I’m not really a relationship expert and I’m far from being considered for the World’s Best Girlfriend, at any point. I don’t have years of relationship experience to be credible enough for this, either. So what makes me confident enough to write about this? Because it works — just trust me on this.
Always practice complete honesty and openness with each other. No one is born a mind reader. You cannot expect your partner to know exactly what’s on your mind all the time, especially if you tend to keep things to yourself. Having an open line of communication is an integral part of any relationship. It feels like such a relief when you find someone whom you can just talk to about literally anything, free of any judgments and free of things being used for a future argument. Nothing makes a person clam up more than being shamed or judged for what they feel or think. Take this as a time as well where you need to be clear about yourself, your values and your boundaries. You need your partner to confide in you, and vice versa. If you have to walk on eggshells around the other person, it’s time to take a pause and rework the communication line.
Genuinely accept when you’re wrong. No one is ever comfortable at admitting to themselves or to their partners when they’re wrong but it pays big time when you recognize your own faults. Having two differentiating opinions is a different story; I’m talking about blatantly doing something to hurt your partner. Like offending the other party, not respecting their opinions/boundaries, physically or emotionally abusing the your partner. The key is that it’s not only about the act of apologizing itself; it’s to feel and being sincere about it as well. Offer what you can do to correct a mistake, if you’re able to.
Learn to let arguments go. This one’s a little bit tricky especially if certain actions become repetitive and worsening by the minute but as a general rule, when an argument has been resolved and hashed out, let it go. I’m not saying completely forget about what happened or play dumb until it happens again, but learn to stop bringing the same argument over and over to the present or to the future unless it’s completely warranted. Nothing is more annoying than having someone pile up the fights by bringing receipts of the past.
Always value both your individuality. Before you became part of a couple, you have your own life and so does your partner. You have to always keep in mind that you both deserve a level of respect when it comes to privacy and individuality. Your partner is not a dog that you can put in a leash to be with you all the time and expect that they’ll put other things on hold over you, whenever you want. You have to have a life outside of that relationship too to keep it healthy. Having quality time with yourself also applies to this. Understand that the other person also needs time to spend alone doing things they like that don’t necessarily involve you. This doesn’t mean that they don’t want to spend time with you. Allow yourself and your partner some freedom, so you won’t be in a co-dependent type of relationship.
Prioritize yourself. There are a handful of us who are lucky enough that their partner takes care of every little thing for them and all they’re left to do is literally breathe. But not everyone will have a partner like that, and no partner ever owes to take care of you that way ever. Do not expect someone to cook for you, or do things for you; you’re not getting into a relationship with your mom or a servant. You have the sole responsibility of taking care of yourself first.
Don’t trouble yourself with useless mind games. I will never truly understand couples who like to test each other with mind games. It’s pointless and a waste of time which only purpose is to highlight that there’s underlying problems that are not being seriously addressed. Trust is something both should earn and should come naturally if you ask me, but that doesn’t merit having the necessity to play mind games on each other to see if it is true. If they’re trustworthy, it will show. If you think your partner is hiding something quite questionable in the first place, ask them about it. If you sense that something is really off, then it might be time to think if you need to walk away.
Don’t force the communication. Adulting comes with a set of myriad priorities and responsibilities so you can’t really expect someone to be 24/7 always on their phones, catering to your every whims. Most especially, not everybody will always feel in a good mood to talk. Respect other people’s time, especially when they’re doing other important things. Filling out the silence from time to time is enough, but it’s not a necessity to be on each other all day, everyday. You don’t need to know every step by step detail of their daily lives to feel connected. You have to understand that sometimes, being forced to communicate with someone daily can take a negative toll on them; so as much as you can, avoid that from happening.