In most of the relationships I have been in, I have always thought it would end up in marriage. There was even a time I was ‘engaged’ 😅 (2017 highlights). I met someone, like all the other boyfriends before, who I thought was the one, and then he ended up not being ‘the one’. At the time, I was pretty distraught, but something happened in the process. I got into a deep connection which has taught me a lot, and I’m sharing the top relationship lessons I’ve learned and continue to implement in my life.
You learn things and unlearn others when you’re in a good relationship. You act differently; you think as part of a team, not as an individual making your way through the world. You’ll be more understanding and accepting of your partner instead of just getting frustrated with them as you may have with past relationships.
Without Communication, You Have Nothing
My career is in communication, but when I tell you this is something I had to learn in a relationship, best believe me. I didn’t realize I was that bad 🙈.
Every time I was mad at him, I assumed he knew how sad I was by seeing how I acted. What I would forget, however, is that this person is not a mind reader and may not know precisely what upset me.
Proper communication can only happen when you let go of who you think the other person is and forget what you assume they’re thinking or feeling (we all tend to be mind-readers when it comes to relationships!).
We all yearn to be heard, acknowledged and loved and appreciated for what we are, rather than what people think we are — or worse, what they think we ‘should’ be. The only way this can happen is through communication.
Misunderstandings are inevitable
Misunderstandings will happen.
In my previous relationships, I was ‘scared’ of misunderstandings because, in my young mind, they would lead to fights and the end of a relationship (young me was clearly overthinking a lot!).
Misunderstandings exist even in non-romantic settings. Sometimes what you say or do will be taken the wrong way, and you’ll get frustrated that your partner doesn’t understand. Take a step back and realize it’s not a big deal. Take it easy and forgive misunderstandings.
Show your feelings
When you are happy, sad, confused or even stressed, show (and tell) how you feel. The worst thing you can do in a relationship is hiding your feelings.
Tied to this is something I had to ask myself a lot, especially every time we would get into arguments: “Do my feelings of anger change how I feel about him?” and I realized they don’t. I couldn’t just decide not to make dinner for us because of how I was feeling. He still needed to feel loved, even in my anger.
Encourage growth and change
People change. People grow. People in a relationship are no different. If you want your partner to stay the same, you will have a boring life together.
Always remember that even in your relationship (or marriage, for my married peeps), you have one life to live, and you should explore it to the fullest! If you want to quit your job and go back to school on another continent, talk to your partner about it. It may be difficult for them, but they will support you. If you want to try something new or go back to something old, you should find support in your relationship. And you should give this support in return. Encourage your partner to explore hobbies and interests and meet new people.
Forgive quickly and truly
Now this one, I am still learning 😅.
Don’t worry about who wins or loses whenever you have a fight. Learn from the fight – what was said and how it was resolved. Once you learn from a fight, you can apply that lesson to your relationship to avoid trouble later.
Also, forgive your partner! Forgive yourself. The fight is over. You’re past it; now let it go. Never hold anything against your partner because resentment will build up until you don’t want to be with them.
Compromising doesn’t mean you’re weak
For a long time, I thought compromising made me appear weak. But when I grew up, I realized it didn’t mean I’d lost the fight. In fact, it’s the opposite.
It is so hard to compromise sometimes. You want your way because it sounds right and makes sense to you. Take a step back and look at the argument diplomatically. What’s the logical conclusion? If your partner is right, don’t be afraid to say so. Accept their way, or modify both of your solutions to be half and half. The important thing to remember is the goal: staying in your relationship and helping it grow. Compromising will definitely help your relationship grow.