approach it with the intention of making things completely clear between you, talks like this will typically be positive and strengthen your bond.

Whether it’s a conversation about the future direction of the relationship or talk of a secret wish to emigrate to another country, yours and your partner’s expectations should be spelled out to avoid any confusion.

8. Work as a team.

If you’re in a committed relationship, you should view your partner as a teammate. If you share a household or have children or pets together, you need to be able to rely on one another.

Whilst the fairy tales don’t mention this part, the realities of cohabiting mean you both have to play your part to keep the show on the road.

At times, one of you will need the other to pick up the slack a little more, but it should always be reciprocated. When you need a bit more support, you should be able to ask for it, but you should always be more than willing to return the favor.

When you’re a team member, you always have each other’s backs and know where your loyalties lie.

9. Be kind to one another.

It can be very easy to find yourself lashing out at your partner. How many times have you cracked and said things you don’t really mean when you feel hurt by something they’ve done or not done?

It can be so tempting and so easy to let something scathing slip, but when you feel the temptation to lash out, keep it in. Passive aggressive behavior, manipulation, and sarcastic comments that you know will hit home will never help any situation.

They’ll only serve to drive a wedge between you and will probably mean your partner will start to put up defensive walls against you, not wanting to be hurt again.

You won’t always agree with one another – and that’s completely normal and healthy – but make it a priority to address any disagreements directly, quickly, and calmly, always holding the intention in your heart of not hurting your partner with any barbed words.

You know them so well that you know how to hit them where it hurts, but by committing to you, they’re trusting you not to use that knowledge against them.

Be kind and love with all your heart, and you won’t go too far wrong.

10. Try something new every now and then.

Relationships fall into a rut because there’s no more sense of adventure. Couples often miss the thrill of discovering and trying new things.

Don’t let your relationship become monotonous. Make a decision to try something new at least once a month.

Try exotic cuisine and adrenaline-pumping activities. Travel to a new place, even if it’s just an hour away from where you live.

Remind yourself to be more spontaneous and adventurous every now and then. Go to an escape room, rent a limo, or go parachuting. You don’t have to go that far, but feel free to get crazy sometimes.

If there’s something that you’ve been dying to try but never got the opportunity, create that opportunity with your partner. When you get a chance to try something new that you might not have considered before, give it a chance. Keep rediscovering your interest, likes, and dislikes.

Don’t go to the same restaurant every time, even if it’s the restaurant where you fell in love with each other. Have regular date nights and make sure to go to different places and try different things.

Keep the spark alive, and don’t let each other get bored in the relationship. You can even meet new people and befriend other couples that are just as fun as you are.

11. Be each other’s friend.

Don’t be just lovers, be friends too. Be there for your partner when they need you and expect the same from them.

If your relationship works out, you’ll be together in sickness and in health. Practice that now and show up for each other to give support.

Being a friend also means being loyal to your partner and having their back. It means having fun with them and trusting them too.

Your partner is the first person you should call with big news, whether it’s good or bad. You should know that you could rely on them and turn to them when you need help or advice. They’ll celebrate your accomplishments and give you the shoulder to cry on when you fail.

When you’re friends, it will be easier for you to be honest with each other and make each other happy. You’ll respect each other’s need for a personal life and push each other to grow.

Most importantly, you’ll be able to spend quality time together and communicate effectively. Your friend is also someone you confide in and trust to keep your secrets.

12. Make plans for your future together.

You should talk about your individual goals to your partner, but also plan things that you can do together.

Make realistic goals such as planning a vacation together. However, feel free to fantasize a bit as well. You don’t know what the future has in store for you, but you know if you would like to live together. Feel free to discuss how you’ll decorate your first home together.

You can go into as much detail as you’d like when you’re planning a future together, so have fun. If you both want kids, you can even talk about names. Just make sure that you’re aware of which plans are realistic and serious and which are just a fantasy for now.

Living together, getting married, and having kids aren’t unrealistic plans. It just might be too soon for them, so don’t get carried away. However, talking about these things is perfectly normal and good for your relationship. Your partner shouldn’t be afraid of discussing the future with you if they want to have a future with you.

