They say love is a battlefield.
I’ve tended to respond, “well, screw that then.”
With all the battles big and small we’re forced to face in life, why would I voluntarily undertake more of them in an area which, ostensibly, is supposed to bring joy?
There’s a fine line between realistic about good relationships and resigning yourself to bad ones, which is where things like this come in:
Let’s see what advice Reddit has to offer.
1. Expectations and values
Not everyone will value your relationship like you do.
It’s VERY important to make sure you both have the same expectations and values; otherwise like two unequally yoked animals, you will continue to walk in circles over the same ground.
2. Don’t put it off
Putting off ending things for fear of hurting someone’s feelings is the worst possible idea.
If the relationship isn’t right and you know you don’t want to be together then sparing someone’s feelings in the short term only leads to more pain later down the line.
Be honest and front the horrible conversation
3. It’s crazy
Eventually love is not being “crazy in love” all the time.
4. The phases
Once you get beyond the initial lust/heart-fluttery part of a romantic relationship, you begin to realize that love looks a lot different than the rom-com movies. It’s not embracing in the pouring rain, kissing under the Eiffel Tower, trying to board the plane to convince them not to go.
It’s handing them a box of Cheez-its when they get home from a 12 hour shift and are too exhausted to move. It’s driving them to the airport at 3 a.m. for their dream job interview. It’s managing their prescriptions when they get too sick to do it themselves.
Relationships are often unglamorous and while a committed relationship can be very rewarding, there’s more to it than you and your hot partner canoodling and going on trips for the rest of your lives. Relationships can take a lot of work, some of it that you will never see coming in the early days.
5. Oxytocin dependency
Love (and the oxytocin dependency that comes with it) can keep people together through almost anything.
Including mutual abuse, suffering, boredom and misery.
6. Compatibility counts
Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you should be with them.
A relationship needs more than love
7. It takes two
It takes two to be in a relationship.
If one person is putting in all the effort and the other isn’t, it’s eventually all going to fall apart when the one who is giving the effort stops.
Great relationships are mutual.
They aren’t going to magically know you’re upset with them. They aren’t going to read your passive-aggressive signs. They aren’t going to pick up on that.
If you are upset, talk to your partner about it. Not your friends. Not you parents. Not strangers on the internet – your partner.
9. Know the signs
You should not be anxious about the relationship all the time. You shouldn’t be stressed about if they love you or if they’re going to leave you or if they’re out cheating on you or what they’re thinking. It shouldn’t be a major source of stress, in fact if it’s a good partnership both of your lives should be easier.
The old adage about relationships being hard work isn’t really accurate, being with them shouldn’t be hard or a battle. It’s more accurate to say that a good relationship takes effort, like you should both be striving for open communication, handle conflict in a healthy way, make each other happy but it shouldn’t be exhausting or hard or stressful to be with them.
They should be a source of comfort.
10. It’s up to you
Relationships do not have an instruction manual. Relationships are whatever the people involved want it to be.
Sometimes what your SO wants is drastically different than what you want. No matter how much you love each other, you might not get past the differences.
11. Not everything?
Love isn’t everything.
At least not “love” as most people interpret it.
I wouldn’t even say it necessarily “takes work.”
Two people can love each other deeply while being terrible for each other, treating each other poorly, etc. all the love in the world doesn’t compensate for lack of growth. If both people aren’t growing and evolving over time, if the relationship doesn’t foster growth and security, then love simply is irrelevant.
It should go without saying but you should always be on the same team, never adversarial.
12. All in the family
Familial relationships also need the effort that all other types get, or else they will fall apart.
13. What’s past is past
Everybody has a past life, history, things you may not like.
It’s easy to love all of their great experiences but it can be challenging to accept some of their past life that disturbs you or you worry may be a problem still.
A very challenging part of relationships is getting out of your head on who they used to be and focus more on who they ARE now and how they make you feel
14. Mutual responsibility
Loving someone and being loved puts you in a position of mutual responsibility – your actions affect the other person’s emotions and to some degree you are now accountable for how they feel.
You need to be willing to make compromises because you value your partner’s happiness and respect their needs.
A good relationship is built on mutual responsibility and respect and is not unconditional
15. Chew on that
I don’t know how hard to swallow this is, but you’re both eventually going to get older and fatter and accept it.
Well, that last one’s gonna happen whether your single or not, so.
What other bits of advice would you add?
Tell us in the comments.