1. Be respectful of your partner’s family. Parent-child and sibling relationships are seriously complex. It can be helpful for your partner to blow off steam by griping about them but don’t assume that they’ll be fine with you doing that as well.
2. Don’t just bail when the going gets tough. Modern-day living might be all about convenience, but good relationships are not and never have been ‘convenient.’ Are you going through a rough patch? Try hard—like, really hard—to resolve the matter and come out stronger on the other side.
3. … But remember that your relationship should enhance your lives. Although it’s important not to simply throw away a relationship after a couple of petty fights, if you’ve been flogging a dead horse for far too long, it might be time to re-evaluate things.
4. Be honest, always. Honesty is crucial. You can be honest and tactful, but you both need to make a point of being open about your feelings, your past and your actions so that you’re both on the same page.
5. Dates are important. Especially when you’ve been together for a long time, it’s easy to get caught up with life and forget to take the time to romance one another like you used to. Make time for dates—be it once a week or once a month—to get together and do something nice, away from ‘real life.’
6. No, it’s not okay to check out other guys/girls in front of each other. Put your tongue back in your mouth. Have some tact and some respect.
7. Keep in touch with your partner’s daily life. You shouldn’t bombard anyone with a million questions every time they walk in the door, but you should know what your partner is going through during the week. Knowing about a stressful meeting or exam can help you to be more understanding if your partner seems preoccupied.
8. Never criticize your partner when he or she is in a vulnerable position. It could be an intimate situation or a fight, but words can pack a particularly hurtful (and memorable) punch when emotions are running high. If you’re going to say something that’s going to be hard for your partner to hear, wait for a calm moment.
9. Know your partner’s favorite things. Spend some time figuring out what your partner prefers. You’ll be able to make more thoughtful plans for dates, birthday gifts, etc., if you don’t have to blindly guess what your partner might like.
10. Understand you may not be the most important person in their life. Unless you’re in a long term serious relationship, you may not be the end-all and be-all person in their life. Their relationships with their parents, siblings, and many of their friends likely predate you even knowing each other, and come with a world of history. Instead of getting jealous and demanding to always come first, celebrate your partners loyalty.
11. Don’t let your friends/family gang up on your partner when you’re fighting. It’s OK to vent to your loved ones when you’re frustrated or hurt, but don’t let them go on a vendetta against your partner just because you’re feeling raw. Whatever happened is between the two of you, and any fighting needs to remain that way.
12. Know and respect each other’s limits. Whether it be about trying new things, hot button issues, or sex, talk about where your boundaries are and don’t push them. You wouldn’t appreciate it if someone routinely made you uncomfortable, so don’t do that to your partner just to get what you want.
13. Prioritize what’s important to them. OK so you hate football, the ballet, Indian food, or cooking shows but your partner loves them. It won’t kill you to sit through a few hours of something that’s not your favorite thing every once in a while to make the other person happy. It also means they’ll be more likely to do the same for you.
14. Respect their religious and political beliefs. You may be a dyed-in-the-wool liberal and your partner a hard-core conservative, or you’re Catholic and they’re agnostic. If you love each other enough to get past such differences, you need to respect that you will think and respond differently to situations and topics. And even if you think they’re supporting the craziest politician in the history of the world, it’s their right and you knew you disagreed going into things. Don’t belittle or downplay their beliefs because you think differently.
15. Don’t talk down to them. They have a mother and they have a boss, they don’t need you talking to them like they’re the kid who ate the last cookie. Talk to them as an equal and they’ll treat you as such.
16. Keep their secrets. If your partner tells you something that they have never told anyone else, cherish that. Don’t tell others and don’t feel the need to bring it up to your partner again unless they want to talk about it.
17. Be their safe place. Live in a way so that your partner knows that you are a safe place. They can cry, laugh, yell, have a mental break down, crack under pressure, anything, and you will be there. You will sit with them, eat brownies with them or listen to them, whatever they need.
