Relationships are never easy. They say that both partners need to be putting in their fair share of 50% of the effort. But that’s not true. Both partners actually need to be putting in 100% of the effort as often as they can. Relationships are work. Just because you’ve found the perfect person and you both really like each other doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing. If you’re with someone you want to be with for a long time, you can’t just coast. You have to accept that you’ll need to put in the effort to make this thing work. And you’ll have to accept that every day won’t be a fairytale out of a Nicholas Sparks book.
If you’ve struggled with relationships, this list is for you. It’s one thing to struggle with meeting people and getting dates. But once you’ve gone on the dates and gotten into a relationship, there’s a whole new set of things to worry about. It’s no longer just enough to dress up, say something witty over dinner, and give a great kiss at the end of the night. Your skills at swiping on Tinder no longer apply. Now, the real work starts. And if you aren’t willing to put in the work, you’ll lose your relationship.
21I Completely Trust My Partner With Everything – No Lies & No Secrets
Trust is the name of the game when it comes to relationships. If you don’t have trust, you don’t have anything. For starters, it’s not fun to be in a relationship with someone you don’t trust. That means you’re paranoid and will spend every waking minute trying to decide if you’re being lied to. It’s also not fun to be in a relationship where you’re the one doing the lying and keeping the secrets. You should feel free to be yourself and to be honest. If the only reason your partner is around is because he/she believes a bunch of lies about you, trust us, they aren’t going to be around for much longer. Lies, paranoia, and secrets will break your relationship fast. Get honest or get out.
20I Know How To Handle My Anger And Not Let Things Get Too Heated
Anger is a taboo emotion. No one likes to admit that they get angry. Otherwise, you’re seen as a loose cannon and people aren’t sure how to react around you. But anger is a natural emotion and everyone experiences it. During a relationship, your partner is bound to make you angry at one point or another. Or something in life is going to make you angry and you might want to take it out on your partner. It’s important to know how your anger manifests and how you can control it. It’s normal to feel angry. But it’s not normal to yell at your partner for hours and punch the wall. In a relationship, you need to learn how to cool down and deal with angry emotions before someone explodes.
19We Are On The Same Page Intimacy-Wise And Agree On PDA
It’s all about the chemistry. In order for your relationship to be successful, you need to make sure you’re both on the same page. Of course, you can make a relationship work even if your libidos aren’t perfectly in sync. But you do both need to agree on the same level of intimacy. Otherwise, one person may feel resentful and unfulfilled while the other feels awkward and uncomfortable. If you’re starting in two different intimacy comfort levels, talk it out so you can get onto the same page. Is a kiss when you get home from work expected? Do you need to hug every day? Do you like to hold hands in public? Are you falling asleep all cuddled up or sleeping in totally different beds? Physical intimacy can be weird to talk about but if you’re moving on different levels, you need to have the talk.
18We Communicate All The Time And Really Hear Each Other
Communication is so key in a relationship. Almost everything on this list can be solved through communication. You have to be able to have the easy talks – like chatting about your day at work – and the hard talks – like discussing what to do with your finances or when you’re feeling hurt. It’s one thing to want to talk and it’s another to know how to deliver that message so that your partner really hears it. Of course, your partner has to want to be listening. So much can go wrong here: someone might be passive aggressive and the other one gets defensive; someone could be distracted and the talk falls on deaf ears; etc. If you want your relationship to survive, learn how to effectively communicate with one another.
17I Tell My Partner That I Love Him/Her Daily – And I Mean It
If you’re in a long-term relationship with your partner, odds are that you love this person. But how often are you saying it? And, more importantly, how often do you really mean it? It’s one thing to nonchalantly end your phone calls with, “K. Love you. Bye!” But it’s totally different to actually look your partner in the eye and meaningfully say to them, “I love you. I am in love with you.” Don’t just pull out the “I love yous” when you want your partner to do something or when you feel bad. “Babe, I love you. Can you walk the dog tonight?” Or maybe it’s, “Babe, I totally forgot to pick up milk today. But I love you?” Those “I love yous” are fine but make sure you’re also saying it when you don’t want anything from your partner and because you really mean it.
16We Have Discussed What Our Expectations Are Of This Relationship So No One Feels Let Down
A friend of mine once told me her favorite characteristic in a person is consistency. Weird, right? But it actually makes so much sense. If a person is consistent, you know exactly what to expect. And it’s the same in relationships – you want to know what to expect. This is another one where those communications skills are going to come into play. You both need to be honest about what you want and where you see this going. If you’re thinking this is the one and you’ve got your wedding planning binder stashed away in your office but your partner doesn’t believe in marriage and is open to seeing other people, you have a problem. Check in, and check in often, about what your expectations are of each other and this relationship.