Make sure to set some specific goals that you’ll be serious about achieving some time soon. This can be something simple like starting a new hobby together, adopting a pet, or going to a concert. Depending on the length and seriousness of your relationship right now, set appropriate goals.

13. Love and trust each other.

Always show affection to your partner. Make them feel loved by kissing them, hugging them, holding hands, and anything else that feels right.

Don’t focus only on physical intimacy though – build emotional and intellectual intimacy too. Talk to them (and about them) kindly and give them compliments.

Show love with small and big romantic gestures. Support your partner’s decisions and let them support your choices too.

Most importantly, trust each other. Don’t be suspicious or jealous when your partner is away from you, especially if they gave you no reason to doubt them. Instead, encourage them to have fun with their friends and chase after their dreams.

Love and trust are the foundations of a healthy relationship. Without them, you don’t have what it takes to make it as a couple.

You shouldn’t have doubts about your partner’s feelings for you and about their loyalty. If you do, either you are right, or you have to work on your trust issues to truly love your partner.

14. Be willing to forgive each other.

Occasionally, you are going to make mistakes. Everyone does, it’s only human. You are going to fight and hurt each other. It happens in every relationship. But, it’s how you deal with it that makes all the difference.

Don’t let resentment into your relationship. Learn to forgive each other instead. Accept that you’re not perfect and that mistakes happen. When they do, the one who made the mistake should try to make up for it. But, more importantly, the other person should be willing to let them make up for it.

Learn to apologize when you’re wrong and accept an apology when your partner does wrong.

Don’t keep score or make it your goal to be right all the time. Those kinds of things ruin relationships. It doesn’t matter who’s right – what matters is that you sort things out. Don’t give your partner the silent treatment. Be willing to bury the hatchet after a big fight.

15. Keep surprising each other.

Being reliable and being predictable are not the same thing. Keep the spark alive by surprising your partner every now and then. Surprise them by cooking them their favorite meal, sending them a romantic text, or buying them a thoughtful gift.

Doing things like these is important in a relationship. You shouldn’t stop putting effort into wooing each other just because you’ve been together for a long time.

Surprise your partner with gifts related to their likes and interests. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive. Even simply picking up their favorite candy when you’re grocery shopping is a kind, romantic gesture.

You can also surprise each other by planning fun, new activities and dates. Why don’t you suggest a night of wine and cheese tasting? Maybe you could sing karaoke? You could buy everything you need for a few hours of painting on a canvas in the park. Why not have a picnic while you’re at it? Make sure to enjoy life and make it interesting.

16. Understand your love languages.

What is your partner’s preferred way of giving and receiving love? How about yours? The five love languages are physical touch, quality time, acts of service, gifts, and words of affirmation.

Maybe your partner isn’t much of a sweet talker, but they’re there when you need something done. Perhaps you’re not amazed by gifts but spending quality time with your partner makes you feel loved.

Learn about each other’s love language, and it will be easier to show each other love.

A lot of times, a person feels unloved in a relationship when in reality they just don’t recognize their partner’s love language. They don’t understand that their partner is showing them love, they’re just doing it in their preferred way.

Love has a different meaning to different people. To some, it means being able to hug and kiss the person you love. To others, the true proof of love is being there for your partner when they need a helping hand.

Some people prefer quality time, gifts, or verbally expressing affection. All of this is okay, it’s just important that you understand each other’s way of showing love.

17. Talk about marriage and children.

It might be too soon for marriage and kids, but it’s not too soon to know where your partner stands when it comes to these things. Do they want to get married someday? Do they want to have kids eventually? Do you?

It’s important to talk about these things in the relationship. Sure, you might not be ready to marry each other right away, but you should know whether that’s a possibility in the future. You should be honest and open about where you stand when it comes to marriage and children.

Some couples don’t want to get married and have kids. They’re perfectly fine with living together, and that’s okay, as long as it’s what they both want.

