20 Obvious Things You Should Know About Relationships – Part #2

So, without further ado, we continue with Part #2 and the next 10 blindingly obvious things we should know about our relationship (at our age).

 

If you missed Part #1, head over here.

 

Remember to join in with your thoughts at the end in the comments section.

 

#11 Relationship compromise – Get this right!

I see clients playing the martyr with this one. This happens when people compromise on their core values. When they compromise on who they really are inside.

 

It leads to resentment eventually. They do what they think is the right thing but inside they are dying and their spark has gone.

 

What I also see though is the dramatic change when they refuse to compromise on these anymore and take a stand. Suddenly life looks different. They remember who they are and the spark returns

 

Compromise on where to go on holiday or what to watch on TV, yes. This is healthy and necessary. But never compromise who you are.

 

#12 Remember everyone’s relationship dynamic is different

So don’t compare.

 

Take advice with a pinch of salt.

 

I have been in relationships with overbearing relationship advice coming from outside. It erodes, it undermines and it’s rarely helpful. It starts to separate you.

 

Remember, no-one else will ever see your partner the way that you do.

 

No one else will ever understand better than you do, the way you understand your partner . Only you truly know what you get or don’t get from your relationship.

 

This is why any advice needs to be looked at in the context of your relationship. There is no one size fits all. Everything has to be tailored.

 

#13 Trust your gut instincts

I don’t mean jumping to conclusions and packing your bags because of a hunch. That’s a little more melodramatic than where I was going with this one.

 

I do mean raise something as an issue if something isn’t sitting right. Be honest. Be vulnerable (See #10).

 

Even if you are possibly misreading something, the longer that ‘feeling’ stays with you it will cloud other judgments. It will start to possibly even become something it never was.

 

But raising it helps to keep everything real and strengthen your connection with your partner. Your relationship should be a safe place to talk about whatever you are feeling, but you need to participate to create this.

 

#14 Focus on what’s good and not the flaws

It’s important to focus on the good things and to share those thoughts regularly.

 

Life is tough. Getting small little boosts of admiration and acknowledgement keep us going through tough times. It also changes the energy around how you see the other person. And, it’s another way of expressing gratitude.

 

The things you praise more, you feel better about. Don’t believe me? Try it for a week. Try praising your partner for a week and not picking up on the faults. See how it changes how you feel about them

 

#15 Don’t do unwritten contracts

Doing things in expectation of something in return is a relationship killer.reltaionship contract

 

I’m not proud of this but it is something I was guilty of in the past.  I learned some hard lessons.

 

I didn’t feel strong enough in myself, I was looking for validation. I wasn’t prepared to be vulnerable. So I did things in the hope of getting something in return, rather than just asking for what I wanted.

 

What happens though is this leads to expectation too. And this is where the damage is done. Because I expected something in return (because in my head that was only fair, wasn’t it?), I would start to get annoyed with the other person for not reciprocating.

 

But because I wasn’t prepared to be vulnerable I wouldn’t raise this either. So the only way it came out was through passive aggression.

 

So not only did I expect someone to honour a contract I kindly entered them into without their knowledge, I also expected them to be a mind reader too. Go me!

 

Needless to say, this strategy was never, ever successful.

 

Give because you want to. Not to get. And it feels so much better too.

 

#16 DO go to bed angry

That whole thing about not going to bed angry quite frankly is ridiculous. I have been in situations where I used this dangerous advice over and over. And I have had previous partners that insisted on it too.

 

Instead of two grown ups agreeing to disagree and to sort it out tomorrow, we persevered.

 

So what you have now is two angry people that are tired. angry relationships

 

[Read fast] And now you are also getting anxious because you are tired and you’re thinking about how early you have to get up and how this is going to affect your sleep and how that will ruin your day tomorrow so tomorrow evening you will be exhausted and you’re meant to be going out and you’re pissed at the person even more now… Phew!

 

So all of that rage comes exploding into the conversation now as well.

 

Way to go, Sherlock. Now we have two people emotionally charged and even more tired on top of it.

 

The fact is, everything looks better in the morning.

Everything looks a little better after sleep.

It always does.

 

How many times have you been in a rage only to wake up the next day thinking, What a f’%$ing idiot?

I know I have.

 

Agree you will sort it out tomorrow. Say you love each other. Sleep.

