Talk Openly and Honestly
Maintaining an open line of communication is the lifeblood of a relationship. Navigating life is hard enough, but if you aren’t honestly communicating with your partner, you are making the path exponentially more treacherous!
Imagine a trail guide sending you off on dead-end trails because they were uncomfortable telling you the route! This method may save feelings initially, but it leads to heartache for everyone.
Talking honestly about your feelings is hard, but the more you practice together, the better you will get and the closer you and your partner will become.
If you struggle to communicate openly with your partner, try to determine the cause. Is it a fear of being judged? Has there been a breach of trust? Confront this issue head-on and work through it with your partner.
It may be a difficult way to start, but it will pave the way for honest communication in the future. Remember to listen to your partner the way you wish to be heard.
Set and Respect Boundaries
Where is the line? This question is a critical conversation to have (and keep having) with your partner. From what ice cream in the freezer is solely yours to what constitutes cheating, healthy relationships set and respect boundaries. If one person in the relationship seems to exert their will on the other, influencing their boundaries, address this immediately. It is natural and healthy to have limits, and it is a giant red flag if you feel your partner is not respecting the things that matter to you, including the lines you set.
Stay on the Same Team
Disagreements will arise in every relationship, but HOW you disagree matters. The first thing to remember is that you are on the same team and want to solve the disagreement together. Avoid name-calling and blaming your partner; you would not do that to your teammate, and you shouldn’t do it to your partner! Work together to attack the issue, not each other. Second, listen and validate each other. Arguments frequently escalate due to hearing something different than what your partner is saying. When we are in the heat of the moment, it is easy for us to color what we hear with our version of the situation, which is frequently completely wrong. Repeat what your partner has said to ensure you have understood their meaning, try to see the situation from their point of view, then express your opinion.
Foster Intimacy Constantly
Intimacy is not just limited to the bedroom; it also includes the vulnerability to share your true selves with your partner.
Foster intimacy by having frequent, open, and honest dialogues with your significant other. Talk about your wants, needs, and boundaries. The more you open up and share your true feelings, the stronger your intimate bond will be.
Talking is especially important when it comes to physical intimacy. Have sex, talk frequently, and stay true to what feels right for you. A partner who pushes you into unwanted or upsetting actions is abusing their access to your intimacy and committing a crime. Constant consent is always required, even in relationships.
See Other People
As much as you love your partner, they should not be the only person in your life.
Individual interests and experiences give you more to talk about when you reunite! Building a support system outside of your partner is incredibly important. If your partner forbids you from having outside friendships or family time, this is a significant sign of abuse. Trust your partner to have a life they can share with you.