18. Touch them every day. A kiss on the cheek, a touch of the arm, a big welcoming hug or an all-out make out session when they walk in the door, make an effort to show affection.
19. Learn to laugh during hard times. Not every day is going to be sunshine and rainbows but remember “this too shall pass” and learn to laugh. The trash needs to go out, the dishes are overflowing, you have 100 places to be and you are afraid there isn’t enough in your savings to pay the electric bill; just take a moment to breathe, not take it out on each other, and laugh about how crazy life can get.
20. Never stop trying. After months or years in a relationship sometimes we feel that we don’t need to try very hard anymore. Never stop trying to be the best version of yourself for your partner (and for you!). Take the time to listen to your partner during arguments and really look at yourself and how you are contributing to the issue. Make an effort to do better and be better for the one you love. Never get lazy and unwilling to listen, try and better yourself.
21. Make sure you get separate alone time. Everyone needs to be by themselves sometimes and maybe that doesn’t always align to when your partner needs it. But taking time for yourself isn’t being selfish nor should it be taken personally. Let them take the time alone when they need it, and you should do the same without making the other person feel badly about it.
22. Choose honesty over an easy lie of omission. Being asked if those atrocious old-man shoes or sincerely unflattering outfit looks good is always a loaded question. You don’t want to say, “Nope, that’s hideous,” because you’ll hurt their feelings and make everything awkward. But personally wouldn’t you rather know than be out in public and feel very self-conscious? If they ask (and that’s the kicker—don’t offer it) be honest—nicely.
23. Support them and help them grow. Be their biggest cheerleader. Help your partner figure out what they want and support them getting there.
24. Live in reality. Your relationship will never be a fairy tale, a rom-com, and your partner will never be day-in, day-out perfection, and neither will you. Life together won’t be sunshine and daisies or p*rn-star sex. Your partner has bowel functions and mood swings, they may not do dishes, or shave regularly, and sometimes sex will be lackluster or nonexistent. It’s going to suck sometimes and you have to acknowledge and work through the ups and downs and not freak out when everything isn’t like the movies.
25. Do not casually get a pet together to try on having children if you’re not committed for the long term. Just like a child, pets need love, care, attention, and a decent chunk of change, and if you and your partner adopt together, you need to both be prepared for the long term responsibility. Furthermore if your relationship falls apart, what happens to your animals? Cats and dogs live a long time and testing your relationship (and failing) could leave your pets homeless. Don’t play house until you’re both ready because your four-legged creatures will suffer for it.
26. For the love of all sanity, talk about money. Love may conquer all but money has a way of toppling even the mightiest of empires. Are you uncomfortable paying for all outings and resenting it? Do you have the financial ability to pay your own way? Do you want to combine finances? Are you riddled with debt and won’t be able to get a loan? These are things someone who is in it for the long haul with you needs to know, because letting it be a surprise after the fact could lead to trouble.
27. Neither your relationship nor your partner is a trophy. Treating either like a competition you won or something that makes you superior to friends (or enemies) is putting the emphasis on all the wrong things. Focusing on the fact that you have a hot partner, regular sex, or a ring on your finger is objectifying your partner and relationship. It’s one thing to be incandescently happy and wanting to share that joy with others, it’s another thing to be smug and condescending about it. Neither your friends nor partner will appreciate it.
28. Be really silly sometimes. Go out with your partner and only order drinks in your best Brooklyn accent, whip out your most horrific dance moves while making breakfast one weekend, or sing really loud in the car together. Be silly and funny without embarrassment.
29. If you’re on the cusp of a breakup, it’s probably the wrong time to be making a huge life altering decision. If your relationship is at the breaking point, it’s unlikely that getting married, having a kid, moving in together, or even adopting an animal is the right thing to do to “fix it.” When it’s time to cut bait and give up, don’t sink your ship in the process.
30. Don’t let other peoples’ relationships dictate what’s healthy in your own. Some couples argue loudly all the time, some couples never fight. Some people have sex once a day, some people have sex once a month; some relationships are monogamous, some aren’t. Find out what works for the two of you, and don’t compare your relationship to others’.