15I Can Compromise And Do It Without Feeling Resentful
Compromise is huge in a relationship. There’s no way you’re going to get what you want every single time. Sometimes you have to give in. And it may feel like you’re giving in a lot. But in a true relationship, you’re both willing to sacrifice and compromise. If you both come into it with that attitude, and not trying to beat the other then you win. There’s no keeping score in a relationship. Sometimes it’s little compromises – like ordering pizza even if you wanted to get sushi. And sometimes it’s big ones – like moving across the country to follow your partner’s great job offer. In order for your relationship to be successful, you need to be willing to compromise without holding onto resentment and thinking your partner owes you anything.
14Our Relationship Is A Priority For Both Of Us – No Matter What Else Is Going On
Your relationship needs to be a priority for both of you. Life can get absolutely crazy. You’re on a deadline at work. Your partner’s parents are in town. Your girlfriend just broke up with her long-term partner. Your dog needs to go to the vet. The laundry has to get done. And your team made the playoffs. That’s a lot of stuff going on! And in between all o that, you still need to find time for your relationship. Besides the relationship you have with yourself, the one you have with your partner should be the most important one in your life. It deserves your attention. It can’t just be put on the back burner. And you both need to hold your relationship as a priority. If only one person cares, your relationship is doomed.
13I Support My Partner And He/She Supports Me – We’re Each Other’s Biggest Cheerleader
Supporting your partner is a huge piece of being in a relationship. You are one another’s support system. You’re there to pick each other up when you fall. You encourage one another. You challenge one another. You cheer each other on. You push your partner towards their dreams and help them get back up after the failures. It’s a big job. But knowing that someone is in your corner no matter what is the best feeling in the world. On those days when you don’t think you can do it, your partner knows you can and they’ll help you get there. Of course, that doesn’t mean your partner is going to blindly encourage everything you do. They may not support you living off of cookie dough for a week. But they will believe in your dreams with you – and that’s huge.
12I Don’t Always Have To Be Right And I Know How To Say I’m Sorry
Here’s a biggie: in a relationship, you’re not always going to be right. You’re going to be wrong, a lot. It can be very hard to admit when you’re wrong. If you’re a perfectionist or a competitive person, this can be almost impossible. But some things are more important than your ego and your winning streak. A strong relationship and a happy partner are more important. So sometimes you need to drop your stubborn pride, put your tail between your legs, and go ask for forgiveness. You have to admit that you messed up. And you have to apologize. It’s not going to be easy. But it’s an important skill to have in a relationship. Remember that the goal in a relationship isn’t for one person to win. You’ll win alone if you always have to be right.
11We Can Argue And Disagree Without Drama Or Threats Of Breaking Up
Arguments and conflict are part of life. Some couples argue more than others but all couples do disagree and get into little spats. It’s totally natural to disagree with your partner. It’s normal to get into fights where tempers boil and people get emotional. It’s not normal to get loud or violent – but little arguments are totally fine. And it’s important to know how to work through those arguments if you want your relationship to succeed. Knowing they’re normal is half the battle. You don’t have to break up at the first sign of conflict. But if every fight turns into a screaming match with doors being slammed and someone screaming, “I hate you! We’re through!” you have a problem. A successful couple can get through fights without becoming dramatic or threatening to break up with one another.
10I Appreciate My Partner And Let Him/Her Know Just How Much
Your partner does a lot for you. Sometimes after being with the same person for a while, it can be hard to remember just how awesome they are. In fact, you both might begin to feel a little less shiny because you have been doing the same thing for so long with no one saying anything. So, say something! If your partner unloads the dishwasher, thank him. If your partner makes you breakfast, thank her. Say, “Thank you so much for making breakfast, honey. You’re so thoughtful! I love that you’re a good cook.” Praising and complimenting your partner is so important. It’s nice to be nice! And it’s really nice to know and hear that your partner appreciates you. Don’t save your nice words just for Valentine’s Day – let your partner know how awesome they are every single day of the year.
9We Get Our Smooch On Every Single Day
Kissing is key. Do you remember the first time you and your partner kissed? Or maybe those first few kisses? They were magical and gave you butterflies. You couldn’t wait for another one of those kisses. Well, don’t let that romance totally drift away. Make it a habit to kiss your partner intentionally every single day. Even on boring days where all you’re doing is folding laundry and watching something on Netflix, take the time to kiss your partner. And not just a little peck on your way out the door – really kiss them! It doesn’t have to lead to anything more than a few kisses. But kissing makes you feel good and releases endorphins. Don’t you want to feel good? We bet your partner does!
8I Can Be Open And Honest With My Partner Because I Know They Won’t Judge Me
Not keeping secrets or telling lies is one thing. Being open and honest is another. You should feel free to be open and honest with your partner. You know your partner loves you no matter what and isn’t going to judge you. So you shouldn’t have to sneak out and hit the pizza joint when you said you were just going to take the dog for a walk because you’re embarrassed to admit that you’re hungry again. You shouldn’t have to wake up and put on makeup and then crawl back into bed and pretend that’s your natural face. And if you don’t want to spend every weekend with your partner’s friends or family, you should be able to tell them that. Be open and honest. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to deliver bad news gently, but you can still be honest about it.
