As people with an interest in love and romance, we tend to spend a lot of time imagining what we want our ideal partner to be…
Some of us go as far as to create checklists with specific, concrete “musts” for what we’re looking for. But the cold, hard truth is that it takes two to tango. If you want to have a successful, fulfilling relationship, you should be spending just as much (if not more) time focusing on yourself, and how you can be a better partner. So here are five ways to start.
You know what’s a confusing and unpleasant experience in a relationship?
When your partner has no clue who they are or what they want. It makes it difficult to make your partner happy, to communicate, and to plan a future. On the other hand, when you have a strong sense of self, of your preferred communication style, of your love language, of what your needs are within a relationship, of what you want from a partner, of what you’re looking for in the future, of what your hang-ups and complexes are, etc. etc., you’ll be so much easier to get along and be with.
So get to know yourself. Talk to a therapist. Journal. Take some personality quizzes. Think deeply about your values and what you want, because it will make dating you way more fun.
A big part of being a good partner is the ability to be a good listener.
People rely on their partners as a sounding board, somebody to vent to, discuss feelings, and share their experiences with. And a big part of being a good listener is understanding when to respond and give advice versus when to just shut up and be an open ear and a nodding head. When you really think about it, most of the time when somebody has a problem, they don’t actually want advice, they just want somebody to tell them, “yeah, wow, that does really suck.” So learn the skill of validating and use if often. It’s a secret relationship weapon.
Reign In Any Judgement
Judgement can be exhausting, making us doubt ourselves and when in reality, we’re all superheroes.
As social creatures, we face a lot of judgment all the time – from our families, our coworkers, our friends, and even ourselves. That’s why you really don’t want to come home and get judged by your partner on top of all of that. So do your best to accept your partner for who they are. Be that safe space for them.
You cannot, NOT communicate…
Ask anybody who knows anything about anything what the secret to a good relationship is and they’ll tell you “communication.” It’s almost a cliche at this point. But it is so, so true – and also easier said than done. We all think we can be great communicators, but then we get pouty and don’t want to talk, or we fall back on our bad habit of blaming our partner instead of talking about the actual problem at hand, or we copy what we grew up seeing our parents do and yell instead of speaking with kindness. The reality is that good communication takes effort and learning and work. And if you want your relationship to succeed, you’d better damn do it.
Have A Sense Of Humour!
If life ever gets too serious, just remember we’re talking monkeys living on an organic spaceship…
As adults, most of us have a lot of responsibilities and burdens and worries and stressors. But our partners are a source of joy and fun and playfulness that we generally can’t find anywhere else. With your lover, you can wrestle and tickle and giggle and make dumb fart jokes the way you can’t with anybody else. It’s one of the best parts of being in a relationship. So lighten up sometimes. Joke around. Be a source of fun for your partner instead of even more stress. That’s a real foundation for a lasting relationship.