Ahhh relationships. A real-life roller coaster, to say the least. There are so many ups and downs, twists and turns, and unexpected loop-de-loops that things can get...COMPLICATED. Nonetheless, romantic relationships are beautiful and serve a purpose in life. Everyone is looking for different qualities in a partner, but there are some basic do's and don'ts that every relationship should follow. The most important things in a successful relationship are honesty, trust, communication, and balance. I know it's not easy, but you should always try to focus on applying these traits in a relationship. And by no means am I an expert... I have quite a lot of issues I need to work on myself. So, if you're having troubles in your love life or just want to know the ins-and-outs of a successful relationship, here are some of my basic do's and don'ts tips.
1. Clearly communicate your feelings
Communication is the key to success in EVERY relationship, romantic or not. Clearly expressing your feelings to your partner is the only way that they are going to know what’s going on in your head. You cannot expect your partner to know everything you’re thinking and feeling; it’s impossible. And the same works vice versa. In a relationship, you have to talk about the good and the bad. You can’t just communicate the negatives and not express your appreciation for all their positive efforts. If there are only negatives, then why be in the relationship? Exactly. So, do your best to communicate your feelings as clearly as possible, both physically and verbally. It’s not only about your words; body language is a major indicator of how you’re feeling and your attitude towards others. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and share your emotions; it will avoid so many problems, strengthen your relationship, or make you realize that you and your partner need to improve your communication skills.
2. Be honest & trustworthy
I cannot stress this enough. Honesty is the best policy, PERIODT. There is nothing more important in a relationship than honesty and trust because, without it, there is no value. How can a relationship grow and succeed if it’s built on lies? You guessed it; it can’t. And if you try to make a relationship “work” through constant lying and manipulation, it leads to a toxic cycle and inevitable heartbreak. I don’t think anyone wants to go through that, at least I hope not purposefully. The whole point of being in a relationship with someone is to share your most authentic self with them. If you have to hide or lie about your feelings and actions, why are you in the relationship? Think about this. Trust is everything. Once trust is lost, everything else in the relationship starts to crumble because one person questions the validity of the other person’s words and actions. Rather than investing time in the relationship, they are consumed with whether they believe what their partner says. This is utter torture that no one should have to experience. However, most people do at some point in their lives. And that’s disappointing. Even though honesty may not be your initial instinct, it is the best choice to make if you want to have a genuine relationship with your significant other. There is no doubt about it.
3. Be adaptable & open to trying new things
This quality is so important in a partner. You should avoid being a Debbie downer 24/7 because that just brings everyone down, and there is no positive outcome. Being close-minded limits your relationship in so many ways and prohibits you and your significant other from exploring new things about one another’s preferences, strengths, weaknesses, fears, etc. Being adventurous sometimes can spark up a relationship and increase your bond. If your partner shares their interests with you, like their favorite hobby, daily activity, restaurant, etc. DON’T SHUT THEM DOWN. Instead, take a chance and try something new. You may love it or hate it, but you’ll never know until you try!
4. Be patient
This is a skill I most definitely need to work on in EVERY aspect of my life. Having patience, especially with your partner, will make your relationship a lot smoother and more enjoyable for everyone. Dating someone takes a lot of work. And after a while, your partner will most likely drive you crazy every once in a while; it’s completely normal (if this has never happened to you, then you’re just some type of alien idk). But yes, patience is a game-changer for you and your significant other to be happy and have a healthy relationship. Sometimes I try to be more patient by thinking about how serious the situation is. Is it going to bother me in 5 months? No... ok, then let’s try not to waste more than 5 minutes on this. Now, for those of you who know me, you must be thinking, “she is probably the most impatient person I know and is terrible at applying this strategy in her daily life.” And yes, this is true. But I’m not perfect, and I am trying to work on this. Some days are just better than others, which is why we need to be patient! Do you see where I’m going here? The point is, do your best to have more patience with yourself and with your partner. It will save you a lot of frustration.
5. Respect their likes/opinions
Respect is a no brainer... but common sense isn’t always common. You need to respect your significant other for any successful relationship, even if you may disagree with them. Whether it’s their likes, dislikes, opinions, etc., respect is necessary!! But, you also need to respect yourself. You shouldn’t be in a relationship where you feel disrespected and “put down” for almost everything you say or do. If this is the case, your partner is not respecting you, and that needs to change ASAP!
6. Follow your instinct/gut
No matter what, always follow your gut (It even rhymes). Be honest with yourself and trust your instincts. If you feel like something isn’t working or isn’t right, don’t dismiss your intuition. Take note of it and speak up. Share your concerns with your partner. Communicate. But honestly, if you know in your heart that something is wrong, listen to yourself. You’re not crazy, and there is truth to whatever you are feeling. Never doubt your instincts in any relationship. 9/10 times your inner voice is right.
7. Know their interests
This is kind of a given but still worth mentioning. To make a relationship more personal and fun, you have to know your significant other’s interests. Favorite foods, movies, T.V. shows, music, clothing brands, hobbies, sports teams, etc. Alllll that good stuff. This is usually something you find out when you are first becoming closer, but really knowing about all these interests happens over time. Sharing these preferences, you get exposed to so many new things that you never would’ve before. For example, my boyfriend showed me a lot about Reggae, Grime, and U.K. Hip Hop. And now, I am obsessed! This is just one of the millions of things I’ve learned from showing interest in what he enjoys. P.S. Knowing this info can also help you when trying to pick the perfect gift for your partner ;) just something to consider.
