Despite what we see in the movies, love does not conquer all. Relationships take a lot to work, and, while love plays a big role in them, there are many other factors that need to be considered.
When it comes to a healthy relationship, there is so much more involved that the heart-stopping joy of being with the one you love…
You can love someone as much as physically possible, but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t trust them.
While it’s nice to think that love is enough, trust is one of the most important aspects of any relationship. If you can’t trust your partner, you end up trapping yourself in a horrible cycle of guilt, fear, and anger.
You run the risk of driving your partner away, or causing them to resent you for limiting their behaviors or actions. Remember that you are with your partner for a reason, and try to be honest about how you feel.
Compromise is the key to making most things in life work, and is especially important in romantic or intimate relationships.
We’re fuelled by the media’s image of meeting our ‘perfect’ partner, the ‘other half’ of ourselves, and assume that it will all be plain-sailing from then on. We love the idea of love so much that we forget what it actually means to love someone.
Accepting that someone may want different things to you while still being with you is so important. It would be strange to meet someone who has the exact same opinions and desires as you.
Compromising shouldn’t feel like you’re giving in or sacrificing part of your personality, and is a way of meeting in the middle without causing either side to feel uncomfortable. Love is fantastic, but reality is much better.
Time And Patience
Relationships take time and you need to be willing to invest in them. Choosing to be with someone means taking the time to show them why you want to be with them, and letting them spend time doing the same with you.
New relationships take time and patience – unlike the Hollywood movies we all love so much, real relationships don’t always jump straight into the good bits! You’ll find that there will be bumps in the road, and you may find certain aspects of your relationship testing.
Be patient with your partner, and yourself, in the early days. You’re getting to know each other, as well as getting to know what you yourself are like in a relationship. As time goes by and you get more comfortable with each other, remember to retain this patience.
This is a key aspect of every relationship you’ll ever have, be it a friendship, intimate relationship, or work relationship. Having compassion for someone is so important, as it helps build trust, intimacy, and deeper connections.
By being empathetic, you allow your partner to be their true selves around you. Remember how it feels to be judged – you don’t feel comfortable expressing your true feelings for fear of backlash.
Be compassionate with your partner and remind them that you’re there for them. That’s what being in a relationship is – not huge gestures and declarations of love, but being there to hold their hand and listen.
In reality, you must be able to love yourself before others truly can. Without a level of self-love, you will never fully accept how someone else feels about you.
If you skip this stage, it’s likely that you’ll end up questioning how your partner could want to be with you – you’ll find yourself full of doubts and anxiety, which you’ll probably accidentally take out on your partner.
It’s so important to try to look after yourself and see yourself in a positive light. This way, when you are in a loving relationship, you’ll feel deserving and worthy of someone’s love, attention and devotion.
Relationships work on a basis of acceptance – of each other’s pasts, of each other’s lifestyles, and, ultimately, of each other’s behavior.
You don’t need to be totally in love with every single thing that your partner has done, or does, but you need to be okay with accepting it and moving on.
Resentment is such an issue in many relationships, and grudge-holding can cause a lot of problems further down the line.
Do your best not to hold anything against your partner – if something keeps cropping up and you’re finding it hard to deal with, talk about it! Acceptance involves communication…
We all know how important it is to communicate, but it’s something that is often overlooked in relationships. Talking is one of the key methods of communicating, so take time to tune in to what’s going on your relationship.
It can be all too easy to coast through things and not really think about what’s going on. Making a relationship work involves talking about your feelings, good or bad, and about your plans or hopes for the two of you as a couple.
Eye contact and body language speak volumes too. Sometimes, a light touch on the back or holding hands says everything your partner needs to hear – “I’m here.”
Being able to communicate freely is a way of reassuring each other that you’re committed to the relationship, as it shows levels of comfort and equality.
In an ideal world, your loved one would never do anything to hurt you. In reality, you’re both just human beings and it’s highly likely that you’ll upset each other at some point. It’s not necessarily a case of ‘forgive and forget,’ but it’s important to allow some room for error.
Remember that you are just normal people who make mistakes. Some mistakes are worse than others, of course, but relationships that are worth holding onto will always have bumps in the road.
Finding ways to forgive your partner for something they’ve done to upset you isn’t always easy, so it’s important to be open and honest about how you’re feeling.
Being honest is key to any healthy relationship. The ability to be open about your feelings, worries, and desires is so important, as it really sets the tone for the relationship. This includes negative thoughts, which aren’t something we tend to associate with the feelings of love.
Be honest about things that upset you as soon as you can identify them, as this prevents any build-up of anger or resentment that will cause problems later on.
By embracing all of your emotions, you let yourself be fully open with someone – that is what being in a relationship is all about.
Being in a healthy relationship involves so much more than just love – it involves compassion, patience, honesty, and acceptance. To know someone is to love them, so take the time and energy to really invest in making your relationship work.
By acknowledging that relationships take work, you’re gaining a wider awareness of your partner and of yourself, which is so important in terms of building and maintaining your connection.
Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.