There will always be disagreements and days when a relationship is not 50/50. It’s how we deal with those times that keep a relationship strong. Someone asked a popular forum for advice they would give to maintain a healthy and strong relationship. Here are their top answers. Do you agree?
1. Always Communicate
Talking with your partner, even the little things, can make more difference than we realize. Something that bothers you may seem small, but when we don’t acknowledge them, they build upon each other. One user says, “Eventually, you’ll explode and cause a fight when it wasn’t necessary.”
Another adds, “If you’re wondering why they did or said a certain thing, ask them. Don’t just sit there and let your imagination run wild because nine times out of ten, what you’re imagining is way worse than reality.”
2. Always Listen
As with communicating, listening is vital as well. Dismissing someone’s feelings when they’ve expressed a dislike in an action you’ve done can do just as much damage. We tend to jump on the defense before admitting fault when someone confirms a problem we have caused.
“What seems like not a big deal can turn into a bigger deal when you refuse to admit your fault, “claims one user. “Instead of jumping on the defense, listen to why your partner is upset first. Chances are, you did not intend to upset them.”
3. Always Be Honest
Trust can take a while to build between two people. But it is very easily broken. One user confirms, “Even the little lies will break trust. Those little lies seem harmless, but if you can’t trust a person with little things, how can you trust them with bigger.”
4. You Can’t Unsay Words
Words can cut deep; when we’re angry, we sometimes say things we wish we hadn’t. “Take the time to think of what you want to say before saying it,” advises one user. “You can’t undo the damage your words will cause, so make sure they aren’t hurtful.”
5. It’s Healthy to Vent to Others
One user says, “I think it can be beneficial to get advice and feedback from outside parties when in a conflict with a partner. Only do it with mature adults whom you trust, of course, and ideally, don’t disrespect your partner or be purposely unfair to them. But a best friend who knows you well can often help you process emotion or a relationship problem in a way a partner can’t.”
Sometimes, talking it out with a third party who can see both sides will help you realize how to confront the problem. So often, this can turn into just complaining, and even that may shine some light on if you are happy in the relationship.
6. Always Have Each Other’s Backs
Feeling supported by your significant other is essential. You are and should operate as a team. One user advises, “Back up your spouse. You are a team, and you must support each other publicly. If someone makes errors, correct that in private. Publicly, you’re a united team. This applies to challenges from everyone, including friends and your family.”
7. Accept Change
Allow room for personal growth within the relationship. People change over time, and allowing your significant other to grow as a person will change their personality, likes, and beliefs.
“You’re both going to change,” exclaims one user. “You have to be willing to accept change in your partner rather than resenting them for not being the same person they were five years ago.”
8. Don’t Play the Blame Game
Too often, when people argue, they are arguing over who is right rather than trying to find a resolution to the problem. One user states, “Your focus in arguments should be, if we want to continue, how do we fix this problem? Instead of worrying about who’s right or wrong.”
9. Your Needs Are Important Too
Don’t lose yourself in your significant other. Yes, you want to fulfill their needs, but your needs are still just as important. One user confirms, “Don’t care about your significant other more than you care about yourself. This will decrease your self-confidence, cause you to sacrifice things you should not sacrifice for their sake, and ultimately cause you to be unhappier.”
10. Agree on How to Argue
Agree on how to argue. Have a plan on what implies going too far and when you need to step away. In any argument, the goal should be to come up with a resolution, not just play the blame game of who was wrong.
One user suggests, “My girlfriend and I decided early on in our relationship that if a disagreement got to the point where we were raising voices, we needed to stop. Our end goal in a disagreement is an amicable understanding; if we are yelling, then clearly one of us has failed to articulate our point, and we need to start over.”
11. Step Away When Needed
It is ok to be angry. It is how we react when we are that makes the difference. One user comments, “Avoid saying or doing things you regret later, and step away to calm down.” We all need time to reflect on what we really want to say or even to reflect on why we are so angry at the action in the first place.
12. Don’t Force It
Take your time to find the right person. If you’re not feeling a “happily ever after,” don’t force it. Relationships are not always easy, but that does not mean they should always be complex.
One user says, “There’s nothing wrong with wanting a little companionship. So often, though, people stay in a relationship they’re not happy in to avoid being alone.”
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