31. Don’t compare them to other people. You don’t want to be told you should be as hot/funny/rich as So-and-So over there, do you? Neither does your partner. Your partner should be good enough as they are!
32. Keep your partner in the loop. It’s just thoughtful to drop a casual text to let him/her know where you are and that you’re thinking about them.
33. Be open about sex. Whether you’re having sex or not having sex, make sure you both want the same thing—and if you don’t want the same thing, talk about it.
34. Be safe about sex. If you’re having sex, do it safely. Get checked. Get checked regularly. Buy condoms. Buy lots of condoms.
35. Don’t force your relationship on other people. Don’t be that couple who are forcing their tongues down each others’ throats in people’s faces. Don’t tag each other in puke-inducing Facebook statuses all day long. The phrase “get a room” comes to mind; some things should be a lil’ private.
36. Don’t hide your relationship away. It’s okay to be in a relationship on Facebook and hold hands in public! If your partner is being cagey about minute levels of PDA, then it might be time to ask questions.
37. Make time for your friends. Bros before hoes, chicks before dicks: your friends should be no less important to you because you’ve got someone else who shares in your attention span. Friend-dates should still be a priority for both partners!
38. Remember it’s okay to have friends of the opposite sex. Believe it or not, it is possible for a man to have a legitimately platonic relationship with—gasp—another girl. Just like it’s possible for a girl to remain besties with her men-friends. Respect your partner’s friend choices—regardless of gender.
39. Have some concept of a future together. Even if it’s as vague as “I can’t imagine breaking up with you,” envisioning a future together is vital. If you can already see it ending, then what’s the point in carrying on?
40. Be open to new things. Don’t just respect your partner’s hobbies, get involved!
41. Listen to your friends. Chances are, if they don’t see a spark, there might be something you’ve become blinded to… something that may be anything but true love.
42. Relationships involve two people, not just one. It’s time to put an end to the “who wears the pants?” debate.
43. Recognize you don’t always have to like each other. Disagreement and fighting are a given. Any relationship built on an idealized view is a short lived one. Know your flaws, know your partner’s flaws and realize that you can love them even when you don’t necessarily always like them.
44. Ask for what you want. So many times we find ourselves afraid to tell our partner what we need or want, in fear it will harm the relationship. Knowing and asking for the things that we require in a relationship is not only healthy, it’s essential.
45. But remember that you are not perfect, and they are not either. Do not expect more from your partner than you yourself are willing to give. Asking too many unreasonable things can be a detriment. Asking for what you need is one thing, asking for what is over the top is another. Know the difference.
46. Know from the start what and if you can forgive. Mistakes are made in any relationship. From cheating to lying to secrets to shame, we are all capable of committing the cardinal sins in relationships. You and your partner need to have the conversations about what each other’s deal breakers are. Not to open up the doors to cheating or anything, rather to understand where vulnerable points are so you can respect them even more.
47. Bad sex is not something you have to “put up with.” Sure, you can teach someone, but if you and your partner want to be sexually active together, be sure there is chemistry. Don’t fake it if it isn’t there. If they are not willing to learn with you, maybe it’s time to re-think things. Mutual pleasure should be a priority if sex is an active part of your relationship.
48. Your partner’s career is not a definition of your own. We each have our own drives and motivations in life. Comparing your current career situation to that of your partner’s is not only unhealthy but is unfair to them. Follow your journey, your path while supporting theirs.
49. Know that you are not defined by your relationship. Yes, who we love is a hugely significant part of who we are, but have an identity outside of your relationship and value yourself first and foremost. They will love you best when you love yourself first.
50. Your relationship is what you make it. Your relationship cannot be defined by a list of things men should know about women or women should know about men, because not all relationships fit into these vague and stereotyped ideas of feminine & masculine needs. Your relationship is unique, special and designed by you and your partner from the ground up. Have fun with it, cherish it, but mostly—make it your own.[divider][/divider]
What tips do you have for relationships?
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