If you don’t both want the same thing, it’s going to cause problems in your relationship. So, talk about these things ahead of time. You should be able to know what you can expect from a relationship.

18. Embrace changes.

People are supposed to grow and change. A lot of changes happen in life and that’s normal. Don’t expect things to always be the same or for your partner to never change.

Instead, embrace changes and make positive ones. Old habits can bring a sense of security that’s actually false. It’s normal to want something stable in life, but if that stability is preventing your growth, it’s not good for you.

Accept that things change and don’t get too comfortable. Work on making positive changes on your own instead of waiting for them to happen. When they do, consider whether they’re beneficial for you or they prevent your growth. Act accordingly.

Every day brings something new, and you’re not the same person you were the day before. With every day, slight changes happen in us and in our lives. You can’t fight that just because you want to stay in your comfort zone. Be prepared for a brand new day.

19. Regularly set new goals.

Because of all these changes, you’ll need to revisit your goals every once in a while. Keep setting new goals and try to be realistic when you do.

This doesn’t apply only to the relationship goals that you’ll work on together. Have individual goals as well, and let your partner encourage you to pursue them.

Answer me this: how long have you and your partner been together?

5 years? 10 years? Longer?

No doubt at some point during that time – probably on multiple occasions – you’ve sat down at work with your boss and discussed your work performance, the overall health of the business, and the plans for the business’ future.


…so why isn’t this a regular occurrence in relationships?

We know how important it is to review and revisit goals in a work environment, but it’s just as important – if not more so – to do the same type of review with your intimate partner(s).

Talk about your relationship every now and then and see what you can improve and set as a new goal. Always ask yourself whether you are happy with the way things are, and if you’re not, take action.

20. Consider relationship counseling.

At some point, all couples need outside help in maintaining their relationship. Counseling isn’t only for situations where you see no other way out of your problems. It’s for whenever you need help in dealing with your problems and creating the relationship that you want to have.

Counseling is not a taboo anymore. Couples use it not just to save their relationship, but to implement slight changes that could help them be happier. You deserve the kind of relationship that you want to have. When you try and see that you can’t, ask for help in getting there.

Your partner and you could talk to a counselor together or separately. They could help you improve yourselves or your relationship or both!

Don’t settle for how things are if you want them to be better. They can be, it just might require some time, effort, and a little help from someone experienced with the situations that you’re dealing with.

21. Keep dating.

Don’t stop dating just because you’re in a committed relationship already. This means having regular date nights, but not just that. Keep flirting with each other like you did when you first started dating too. Make each other feel special and put effort into wooing your partner.

When it comes to date nights, experience new and interesting things together, and it will help you develop a deeper bond. There are plenty of fun date ideas available online, so you just need to choose the ones that you’d like.

Consider your partner’s likes and interests when choosing a good date idea for the two of you. Maybe there’s something that they usually do alone that you can try doing together. Whether it’s bowling, going to the theatre, or going dancing, try it out with them if you haven’t already. It counts as a date and you might find that you enjoy the same things that they do.

A date night can be a simple night of pizza and movies and that’s perfectly fine. However, make sure that you also go out sometimes. Go to a fancy restaurant every now and then, and not just on special occasions. Make sure to do something fun and creative too.

If you’ve been together for a long time, you might have entirely neglected to date. Treat each other the way you did when you first fell in love.

22. Have couple friends.

It’s great if you have friends that you hang out with separately. As said at the beginning, having a life outside of the relationship is important. However, make sure to also have some friends that you can hang out with together.

Try to find other couples like you. You could share experiences with them and relate to them. Host dinners or go on double dates with your couple friends.

You’ll get to see how other couples handle their differences, and it might be useful to you. Some of your single friends might be bored with hearing about couple’s problems. Another couple might be going through the same thing you are. They might also be moving toward the same relationship milestones.

23. Share household chores.

It’s never fair when only one person does everything around the house. Even if they don’t have a job, and the other person does, it’s not okay that they do absolutely everything. Share household chores. If one of you doesn’t have a job, they can do more, but not all of it.

