(From someone’s who’s never been in one)
I recently read this book called “Attached” by Rachel Heller (which I highly recommend) and I now firmly believe I am a fully qualified counselor for relationships. Despite never being in a romantic relationship myself, I thought I came up with some pretty darn good advice that hopefully, I can take myself when (or if) the situation eventually occurs.
1. Be unapologetic about who you are.
A no brainer (duh), but you shouldn’t be changing yourself for anyone, no matter how attractive they may be. Be authentic to who you are, and you’ll attract the like-minded. Don’t like football? Then disagree! Do you get easily attached? Then don’t pretend you’re unaffectionate! If they aren’t interested in you, then at least you know they’re not worth your time because you were being yourself. Own your quirks and passions, girl.
2. Communication is key.
Literally, so freaking essential to any good partnership. Linking on with my last point, know what you want from a relationship and tell it to your partner! If you’re someone who needs a lot of space and down time, let them know or they’ll be left wondering what they did wrong. You don’t want to be left guessing in any relationship, whether that’s about faithfulness, intentions or feelings. From the get go, ask yourself, “What do I want from this? What boundaries do I need in order for my sanity?” and establish this with your partner.
3. Catch the warning signs early.
I think society has the misconception that most relationships are meant to be rollercoasters – going up, crashing down and doing a series of loops, which make you feel ill to the stomach. THIS IS NOT NORMAL! A good relationship is stable and reliable and you won’t be questioning yourself every two seconds. Does this person constantly cancel plans last minute? Only calls you on a Friday or Saturday night? Drops racist, sexist or demeaning comments? Then get out of there fast before these minor mishaps turn into something way more serious.
4. Be consistent.
Inconsistency, I believe is also a warning sign – both you and your significant other must be making mutual and consistent efforts. Consistency builds stability, and stability builds trust, and trust paves the way to true intimacy and love. Make an effort to regularly see each other, or Skype if you’re long-distance. If you send a good night message every night and then suddenly stop out of nowhere, the other person may freak out by sensing a potential problem. If something is out of the ordinary make sure you communicate the issue, ensuring you can understand each other thus preventing unnecessary conflict.
5. Relationships are work.
Through watching countless of my friends in long-term relationships, this is probably the biggest key point I’ve found. Relationships are not necessarily easy or super lovey-dovey all the time – it takes work. Before you enter one, ask yourself, “Am I ready for this? Do I have the time? Do I feel emotionally secure within myself? Can I be faithful to this person?” Whilst relationships are not always 100% smooth flowing, it should still be a rewarding experience nonetheless. Be prepared to put in the effort to make it work.
© 2017 Reef Magazine