7I Know How To Choose My Battles
Sometimes in a relationship, you have to choose your battles. Not everything is worth fighting about. Sometimes, you just have to let it go and learn to live with it. If you can’t stand how your partner makes a mess when it’s his/her turn to cook, it’s a good idea to bring that up to them. Let them know why it bothers you and work on a solution. Next time your partner cooks, they do a great job at putting everything away and wiping the counter. But they miss a spot. Do you freak out? Nope, you let it go. Grab the cloth and give that area a wipe. Not everything needs to become a big fight. If the easier solution is for you to just suck it up, then suck it up. Of course, you don’t want to bottle your feelings and build resentment. So only let it go if you can actually let it go. Otherwise, find a way to talk about it constructively.
6I Am Able To Be My Totally Weird And Authentic Self In This Relationship
Listen, we’re all weirdos. Every single person. Even that perfect model on Instagram – she’s a weirdo. Everyone has their own quirks and odd things they like to do. The best is when you’re in a relationship and your weird compliments someone else’s weird. You can just be weird together. Maybe you have a habit of meowing at each other when you first wake up instead of saying good morning. Maybe you like to have burping contests after dinner. Maybe you do the running man while you’re cooking. Maybe you stay up late doing YouTube karaoke and wearing face masks together. Everyone has their weird thing! And couples usually come up with new weird things to do together. If you can’t be your weird self and do your weird thing, then that’s not a comfortable relationship.
5Underneath It All, We Are Friends First
I used to think it was so weird when people would get engaged and post, “Can’t believe I get to marry my best friend!” Don’t get me wrong – I still think this is super cheesy. But it’s also super true. Your partner should be your best friend. Or, at least your very good friend. Strip away all of your intimacy and you two should still be friends. Friends enjoy spending time with one another. Friends have common interests. Friends care about one another. Friends support each other. If you and your boo have nothing in common and only spend time together when you’re being physical, you may need to take a step back. Having a basis of friendship is important. Because when the honeymoon is over, the friendship will get you through.
4As Much As I Love Boo, I Still Need My Alone Time
You know those couples who spend every waking second together? They are constantly posting on social media about how much they love the other person. They are always together. They wear matching clothes. If you invite one out to brunch, they both show up. They finish each other’s sentences. Basically, they seem like one person. You may think they’re the best couple ever but actually, they’re not. It’s important to have some time to yourself. Your relationship is important but it’s not 100% who you are. You should have your own friends, hobbies, job and things to do. You should be able to define yourself without your partner. And you should both respect and understand when the other person just needs some space and alone time.
3We’re On The Same Page When It Comes To Finances
They say that the biggest issue in relationships is money. And that’s because we’re raised in a culture where it’s really shameful to talk about money. People are weird about money and everyone has their own history with it. So it can be really hard to open up to your partner and talk finances. But if you don’t, you’ll end up resenting one another when one person empties out the joint budget to buy a new car and someone else brings in thousands in student loan debt. Talk about money. It doesn’t have to be scary. Think of money as a tool to build the lives you want to have. Commit to sitting down once a week or once a month and sharing your finances. Go over your bank accounts, paycheques, loans, debts, budgets, and goals. It might be awkward at first but it’s so important.
2We Share The Same Life Goals
It’s great to have some differences between you and your partner. You never eat pizza crusts and the crusts are her favorite part. You love swimming and he’s afraid of water. Differences are great because it means you can learn from one another and grow as people. But some things need to be more in sync. You should be on the same page when it comes to your life goals. If this is a relationship you want to go the distance, you both need to be imagining the same future. So talk about it. Is marriage in the cards? If so, when? Do you two want to have children? If so, when and how many? Do you want to go back to school? Do you want to move to a new city? Do you want to buy a house? Do you want to start your own business? You don’t have to have all of the answers but knowing what the other person wants out of life is really important.
1I Know No Relationship Is Perfect So I’m Willing To Put In The Work To Make Us Work
This is key. No relationship is perfect. They all take work. No matter how much you are in love with your partner. No matter how cute, funny and wonderful they are – your relationship is going to be hard at some points. It’s really going to suck. You might really dislike this person that you’re so in love with. But it will be worth it if you’re willing to put in the work to make it work. If you’re willing to have the tough talks, make compromises, be there for your person, and push through tough times, you will also get all the wonderful times. Because your relationship is also going to bring you great joy. The happiest moments of your life will be with and because of your partner. You get to do life with this amazing person by your side. And you can have it all if you’re willing to put in the work.