Doing household chores can be less tiresome if you do it together. While one of you takes care of dusting the apartment, the other one could vacuum the carpets. You could prepare a meal together, and it will be much easier than cooking alone.

It’s not always possible to share household chores entirely equally but aim to achieve a higher level of equality in your relationship than you have now.

If one of you does more one day, the other one can do more the next day. You shouldn’t keep score, but you should both feel like you’re not doing much more than your partner when it comes to chores. Aim to make each other’s lives easier.

24. Be romantic.

Bring your partner breakfast in bed, stargaze together, write them a poem, or light some candles.

Sometimes, the little things that couples do for each other are more romantic than the romance we see in movies. It can be romantic when your partner remembers how you like your coffee or reminds you to take an umbrella in the morning because they’ve checked the forecast.

However, make sure to do the typical romantic things as well.

What are the typical romantic things? Well, buying flowers or chocolates, going on a romantic getaway trip, writing letters. It can be simpler, like preparing your partner a meal, taking a long walk with them, or taking them dancing.

It can also be like a movie scene if you, for instance, kiss your partner in the rain. Rose petals and candles are like a starter kit for romance too.

Romance doesn’t belong only on the big screen; you can have it in real life. It just takes a little thought and effort to feel like you’re living in love movies.

Speaking of love movies, whether you like them or not, it’s not a bad idea to watch some together as a couple. Classic is classic for a reason, so don’t let the romance die.

25. Be a part of the family.

When you’re together for a while and serious about the relationship, you meet each other’s family. In a perfect world, you’d become a part of each other’s families. This doesn’t always happen, though, and not everyone can get along.

However, the important part is that your partner wants you to feel like family. You want them to be a part of your family too. If you’ve tried to get along with their folks and they made effort to leave a good impression on yours, you did all you could.

If your families approve of your relationship, it will be likelier to succeed. However, you aren’t doomed if they don’t like you or your partner. As long as the two of you want to be a family, you might be one in the end.

On the other hand, if your families are accepting and even make you feel like family, you’ve accomplished one of the big relationship goals!

26. Talk about money.

It’s not very romantic to talk about money, but it’s a part of life that you can’t avoid.

Do you have debts? Have you talked about your financial goals? Are you considering buying a house together? Could you open up a bank account? Who is going to take care of which expenses? What are your spending habits?

At some point in a relationship, you have to answer these and other questions about money.

If you don’t already live together, once you do, you’ll have to have this talk. Bills and rent must be paid, and one person shouldn’t take care of all expenses. Try to be on the same page when it comes to finances.

Talk about your financial goals too. Maybe one of you is saving for a vacation while the other one wants to buy a new car as soon as possible. Share these things with each other so that you can be in sync when it comes to money.

27. Talk more than you text.

Texting is fine, but you should definitely talk more in person than through texting. If most of your important conversations are through texting, it’s not good for your relationship.

You should especially avoid having fights through messages. You can always say that you can continue the conversation when you see each other in person.

When you’re reading someone’s text, you can’t see their body language or hear their tone of voice. In addition, people often don’t text the way that they’d normally talk. So, a lot of misunderstandings happen because of texting.

Use texting to be romantic, schedule dates, and express your love. When it comes to everything else, it’s much better to talk about it once you get together.

28. Make each other feel happy and loved.

Do little things for your partner that you know make them feel happy and loved. They shouldn’t just hear about your love, they should feel it because of the actions that you take.

Yes, your partner shouldn’t rely on you for their happiness, but you should have the intention of making them happy.

When you love your partner, you want what’s best for them. You do things for them just to see them smile. When the relationship isn’t making you happy anymore, there’s no point in being in it.

29. Respect each other.

Love is a big part of being in a relationship, but so is respect. Don’t disrespect your partner’s boundaries. Treat them with kindness and respect even when you fight. Don’t hurt them with words when you can phrase your thoughts respectfully.

Respect their thoughts and opinions too. Include them when making important decisions and ask for their advice.

