6 Tips on How to Have a Strong Relationship
How to Get in a Relationship
Long-lasting romantic relationships can be one of the most fulfilling aspects of life, giving us the opportunity to grow and share our journey with someone. That said, it almost always takes time and effort to find the right person at the right time, and to get that relationship off the ground. Knowing what you want, respecting yourself, and keeping a positive attitude are as important in finding a partner as they are in keeping one.
Clearing Obstacles to a Relationship
Learn about what makes a relationship healthy.Recognizing healthy versus unhealthy relationship dynamics can be difficult, especially if you've grown up around unhealthy relationships. Fortunately, you can find a lot of information online about healthy relationships. Use this knowledge to create healthy boundaries for yourself before you seek a relationship.
- For example, know what you will and will not tolerate from a partner. Stand your ground if someone violates these boundaries.
Respect yourself.Lots of problems can occur in relationships if you don't have adequate love and respect for yourself first. These are also things that can be easily damaged by failed past relationships, unaddressed wounds from childhood, etc.
- Self-respect means accepting who you are, and also forgiving yourself for mistakes. When you learn to practice these things, you'll also learn to love, accept, and forgive your partner.
- When you have self-respect, you also understand how you expect and deserve to be treated. This is crucial for avoiding potentially abusive relationships.
Deal with the past.The last thing you want in your new relationship is an unsettled issue from a previous relationship or marriage. Working through the reasons why your last relationship was unsuccessful can also help you avoid repeating the same mistakes.
- A therapist may help you develop a clear view of your relationship patterns and make a constructive plan for resolving any difficult issues.
- It's never too late to change a pattern of behavior. If you feel incapable of intimacy or unable to maintain a long-lasting relationship, know that you can always change that with time and the right amount of guidance.
Don't enter a relationship just for the sake of a relationship.Social pressures sometimes make us feel as though we need to be in a relationship at any cost. This is a myth. Remember that no relationship is better than a bad relationship. Make sure your interest in your potential partner is genuine.
Know that attraction can build over time.Love at first sight is a nice idea, but is not the case for many relationships. If you aren't instantly attracted to someone, it doesn't mean that they are a bad choice for you: lasting love is something that grows over time, and friends can turn into lovers. When considering potential partners, do not get overly obsessed with their appearance. Personal qualities like kindness, humor, and curiosity count for a lot more in the long run, and you may find yourself very attracted to this person as a result.
Don't expect to change your partner.It's easy to overlook certain things you don't like at the beginning with the thought that you'll eventually get this person to change. However, people can only change themselves, if and when they want to. If there's something you think you really can't accept long-term, think twice about getting into the relationship.
- Similarly, be wary of a partner who wants to change you. It's okay to grow together, but neither of you should be changing for the other person.
Don't get hung up on small things.While certain patterns (such as drinking, abuse, or irresponsible behavior) may be clearly unacceptable, there could be other, smaller things that get under your skin, like chewing with their mouth open, questionable fashion choices, or different taste in music. If this is a person you're really interested in, don't let these become an excuse to avoid intimacy.
Meeting and Dating
Find out where to go to meet people with similar interests.If you've been having trouble meeting someone, make a list of the things you like doing. Mutual interests can be a great boon to your relationship.
- Consider joining a club for one of your hobbies, like hiking, reading, or dancing.
- Volunteer for a cause you're passionate about, like a food pantry, animal shelter, or political campaign.
- Take a class. Check offerings at a local college or community center. Cooking, languages, or art classes are fulfilling on their own, and can be a good social opportunity as well.
Take dating services with a grain of salt.For some people, Internet dating may work well, while others might find them too high-pressure or lacking in spontaneity. If you do opt for online dating, remember: despite formulae allegedly created to find your perfect match, it takes a long time to get to know someone, andthatneeds to happen in person.
Make a casual date.If you've met someone of interest, feel free to make the first move and invite them for a no-pressure activity. Going out for coffee is almost always a viable option. Other choices may depend on how you've met: for example, if you're both in the trail club, you could invite the person on a hike with a few of your friends. If you both like music, see if they'd like to go to a concert.
- It's a good idea to suggest a meeting in a public place where there will be other people. This gives both of you a certain assurance that you can get to know each other in a safe, neutral environment.
- A casual meeting also removes any pressure that a more formal invitation might incur.
Learn to accept rejection.Rejection is an inherent part of the dating process, and you'll need to learn how to handle it in a positive way.
