Wouldn’t it be a fabulous world if we were all Stepford perfect? None of us would ever feel inadequate. We would not have moments of doubt or ridicule. Our relationships would be smooth and glossy, like a Tiffany lamp, not crackled and baroque like a made-in-grade-school mug.
Snowflakes and flowers have the potential to be perfect, but not people. We are beautiful in our flaws and emotionally adept through our imperfections. The trick is finding someone who will love us through, and sometimes, in spite of our imperfections.
I have more failed relationships than successful one, and my advice comes from personal experience and not from books or expert research. I am sharing what I have done wrong in relationships so that, perhaps, others can learn in an easier way what I learned the hard way.
Stop being stubborn. There are moments when people must compromise. Each party in a relationship, be it an intimate one or a business one, needs to be able to reach an agreement with the other party. Don’t compromise on personal morals or values, but do take a two-hour road trip to your partner’s hometown to buy a doughnut at the county fair if it will make your partner happy.
Communicate. I am guilty of believing people are mind-readers and will know what I need or want at any given moment. I recently learned to share my intent before asking my partner to join me for an activity. For example, “Love, I would like to spend some time with you, but I don’t feel well. Can we stay home and relax in the hot tub?” That day my partner wanted to go dancing and a friend of ours was having a pool party. Reaching an agreement about what to do that day was extremely difficult as we went back and forth on what to do with our time, until I gave my intent prior to asking for quiet time together.
Let the past go. Stop comparing your partner to the one who got away or to the person you dated prior to your partner. People change on a daily basis. Therefore, what we need or want from our intimate relationships is ever-evolving. Live in today or live for tomorrow, but leave the past in the past.
Enjoy each moment as it occurs. When you kiss your partner hello or goodbye, make it a kiss to remember. There is no guarantee that you won’t be hit by a bus on your way home today.
Encourage intimacy. Our lives are hectic, and that can cause our sex lives to suffer. Build intimacy and sex into your schedule, if need be, but do not ignore intimacy or the lack of sex in your otherwise healthy relationship.
Be honest with yourself and with your partner. We all have our down days. We all have the potential to take anger or misery out on other people, especially our partners. Take a few minutes to get a grip on any negative emotions before interacting with your partner. If the negativity persists or gets in the way of your having a healthy relationship with your partner, seek professional help. Counseling can be a positive character builder for people with excess emotional baggage, self-esteem issues, and sexual, emotional or physical abuse trauma.
Know when to walk away. There are times when relationships fail for arbitrary reasons. There are times when no matter how hard someone tries, he or she just stops clicking with his or her partner and their relationship suffers. Sometimes leaving that situation can be beneficial for both partners. If and when you do leave someone, do it with grace, dignity, and respect.
Embrace the positive. People who know their strengths and weaknesses tend to be stronger individuals in general. Stay focused on positive qualities rather than negative attributes. People with a sunnier disposition tend to be less depressed than their stormy counterparts.
Finally, be grateful. There is always someone who has a rougher life than yours who would be grateful to be you and to have your life with all its bumps and downs. Find the joy in your life and let it shine.