Don’t put them down and make them feel small. Don’t objectify them. Stay respectful instead and your relationship is likely to work out.

30. Go through all the important relationship milestones.

Your relationship should move forward over time. You should be aware of where it’s heading.

Maybe you don’t want to get married or have kids, but you’d like to live together and adopt a pet. Move in that direction and don’t back down when the time comes to take that step.

Getting married and starting a family aren’t the only two relationship milestones, and they’re optional. Make sure to go through relationship milestones such as saying the L-word, meeting the family, traveling together, having your first big fight, moving into your first home together, or getting engaged.

If your relationship moves forward and you know where you want it to go, enjoy the journey and get to the destination.

The Importance Of Revisiting Relationship Goals With Your Partner

Answer me this: how long have you and your partner been together?

5 years? 10 years? Longer?

No doubt at some point during that time – probably on multiple occasions – you’ve sat down at work with your boss and discussed your work performance, the overall health of the business, and the plans for the business’ future.


…so why isn’t this a regular occurrence in relationships?

We know how important it is to review and revisit goals in a work environment, but it’s just as important – if not more so – to do the same type of review with your intimate partner(s).

If you’re asking why, let me explain…

Time = Change

Think about where you were when you were 20 years old. Or, if you’re 20, think of the person you were when you were 15.

A lot has changed since then, hasn’t it?

Hell, a lot has likely changed in the past six months, let alone over the past few years or decades.

Whether it’s through overall life experience or sudden epiphanies, we all grow and change as time passes.

That doesn’t just mean you: it means your partner as well.

They’re unlikely to be the exact same person you met and fell for X amount of time ago, and their own personal aspirations and needs are likely to have shifted significantly as well.

The key is to talk to them openly and candidly about where they are, how they’re feeling, and whether they’re happy about current circumstances.

Talking Openly Can Be Really Scary

One of the main reasons why people hesitate to talk to their partners about their relationship is because they’re terrified that the other person will say that they’re unhappy.

Or worse… that they want to end the relationship.

People will go to extraordinary lengths to stay in a “safe space,” where they feel secure and comfortable.

Maintaining the status quo is a lot easier than facing the very real possibility of losing someone they care about. And losing their comfortable little happy place with it… even if it stopped being truly happy a long time ago.

Consider how many people you know who talk to you about their relationship woes instead of talking to their partners about them.

Why is that?

Why do people hesitate to be honest and forthright with the person who’s closest to them?

The main reason most people give for their lack of open communication is because they’re scared of hurting the other person.

I mean, when we think about our partners, spouses, etc., we’re with them for a reason, right?

We wouldn’t be with these people if we didn’t love them dearly.

Even if romantic love has cooled a little bit, we still care for them deeply and wouldn’t want to cause them any pain.

If we tell them that certain feelings have changed, or that personal interests and life goals have shifted, we run the very real risk of hurting someone we care about quite deeply.

The thing is, when we discuss these matters openly – with loving kindness and compassion – we open the doors to growth and change.

Those don’t need to be scary: they can actually be incredibly healing and beautiful.

For all we know, our partners may feel the same way that we do, and have been hesitating to talk to us for the same reasons: they don’t want to hurt us, they’re afraid that voicing certain needs will rock the boat, etc.

But once those floodgates are open, there’s an amazing opportunity to work through things with our loved ones and move forward together, into more positive, happier, more fulfilling realms.

Renegotiating The Contract

Whether you’re in a marriage, a civil partnership, or any other kind of relationship, it’s more than likely that certain goals and boundaries have been established.

You may have decided to work toward a specific goal together (like buying a house), and have personal rules that need to be respected (like having X time to yourself on a particular day).

But… what happens when personal goals and desires change?

Is it more important to keep plodding toward a contract you signed up to years ago if you’re a different person now?

How do you know that the other person is still invested in this goal as well?

Simple. You talk to them.

Imagine that house-buying scenario for a minute. Let’s say that when they got together, a couple decided that they would save up to buy a house.