Avoid sex early in the dating process.Sharing your most intimate behavior with someone you've just met can throw off the pacing of your budding relationship. If you like this person, chances are there are going to be emotions connected to sex that the two of you are not ready to handle yet. What's more, one or both of you might not take responsible actions regarding issues like STIs or pregnancy prevention. Worse still, the other person might just disappear afterwards!
- While your date may show interest in having sex, they should never pressure you. Make it clear that your wanting to hold off isn't a rejection, but rather preciselybecauseyou like them and want to wait until the moment is right. If they don't understand this, put some distance between you: this could be a red flag that they are possessive or potentially abusive. It's always a red flag when someone doesn't respect your boundaries.
Check out how you both behave around the other's friends and family.As the dating process moves on, you'll probably meet some of the people close to them, and they'll meet yours. See how comfortable the two of you are in those situations: this can be a clue as to how the relationship is going.
- Sometimes one or both of you may not feel entirely comfortable. That's okay - the main thing is that you're making the effort to spend time and connect with each other's loved ones.
Maintain your ties with family and friends.Some new relationships can seem all-consuming, but resist the urge to drop off the face of the Earth with your new love interest. Make it a point to stay in touch with your friends and family, taking time to call and see them regularly. Don't forget that romance comes and goes, but these are the people who'll be there for you in the long run.
Watch out for red flags.There are some signs that the relationship is not headed in a healthy direction. Learn to listen to your gut, paying attention to how the other person makes you feel. If you feel undervalued, insecure, or ashamed, it's better to end the relationship early and invest your time in search of something long-lasting.
- Alcohol-dependent dating: the two of you only connect when you've been drinking.
- Non-committal behavior: sometimes people have a lot of difficulty making a commitment because of something from their past, such as a broken home or an inability to trust.
- Poor nonverbal communication: the person should be showing you their interest with body language, such as eye contact and touch; if not, they may be too tuned out.
- Jealousy: if your partner doesn't like you spending time on other things important to you like hobbies, friends, or family members.
- Controlling behavior: if they try to tell you what to do, think, or feel.
- Blaming: the person blames the other person for their failed relationships and/or refuses to take responsibility for their actions.
- Exclusively sexual relationship: if the only time you spend together is in bed.
- No time alone together: if the other person isn't interested in one-on-one time with you (other that in bed).
Nurturing a New Relationship
Find things to do together.When the initial excitement of your romance has faded a little, you'll both need to commit to spending time together and investing in the relationship. Discuss what you both like doing and make a plan to do fun things on a regular basis, no matter how busy you are.
- Studies have shown that the excitement of doing new things together increases arousal and brings you closer.
Stay independent.While it may be tricky to balance relationship and self-realization, the latter is in fact very important to your love life. Mutual independence means you both continue to grow as individuals, doing what you love. This not only helps stave off unhealthy relationship patterns like codependency (when one of you depends on the other for your self-worth and identity); it can also be stimulating and renewing by allowing you to see each other do what you love and are good at.
Don't fear conflict.As relationships continue, disagreements almost inevitably arise. It's important to feel safe to express things that bother you without fearing the consequences. Fight fair by listening to each other's side, and strive to resolve via compromise for the sake of your relationship.
QuestionHow do I bring a girl to my home to meet my parents?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTell them about her first. Bring it up gradually. Maybe do it like this,'" Mom, Dad, I have a girlfriend and I was wondering if you would like to meet her tomorrow." See if they are okay with you dating her, or dating at all if you are young. Then, pick a time and bring her.Thanks!
QuestionWhat should I do if my parents don't let me date but I am in love?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry to talk to them and understand why they are saying what they are saying. If you are too young, give it time and enjoy being a kid.Thanks!
QuestionI had a crush on a boy but he played with my feelings by telling his friends and laughing at me. I still love him, but there's a boy who proposed to me. What shall I do, can you help me?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerStay away from the boy who was laughing at you with his friends as people like that are not good for relationships. As for the other boy, it is up to you and if you like him.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I overcome the nervousness I feel when attempting to talk to the boy I like?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you like him, tell him. The worst thing that could happen is maybe he would say he doesn't like you, but that is unlikely.Thanks!
What do I talk about with him?
How do I respond to my childhood friend falling in love with me?
- If you think you need therapy to work through some of your relationship issues, but worry about the cost, consider group therapy. It can be an affordable and effective option.
Sources and Citations
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