Being in a relationship with someone else is also another important type of relationship that can have an important impact on our wellbeing. Being in love with someone can take you on a ridiculously wild emotional ride and can either make or break us – if we allow it. Having recently gone through a break-up, writing a post about romantic relationships was well overdue. So this post is an attempt to share my thoughts on the highs (but mostly the lows) of being in an intimate relationship. Moreover, this is like a reminder to myself to keep going, tips I wish I would have listened to and rules that I will try to adhere to in my next relationship.
1. Be with someone who wants to be with you
This can seem so obvious, but a lot of us can commit ourselves to people who don’t really want to be with us. At some points in a relationship it’s common to question whether the person you are with is in it for the same reasons as you. Maybe you’ve asked them if they really want this/how they really feel about you but for some reason you’re just not satisfied. You should never have to force someone to be with you or make time for you. If someone want’s to be with you then they will. If someone wants to make time for you they will! The same way they can make time for everything going on in their lives (i.e., their friends, hobbies, whatever), they can make time for you! On another note, this can be something that you experience when your insecure or anxious – constantly wondering why someone is with you. It’s important to realise the two and not make any rash decisions, so look out for signs and when in doubt- ask again. They may get annoyed at you constantly asking but you have a right to know and feel comfortable and secure in your relationship.
2. Communication is key
I’ve watched one too many episodes of Marriage Bootcamp to see just how many couples fail to communicate effectively with each other! It’s not about how often you talk to each other but what you talk about and even more importantly – how you talk to each other. Miscommunication is (in my opinion) one of the quickest ways to an unhappy relationship/break up. Even the best of us aren’t mind readers and you shouldn’t have to be if you’re in a relationship. Successful relationships require those involved to be mature and if you can’t or won’t try to communicate effectively with your partner, honestly you don’t need to be in a relationship. This can be really difficult for some people but it can lead to so many unnecessary arguments and wasted emotions. Those things can be saved and prevented with effective communication. That’s why it’s so important to say what you mean, exactly how you mean to say it. I would much rather be hurt by the harsh truth than a lie or fabricated truth. If you don’t want to be with someone, say it. If you’re not sure how you feel about someone, say it. Be open and be honest. Your partner will appreciate you for it…eventually.
3. Stay true to yourself
Your relationship shouldn’t “complete you” because that implies that something is missing from your own life and you give a certain kind of power to your partner that can easily be abused. It’s not about refusing to be vulnerable, it’s about realising your self-worth as a complete person and acknowledging that your relationship should be an addition. The person you are in a relationship with should be a part of, not your whole, life. In a relationship you can often merge and become one, instead of having your own autonomy. It’s important for us to have our own lives and have other things going on. Not only can this prevent us from becoming needy, but we need to have and do things for ourselves, the same way we did before being in a relationship and the same way we should if the relationship doesn’t work. Have a passion, hobby, pursue your career, make that money – Be independent! Of course there will be things that you always did together or that certain things you did or achieved because of that person but relationships, just like anything else, come and go and the only thing we are left with afterwards are ourselves.
4. Relationships take effort
When you decide to be with someone, the work and effort doesn’t and shouldn’t stop there. I’ve been in many relationships where the guy wanted me more than I wanted him and would do anything to try and get me, then once they did that was it, the roles became flipped. It’s almost like people like the idea of chasing after someone but they don’t really know what or why they’re chasing and when they do finally get what they were after they have no clue what to do with it. It takes a lot of effort to make a relationship work. Granted, you may never get to the ‘honeymoon stage’ at the beginning of a new and exciting relationship because the reality is that all relationships have their ups and downs. It’s the only way you learn about your partner and make the relationship stronger. It’s so common for people to run away when shit hits the fan. But you can’t just give up on your relationship because things aren’t going well. The best type of relationships aren’t the kind where there are no problems, but where the people involved care and love each other enough to find a way to make it work as best as they can. Things may not always be worked out but you can’t say you didn’t try and put in the effort. Show them you care.
5. Loving someone vs. being ‘in love’
I learnt the hard way what the difference between what it means to love someone and be in love with someone. I believe that you can love several people at the same time, but you can’t be in love with more than one person. You can love your family, friends but being in love with someone is a completely different feeling. When you love someone you can become so falsely obsessed with the idea of having this person (or anyone actually) and needing them in order for your life to be happy. But when you truly fall in love with someone you want them, you want them for who you are and you want them to be a part of your life. Sometimes, knowing whether you’re in love with someone isn’t as obvious as you thought. I knew I was in love when I accepted that person for who they were, despite their flaws, problems and baggage and was willing to accept that and take that on in my life, regardless. When you’re in love with someone you’re always striving for more to reach a goal together and pursue a long-lasting future. I find that loving someone is simply seeing “where things go” and settling for things as they are as there is no sense of future- if it happens it happens. It’s easy to mistake being in love for infatuation, which can be such a dangerous thing past the ‘honeymoon stage’ as you think your partner can do no wrong. But being in love requires you to be realistic. Sustaining a relationship where you are both truly in love isn’t a simple thing like it seems to be in the movies. The movies don’t really show the constant fear you have when the person you love has your heart and you have theirs and you both have the power to do as you please with it.
6. Never Settle!
Remind yourself that you are in charge of your own happiness and if someone is not right for you or giving you what you need- don’t stick around! There’s no rush at this point in our lives so we should never settle for less than we deserve. Like Ciara said: “If that boy don’t love you by now, he will never ever, never ever love you”. You shouldn’t have to wait longer than necessary for someone to buck up, claim you and show they want you. If your partner is entertaining other people or his interests are elsewhere you shouldn’t have that. At the end of the day actions speak louder than words, so if the two aren’t matching up it’s time to pack up and go. You will find someone who loves you and ticks all your boxes, I promise you that. And if you’ve found someone who is everything you want and need appreciate them because in this day and age that can be hard to find. Good things don’t last forever, so live through the good times and learn from the bad times.
I'm Rebecca, a 23-year-old blogger, depression and social anxiety 'sufferer' and qualified mental health therapist passionate about mental health and well-being, self-development and self-care.
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