With ‘flawless coupledom’ so often portrayed in media, it’s not surprising that more people are going into relationships expecting that happiness is as simple as a rom-com plotline.
Unfortunately, the reality even for something as magical as love is far from a Cinderella story. Yet some couples just seem to have it, this glowing sense of perfection, so in love they’re just begging the question: How do they do it?
1. Happy Couples Don’t Expect Their Partner To Change
You’ve likely heard this one before, but it remains a very true gem of advice. If you’re in a relationship with someone, you have to love them for who they are, not who you want them to be.
You can change people on small things (although we’ll be damned if we can get that toilet seat down), but you won’t be able to change their personality to suit you better, or to be your ‘ideal’ partner. Either you love them”¦ or you don’t. Remember, even people who seem compatible might not be suited to each other. A happy relationship is about more than simple likes and dislikes. It’s about embracing their unique qualities, even if you aren’t so enamoured with them.
2. Happy Couples Can Spend Time Together And Apart
When you first get into a relationship, it’s easy to get sucked into the whirlpool of ‘couple lovin’ where you and your significant other spend every possible moment together, but, that isn’t a good way to go about things in the long term.
Anyone in a successful relationship knows that as important as it is to spend time with you partner, it’s also important to maintain time spent apart. Whether that’s spending time with your friends, or doing a hobby that you love, it’s all about nourishing your individual personality. In most cases, absence really does make the heart grow fonder, and it provides a well of new things to talk about!
3. Happy Couples Communicate Well
What is good communication really? Considering that Relationships Australia lists communication problems as the number two cause of relationship failure, it’s a pretty important aspect. We think it’s about being open and honest about any problems that you’re having, and communicating those problems in a non-judgmental way. Try and take emotion out of the situation if you have an issue, and think logically about solutions instead of blame.
Of course, communication is also about being a supportive and encouraging listener, and that goes both ways. When your partner tells you something, you shouldn’t just nod and smile. Ask questions, congratulate and relive that experience with them. And, if they aren’t doing that with you, use those non-judgmental communication skills to give them some pointers.
4. Happy Couples Respect Each Other
Respecting someone you love shouldn’t be something that you have to think about all the time, but it can be easily forgotten during times of high stress. Happy couples know that a successful long-term relationship is all about mutual respect and understanding, on both sides.
Maintaining respect is as simple as asking this question before you make a move: Would I want them to act like this to me? If you aren’t happy with the answer, or you aren’t sure, this probably means you need to think about what you’re doing, and the impact that might have on the person that you love. After all, a relationship is a two-way street, so if you won’t make an effort, there’s no reason to expect your partner to.
Remember, having a successful relationship is about more than just ticking boxes here and there. It’s about dedicating yourself to a long-term goal of happiness for both parties, despite the little bumps in the road.
Because in the end, despite how some couples appear on the surface, no relationship is a smooth ride. Even in the best fairytales, characters face issues, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a happy ending.