8. Support them
Almost every person needs/desires validation and support in their life, especially from their significant other. You and your partner should feel that you equally care about one another’s interests, thoughts, feelings. People want to feel worthy, recognized, and embraced. As a loving partner, you definitely need to do this for your significant other and make them feel like they mattered to you. Whether you are needy or not, it’s important to show that you care through loving gestures and expressing your interest in helping and knowing about your partner. This may seem somewhat irrelevant, but it is the exact opposite. Showing that you care builds a lot of confidence in the relationship and makes you and your partner feel supported.
1. Be unfaithful
Playing games with someone is NOT CUTE! If there is one thing that I have no patience for, it’s cheating. It is NEVER ok, and the circumstances don’t matter!! If there is one way to ruin all the trust you built with your partner, this is it. If you are no longer interested in dating your significant other, break up with them. Please don’t put them through heartbreak because of your unfaithful actions. It’s better to break up with someone straight-up than to sneak around or cheat on them. It’s 100% a situation you should want to avoid at all costs. In the end, it doesn’t benefit anyone.
2. Break confidentiality
Feeling like you can truly trust your partner and share intimate thoughts with them will make your relationship grow from 0-100. The WORST thing you can do, in turn, is breaking this trust. Being vulnerable with someone is not easy and very scary, so no one in the relationship should be using it against the other to hurt their feelings or take advantage of them. It’s crucial for both people in the relationship to feel safe talking about anything! Confiding in one another develops over time, but it’s important to keep this in mind. Be sensitive with what your partner shares with you and keep it to yourself unless they tell you otherwise.
3. Disregard their feelings
This is the #1 way not to support your partner. Which you NEVER want to do unless it’s for their best interest (i.e., not supporting a bad/unhealthy habit). When you disregard your significant other’s feelings, you show them that you don’t care and rather spend your time doing other things. If you genuinely feel like this, you should express that without disregarding their feelings because it is extremely hurtful. Even if you disagree about something, you should acknowledge and recognize the other person’s feelings. Don’t shut them out because that will break the communication, trust, and vulnerability in the relationship. You don’t have to agree, but you should still take their emotions into account and try to develop a positive solution moving forward.
5. Lose yourself trying to live up to their version/expectation of you
I cannot stress how common this is. Trying to live up to someone else’s expectations of who they think you SHOULD be is a huge mistake. Don’t confuse this with your partner, encouraging you to grow, become a better person, and learn more about your strengths and flaws. In a relationship, you are going to change no matter what. It’s practically inevitable. BUT, don’t ever become a completely different person from who you were before you met your significant other. You have to remember that you chose each other as you were before the relationship. Of course, letting go of bad habits or realizing things about yourself that need improvement are positive changes that can come out of your relationship. You should never try to reinvent yourself or lose who you are just to please someone else. Romantic or not, this is something to always think about throughout your life.
6. Be selfish
Some people are natural givers, and some are not. For some things, I am, and for others, I am not. I realized this throughout my own relationship, and that’s ok. You have to know the type of person you are and how you connect/respond to certain people and certain situations. However, even if you are not a naturally giving person, you have no excuse for being selfish. And you have even less of a reason to take advantage of your partner if you know that they are natural givers. This imbalance is something I’ve noticed in many relationships. Often, one person thinks they are giving so much more than the other or vice versa, and it’s a struggle. The best way to avoid this is to understand the type of person you are and figure out ways to avoid being selfish and put someone else before yourself. Being selfish can really strain a relationship, so it’s important to be cautious of it within yourself and your partner as well.
7. Cut off your friends!!!
I REPEAT. DON’T. CUT. OFF. YOUR. FRIENDS. WHEN. YOU. GET. IN. A. ROMANTIC. RELATIONSHIP! Seriously, reading this, you already know how I feel about it. When getting into a new relationship, it’s really easy for many people to want to be with their partner 24/7 and not make time for their friends. This is unhealthy. Becoming so dependent and maybe somewhat obsessive with your significant other is not a good thing for you nor them. It would be best if you had time apart. And I’m not saying to stop prioritizing them or spending time together. But, you do need a balance. Just because you have a significant other doesn’t mean your friends just fell off the face of the earth and no longer exist. Please make time to talk to your friends and hang out with them. If you invest all of your time into your relationship, it can become overwhelming for both of you. Your friends feel hurt, and it’s kind of a mess. In any relationship, it’s all about balance. Keeping your friends close and relevant in your daily life is a great way to maintain this balance and even strengthen your relationship.
8. Forget important dates (bdays, anniversaries, etc.)
When you first think about it, this one is more minimal than the other points, but it’s actually pretty important. Depending upon how sensitive you are or your partner is, forgetting an important date like your anniversary (especially in the beginning) can cause some problems. Speaking from personal experience (lol), you don’t want to forget or confuse dates when there is an upcoming event/celebration. You will feel terrible, your partner will be hurt, and it just leads to a lot of drama that no one needs to experience. So WRITE. IMPORTANT. DATES. DOWN. in a place where you won’t forget to look/check! Trust me on this, it's 100% worth it.