 

Caveat – Obviously if your partner found you in bed with another person and is standing over you threateningly bearing a 6 inch blade then this advice should be ignored.

 

#17 Don’t take everything personally

I did this.

I had situations where I thought it was all about me.

 

Someone was having a bad day. It was my fault.

Someone was upset. I must have done something.

 

It was actually quite liberating when I finally realised I wasn’t the centre of the universe [Editors note – about time!]

 

Sometimes you just need to let your partner have their own mood, and you can have yours 🙂

 

Also see caveat in #16. If that’s the scenario, it most likely is you.

 

#18 Make time for your relationship

If you are always too busy with work, the kids, your soap operas, or your video games, this starts to send a message. The wrong message.

 

I have to admit, I was previously in a relationship where a partner suggested we have a date night because I was always too busy. I thought it felt corny and contrived. So I didn’t really respond well and didn’t engage.

 

Now if I had of been standing behind that younger version of myself, I would have given me a good hard slap across the back of the head and told myself not to be an idiot.

 

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and what I know and fully appreciate now that I didn’t then, is that if you don’t make good quality time for your relationship, the message you send is that it isn’t important enough.

 

And that has consequences.

 

#19 Do give your partner space

A good relationship is like a fine wine.  It needs time and space to breathe.

 

Being clingy and expecting your partner to be around all of the time can be suffocating. We all need space sometimes and if you are ever asked to give your partner some space, it is important to not let your ego get in the way. See #17

 

It is also important to ask for space if you need it.

 

#20 Don’t try to change your partner

Do you know anyone this has ever worked for? Really?

 

No-one ever changes another person. Yet the amount of energy people spend trying to change their partner is incredible.

 

Everything starts with you.

You can change what you accept in the relationship.

You can change how you respond to your partner.

You change what you do or don’t do.

 

If you want someone else to change you can only ever do it through your own behaviours and hope that they respond in the right way. But if they do, it won’t be because you changed them. It will be because you changed you.

 

So there you have it. 20 obvious things we often miss or take for granted.

Is there anything you think is missing from this list? Join the conversation by leaving a comment below

 

Image 1 courtesy of Pedro Ribeiro Simões    Image 2 courtesy of  Juli

Image 3 courtesy of Jelle


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Showing 5 comments
  • Sarah
    Reply

    Great article Keith. For me and my husband our golden rule has always been put the other person first. That’s so easy in the early loved up phase but a few years and two children later it’s more challenging. It’s very easy to be selfish. To take short cuts. But that only takes away from the joy of the relationship. For me putting yourself first breaks down the relationship. That doesn’t mean not caring for yourself. It just means that in every decision or act, big or small, you put the other person first. A simple thing like leaving the last chocolate biscuit for your partner no matter how much you want it, because you know the next day when they’re having a tough time and they open the press to see it sitting there, they’ll smile and feel loved. To me that rule is so obvious but it’s often forgotten when times get tough.

    • Keith Clarke
      Reply

      Hi Sarah,

      Thanks for the comment 🙂

      You make some really good points. The chocolate biscuit thing is a a great example. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but it needs to be consistent 🙂

      And the usual caveat I will always throw in about putting the other person first is, as long as you are not compromising your core values. Martyr’s don’t achieve happiness in relationships.

      • Nasir
        Reply

        I think that fear of commitment is just BS. Most of the time the guy just ISN’T into that parutcilar girl like that, so they use the commitment fear excuse to avoid keeping it real with the woman. In reality, it’s either 1. Look, I’m a man whore. And I can’t keep slayin these hoes if I’m tied down to YOU 2. Look, I like you enough to chill and have sex, but I can’t take you home to mom. Sorry But trust me, there’s always that ONE woman that’ll get that ONE guy sprung enough to commit

        • Keith Clarke
          Reply

          Hi Nasir,

          I wouldn’t say it was BS. Sometimes the fear of commitment comes from the persons own insecurities. Committing means being vulnerable. It means being seen. It means making a decision. And sometimes it’s just easier to hide.

          However, your other two points are definitely common feelings. There is nothing saying that someone has to be in a committed relationship other than societal norms and expectations. Ultimately, it is all a matter of choice. As long as each person is being upfront with themselves and the other person, that’s OK. The issue is, people often aren’t upfront. And that is where people start getting hurt. It’s all about being real and authentic. But that takes courage.

    • Augustina
      Reply

      Finindg this post has solved my problem

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