Love is the most irrational and beautiful thing we experience in this strange world of ours. To me, love is a force. It motivates us to act in ways that go against our own interests. I don’t mean this negatively. Instead of focusing solely on ourselves, we invite someone else in. We start to care about them, resulting in a less-selfish lifestyle. I believe anyone who is truly in love will do pretty much anything to keep their partner happy and the relationship positive. But is this healthy? Or do we lose ourselves in the process?
Relationships are hard. I don’t know a single couple who hasn’t struggled at some point. I don’t claim to have all of the answers. Still, I believe there are healthy habits and workarounds for everyone who is in a relationship or hopes to be in a relationship one day.
1) Keep the amount of digital communication in check.
Nowadays, it is not uncommon for people to carry on a conversation over text FOR THE ENTIRE DAY. This is a big no-no in my book. I see this a lot when people are beginning a new relationship. Ah, the dangerous honeymoon phase… For some, the constant texting can create anxiety when the texting stops because one partner is busy. It’s addicting. Seeing that special person’s name pop up on your phone as a notification does give you a little high. Additionally, I don’t understand how people have that much to talk about. If I were to do that, my texts might read:
Riveting conversation, right?
In all seriousness, put down the phone and get back to doing what you are supposed to be doing. Live in the moment. A few texts a day are fine, or more if you are texting to make plans. But other than that, save it for when you can see/talk to them. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but it might be nice to give your partner a quick phone call. You get to hear their voice and you can tell them everything you want to tell them (you don’t have to wait for them to text back).
2) You know those hobbies you have?
Keep them. Now a hobby can be anything. Working out, reading, writing, listening to music. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy. Whatever you like to do. You may find that when you are in a relationship, your schedule changes. While your significant other may be a priority, please, please, please make time for the other things you like to do. This is something I’ve experienced myself (and it was my own fault). I am single now, but before I started my last relationship, I loved working out. It was my favorite part of the day. When I entered the relationship, my focus and schedule shifted. I slowly started working out less and less, and then it got to the point where I barely worked out at all. Now I am back into a good workout routine, and I made a promise to myself that the next time I am in a relationship, I won’t stop working out.
3) Big decisions need to be made together.
Many couples, at some point during their relationship, may need to relocate due to school, job opportunities, family obligations, etc. From firsthand experience, this is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I left all of my friends and family to move to Boston for a relationship. Now, I am very happy here. I love my job and I’ve been fortunate to make some new friends while keeping the old ones. I visit home pretty frequently, and all is well. But boy was it rough at the beginning. I think it took me about 2 years to fully transition. I was younger and more naive at the time when I moved, so if I were to do it again, I would do it differently. I would initiate more open discussions, compromises, and making sure both parties have a transition plan. None of this let’s drop everything and move to make the relationship work mentality. That might end in resentment. One partner will eventually have to give in — and that’s okay. For the partner who gives in, it might be comforting to know that one day, the other partner may return the favor. Which brings me to my next point.
4) Give a little, get a little.
I scratch your back, you scratch my back. Yes, this is how I feel about relationships, and I am not sorry about it. Both parties need to put in the work for the day-to-day stuff. This can include: dividing finances fairly (whatever that means), household chores (if you live together), errands, and general favors. There shouldn’t be a giver and a taker. Have each other’s backs! In a relationship where there is a clear giver and a clear taker, the giver will get exhausted and hold a lot of resentment towards the taker.
5) If you can swing it, have your own space.
When it comes time to move-in with your partner, I highly recommend moving into a place where you can have some room to breathe. This may mean a place with a guest bedroom or a general area that can be your own. Many couples don’t do this (especially those who live in high rent cities). Personally, I think it is worth it if you can make it happen.
6) Make time for friends.
Relationships can be time-consuming, along with many other areas in your life. Sometimes making time for friends can be tricky (unless you are an extrovert and more motivated to do so). Recently, when I see a friend, I try to make it a habit of making a note in my calendar to see them again. It helps keep me in check. Friends can be a breath of fresh air, don’t forget about them!
7) Be with someone who loves you for exactly who you are.
This is the hardest tip I have to offer. Some people say opposites attract, but I don’t know if I full-heartedly agree. At some point in your love adventure, you may have an encounter with someone who may try to change you. While a challenge is healthy, you have to ask yourself — are they trying to change a part of you that doesn’t need to be fixed? What if they are trying to change one of your core traits or values, something that makes you, you? If you feel this way, then maybe they aren’t the one for you. I know it is harsh, but I had to say it. Not everyone is compatible, and that is okay. A partner who accepts you for who you are is a keeper. I genuinely believe there is someone for everyone.
I hope all of you find balance in your relationships!
If you have any other ideas — feel free to share in the comments! 🙂