Ten Things Relationships Are (NOT!)

If there’s one thing I’m not, it’s a relationship guru. No one is! Learning to love is a process, and you can only hope to do the best you can. There is no guidebook to a bulletproof relationship (well, I’m sure there’s one out there, but I don’t recommend you purchase it) and different things work for different couples. However, over the past 21 years of living life, I can share with you ten things I’ve decided relationships are NOT:

  1. A Schedule – If you’re trying to equate “time spent together” with “quality of relationship,” you’re doing it wrong! Sometimes it’s not the amount of time together that fertilizes love; it’s how you’re spending that time that matters. A 10 minute conversation about the future is more memorable than ten hours of binge watching Netflix.
  2. Work – I mean this in every sense of the word. If you both work in the same environment, you will only be productive if you interact as coworkers. Taking that attitude home, however, is anything but productive! You will find that business consumes romance outside of the workplace. For couples that don’t work together, refrain from taking your significant other to work with you on the regular. It’s only natural to discuss work during small talk; if your lover is a fly on the wall at your job, the intrigue will quickly fade. Lastly, keep work talk to a minimum! Sometimes, your honey wants to believe your world is all about them.
  3. Tacky – Do girls love flowers? Yes. Do girls love flowers every day? Probably not. Do guys love new ties/hats/sneakers? Yes. Do guys love receiving these treats every day? Maybe, but they might start questioning your sense of style! Everybody loves the cutesy romantic gesture, but overdo it and it’ll seem like a chore on both sides. Also, corny gifts don’t ever patch up a real issue – approach the problem head-on, don’t throw chocolate at it (unless, of course, it’s menstrual-cycle related.)
  4. Sex-based – We have a great word exclusively sex-driven relationships in this day and age: ‘fuck buddies.” Don’t misunderstand – sex is fantastic. Every evening calls for something different, however – some nights call for making love, others for spicy action, still others for lazy sex and even a night or two dedicated to just cuddling close and being together. Be sensitive to your mate’s needs and desires – it could make or break your relationship.
  5. About Your Previous Relationship – News flash: You’re dating someone new, and they are NOT your ex (even if you wish they were.) Don’t ever compare past dates, vacations, or even mannerisms between mates. It may be hard to digest in the beginning, but your new boo doesn’t know your old one (hopefully!) Any coincidences are unintentional.
  6. Cordial – Being gentle is good, but being fake is the worst thing you can do.  Relationships are all about dynamics, and it’s important to be comfortable enough to be honest with each other. If your partner does something that displeases, bothers, or hurts you, it is your job to make them aware. Too often, couples that don’t communicate with each other get locked in a battle of revenge; revenge leads to resentment, and resentment diminishes love. Be yourself with your partner; it’s bound to happen eventually! Save the front for the in-laws.
  7. One-Sided – Never was there a happy relationship in which one person wholeheartedly submitted to the other. Domination may be nice in the bedroom (at least, that’s what Fifty Shades has been telling us) but when it comes to love, submission is a dangerous affair. Your partner should inspire you to become everything you want to be – even if that’s a housewife/husband! Alternatively, if you find yourself frustrated when your partner isn’t meeting all of your ideals, maybe you should take a minute to self-reflect on your own motives.
  8. Set In Stone – When your relationship first began, you probably started planning out what eye color you hoped your children would have and how big your house would be. The funny thing is, these ideals rarely ever take shape in the real world. Things change: feelings, circumstances, jobs and friend groups. Work on accepting the things you can’t change, and looking forward to what fate has in store for the two of you.
  9. About Money – Some people fall in love with doctors; others fall in love with starving artists. Then, there are people that fall in love with doctors because they are doctors and avoid starving artists because they are, well, starving. In fact, some may even shy away from the rich surgeon and gravitate towards the starving artist because they want to be the hero. In these situations, money is the motive. Money is a great motive to have – but it should not be the only motive. The worst thing I’ve ever heard a woman say about her man was, “Oh, he’s really not that bright. But God, is he loaded!” Only go for the money if you’re in it for the alimony!
  10. An Enormous Effort – There will be times in your relationship when you’ll want to whack your lover upside the head with a metal pan. There will be times when you question whether or not your relationship is “right.” This is normal, and you should expect these sensations. However, you should not end most days together with the thought, “Oh, I’ll give him/her another chance… Maybe I’ll feel differently tomorrow.” If this becomes a persistent thought, consider that perhaps this relationship has run its course. It’s a terrible feeling to know you’re less dedicated to the relationship than your partner is. “Heartbreaker” is an embarrassing title to wear on your sleeve, but it’s always more fair to face the facts before the relationship runs wild. Be honest.
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