As the years have gone by, one of them knows for a fact that they don’t really want to buy a home and settle down just yet: they’d rather spend a year travelling the world… but they don’t tell their partner that, because of the goal they committed to together.

…meanwhile, unbeknownst to them, their partner feels the same way.

THEY would rather take a year off and do a whole lot of travelling together, but they don’t want to say anything for fear of upsetting their loved one, risking hurt and conflict and a potential breakup.

So the two of them plod forward with fake smiles and forced enthusiasm, looking at real estate listings instead of travel brochures. They’re both miserable, and that misery could turn into a breakup in the not-too-distant future.

If they’d just TALK to each other about how they really feel, they could do the travelling that they both want to do and be truly happy – doing exactly what their hearts and souls ache for, together.

The Worst Truth Is Better Than The Best Lie

Have you heard the expression, “This above all: to thine own self be true”?

It’s really important to live authentically, but many (possibly most) people don’t.

They put on masks and maintain facades in order to make other people happy. To keep up appearances, keep others comfortable in their content little bubbles, all the while dying inside because they’re living a lie.

Being honest about who you are and what you need is immensely freeing, and can actually alleviate all kinds of emotional and mental hardships.

Sure, there’s inevitably going to be negative fallout, but that passes with time.

What you’re left with is the freedom to be who you really are, and pursue what you really need to make your soul shine.

With regard to how this might affect your relationship, you could be dealing with anything from an aching desire to change careers or go back to school, to the need to transition gender to the one that you feel is right for you.

Plodding onward in a life that doesn’t fit you anymore isn’t good for you or those you share your life with.

Partners and children can tune into your despair, and it affects them in turn.

Even if you feel like you’re maintaining that status quo really well, there are undoubtedly undercurrents that ripple outward into the lives of those around you.

You May Be Pleasantly Surprised

As mentioned, one of the main reasons why a person may hesitate to discuss what may be considered as a “difficult” topic with their spouse is because they’re afraid of how they might respond.

We usually assume how another person will react, but those assumptions are often based on personal bias.

Basically, we never really know how a person will respond to a subject or situation until we broach it with them.

Case in point: a married couple that stayed together during the male (now female) partner’s gender transition. It must have been excruciating for the trans partner to open up to her wife about how she felt, but she received unconditional support and acceptance.

Long-term relationships need to shift and change, lest they stagnate. Some couples find that they’re happier if they become polyamorous, and some polyamorous couples may try monogamy.

A couple that has always balked at raising kids might suddenly want to become parents. Or cat people might secretly love to adopt a dog.

Humans are constantly growing and changing, whether it’s emotionally, spiritually, physically, or a mix of all of the above (and more).

Expecting a relationship to remain constant and unchangeable in the face of ever-shifting sands is unrealistic.

You and your partner love and respect one another. Offering each other the chance to live your authentic truths, with support and encouragement, is part of that love and respect.

It’s great to give them the opportunity to step up and be the partner they know they can be, even if things may be a little weird now and then.

Isn’t that what partners are for?

Give them the chance to be awesome.

“Are You Happy With The Way Things Are?”

That’s an incredibly powerful-yet-difficult question to ask the one you love.

Chances are, if they burst into tears upon being asked that, the answer might be “no.” If it IS no, this is the opportunity to address it.

In fact, if you’re both unhappy, this is the perfect time for both of you to splay all your stuff on the table and find a way to sort through it together.

When you’re in a relationship with another person, it’s more than likely that your greatest wish is for one another’s happiness.

By being open and honest, you not only have a greater chance of attaining your own authentic joy: you have the ability to help them reach theirs.

These open dialogues allow you to bring up topics that you feel need to be addressed with your love one(s), in a safe, loving, and non-judgmental space.

You may also like:

About The Author

Katie is a writer and translator with a focus on travel, self-care and sustainability. She's based between a cave house in Granada, Spain, and the coast of beautiful Cornwall, England. She spends her free time hiking, exploring, eating vegan tapas and volunteering for a local dog shelter.