The search for a healthy and happy relationship can be challenging, as the numbers of people wanting to talk about relationship issues in counseling shows. Its positive power to overcome illness and adversity through to its potential to become destructive.
Here are sixteen pieces of relationship advice everyone needs, if you apply these principles below to your relationship, it could make a life-changing difference in your relationship.
1. Falling in love is more than a feeling.The early part of a new relationship can feel all-consuming. When you’re with your new love, you feel you’re on an incredible high. When you’re apart, you can experience painful “withdrawal symptoms” like longing, obsessing, and worrying whether it will last.
2. It’s completely normal for this initial intensity to wear off.The word “limerance” to describe the initial head-over-heels stage in her classic book about relationships, Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love.
3. And when you get to that point, it’s totally OK to plan sex.Putting a date and time for sex in your calendars might sound like something people your parents’ age would do. That thought probably makes you want to do it even less. But if and when you hit a lull, planning time to put the work in together in order to figure out how to keep your sex life going will help keep you close and aware of each other’s needs.
4. Or spice things up by focusing on sensuality instead of orgasm.
Stop worrying so much about reaching the big O, and focus instead on sensuality. It can be tempting to make reaching orgasm your main goal when it comes to sex but for a change try focusing on sensuality rather than penetration.
5. You should absolutely talk to a counsellor about your sex life.Talking to your counsellor about these issues might feel awkward to begin with. But because sex is important to most people, counsellors are trained to talk about it and it will be very normal to them if you bring it up as an issue.
6. Bear in mind that the kind of love you need might not be the same kind of love your partner needs.Frustration about a partner’s failure to recognize their love needs is a common theme. We all have different preferences when it comes to the way we give and receive love. For example, for some people physical affection or encouraging words are particularly important while for others, supportive actions or thoughtful gifts are more meaningful.
7. There’s probably no such thing as “The One”.If you’re single, get up off the floor. Don’t panic! This is actually good news. This doesn’t mean that you will never find one great person you can have your dream relationship with. It simply means that having a set idea about “The One” might actually be stopping you from meeting them in the first place because your selection criteria are too narrow.
8. And know that relationship counselling can be helpful if even you’re single.Many people are completely happy with being single and the freedom this offers. But if you’re single and would like to be in a relationship, it can be tough. Friends and family members might be well-meaning when they ask whether you’re dating, but it can feel like an added pressure.
9. If you are paired off, it’s essential to consider your partner your equal.According to transactional analysis, a branch of psychotherapy says, we often play out the roles of parent, adult, and child in our relationships. For example, one partner might take on most of the responsibilities in the relationship, paying bills and organizing social activities.
10. Your phone might be the “third person” in your relationship.Technology can be good for your relationship. One study found that 84% of people who use technology to keep in touch with a partner daily said this had a positive effect on their relationship.
11. The bad times can actually be good for your relationship.Every relationship goes through tough periods, if the bad times outweigh the good and you’re thinking of ending the relationship, counseling can help.
12. Listening is more important than talking.Communication is the most important thing in a relationship and listening is probably the hardest communication skill to learn. We often don’t get taught how to listen when we grow up, so it’s no wonder we struggle to listen to our partners. Then stop and talk about something else. Don’t try and ‘solve problems’; this exercise is purely about listening.”
13. Be honest, even if it might cause an argument.Sometimes it feels easier to stay quiet than talk openly and honestly about how you feel. But being truthful in your relationship is essential to create trust and respect.
14. And know there is a good and a bad way to argue.Those who started with negative statements like “You’re lazy and never do anything around the house” without also including any positive statements in the first three minutes were significantly more likely to split up.
15. Say “I” and not “you”.Most of us have exploded with something like: ‘Why do I have to take care of everything?’ or ‘You never do X, Y, Z.’ The problem is that we’re not telling the person how they made us feel or opening up a conversation about it, so they get defensive and shut down. Start by saying: ‘When you do X I feel…’ Even better, make a habit of also telling them things they do which make you feel good.”
16. And never forget that the most important relationship is the one you have with yourselfFirst, we need to love and trust ourselves before we can really love someone else. How we treat ourselves is how other people will treat us. If you treat yourself well, it’s more likely you’ll attract people who will do the same.