When you’re in a successful relationship, it can be fun and exciting, but the flip side of that is maintaining that exhilarating connection is harder than it looks.
Do you remember ever receiving beneficial information regarding dating when you were younger? I didn’t. I do remember my well-intentioned grade-school friend telling me never to dance with a boy too close because you could get pregnant. Even then, I couldn’t figure out how that worked, and it sounded weird, but it’s something we laugh about to this day.
Sometimes it takes real-life experience to learn what to expect in your relationships. Still, instead of disseminating incorrect information, we’ll give you a few tips that all the best girlfriends know about successful relationships.
Don’t Worry about What He’s Thinking
The easiest way to drive yourself nuts is to wonder what he’s thinking all the time. The danger in that is that you begin obsessing over his thoughts, plus, half the time, you’re way off the mark anyway.
Of course, if the relationship is new, you want to know his every thought. However, you’ll understand more about what he’s thinking by observing his behavior. And if it’s still unclear to you, there’s a simple remedy; ask him. Instead of having a heavy “Where are we in this relationship?” talk, keep the conversation light-hearted but serious.
Don’t ask repeatedly until he does have an issue—and that’s with you constantly asking! Some guys don’t talk a lot and are even more guarded when it comes to their feelings. Instead, try to engage him in a dialog about whatever you want to know.
Also, please resist the annoying urge to interrupt silence with this mood-busting question, “What are you thinking about?” If he wasn’t irritated before, after that question, he probably would be.
Don’t Behave Obsessively
Stop trying to impress a guy by putting on an act. Instead, continue being the usual, mature person you’ve always been. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try fun new things within the relationship. That means you shouldn’t pretend to be something you’re not.
For example, he loves football, and you’d rather spend your Sundays on the couch watching Lifetime movies. Don’t try to be the sporty girl you think he wants and spend every game with him, cheering for a team you had no idea was playing or acting like you understand the calls.
While it’s reasonable to chill and watch an occasional game when you want to, pretending to obsess over the sport isn’t necessary.
Don’t Forget Your Needs
While being in a relationship is great, you don’t want to forget about your needs and desires. Often, women find themselves constantly trying to please their partner when it’s never all about him. When you’re together, it should be about both of you. Sometimes he’ll have to make the sacrifice, and sometimes you will.
Some women can lose themselves in their relationships because they get caught up in becoming what they believe their partner wants, and then they push their wants off the radar, which creates a one-sided situation.
If you hang out with your friends one weekend a month, continue to do so. If you went to yoga class one night a week, continue that also. Never give up your values or desires for the sake of your relationship.
Activities to Do Alone, Even if You’re Involved in a Successful Relationship
On social media, grocery shopping may seem like #RelationshipGoals, but really, it’s not necessary. While running errands may seem tedious to you, you don’t need to drag your partner into your misery.
In this case, it’s likely best to divide and conquer. He can do the produce shopping, and you can purchase the proteins. See? You’ve done it separately and got it done in half the time.
Most understand that dating someone doesn’t mean having someone who shares your same interests and hobbies. People in healthy relationships continue doing the activities they love, and your partner doesn’t need to do them with you. Of course, it’s cool to bond over your love of books, but it shouldn’t be a dealbreaker. And they shouldn’t expect that of you, either.
The idea is quite simple; if you do an activity that brings you love and joy, but your significant other doesn’t like doing it, you should continue doing it on your own.
So, continue fishing once a month, or resume holding your book club every Wednesday. No law says couples need to do everything together. Studies have even indicated that couples who do activities separate from their partner are happier individually.
Go to Church (Or Other Spiritual Practices)
If it’s not a dealbreaker, why not try dating someone of a different faith? It’s an excellent way to get to know others’ spiritual practices. If you don’t know where to begin, try online dating apps for Christian singles or Jewish singles. Other options include Catholic Match and Christian Cafe.
However, if you’ve been in a relationship with someone of a different faith for a while, you probably already understand not to force your religious beliefs on them, as they shouldn’t on you.
Many religious and spiritual practices require time spent alone reflecting (prayer, meditation). For many spiritual traditions, doing them alone is an added benefit. While there are some practices you can do with a partner, make sure to keep some activities personal, especially if you and your partner have different religious values.
When one study asked over one hundred participants whether or not they would prefer to work with their spouse, over fifty percent admitted that they preferred not to work with their partner.
Working and dating (being married) are obviously two different things. If you work from home or in an office, keep the relationship stuff away during working hours. You will likely need to be focused and may end up ignoring your partner, or you may become distracted from your work because your significant other is there. This can result in a waste of time and cause friction between you and your partner.
Relationships are all about balance, so spending time apart is another way to make your time together more meaningful. This doesn’t mean you can’t do other activities with your partner, like meditating, jogging, or getting a few errands done. However, it does mean you might feel more relaxed and refreshed if you can do some of these things alone.
Don’t Force Guys into a Commitment
Are you exhausted from waiting for him to make a forever commitment to you? If so, whatever it takes, stop yourself from blackmailing him emotionally. Don’t make demands like, “if you don’t commit to me I’m moving on,” especially if you don’t mean it. You may wind up disappointed if he calls your bluff.
Instead, focus on your personal life and stop placing all your stability and happiness on his shoulders. Start hanging out with your friends more or pick up new activities that don’t necessarily include him. You want to show him your confidence and independence, which attracts men way more than a girlfriend who’s needy and exhibits low self-esteem.
However, always be honest about your future goals together. It’s okay to let him know that you’d like to be in a committed relationship with him, but also tell him that if he’s not ready, that’s fine, too.
Then, enjoy your connection with your partner but also focus on other things outside of your relationship. When you strike a healthy balance between the two, you won’t be as pressed for him to commit.
Allow Him to Explain Himself
You’re getting to know him, but you most likely don’t know him well enough to jump to any conclusions about why he did or said something. Your best bet is to ask him. But don’t confront him in a hostile manner. Instead, ask him and allow him to explain his side of the story entirely.
You can say, “Hey, I noticed you didn’t introduce me to your co-worker at the restaurant last night. I was just wondering what’s up with that?” The key is to be non-confrontational, even if you are slightly upset. If you confront him angrily, he’ll only match that energy and respond with the same tone.
He may not have introduced you for many reasons, but you will only know if you ask. Maybe he forgot the person’s name, or perhaps that’s what he always does. Maybe something else was going on that you’re not privy to. He may feel he did nothing wrong, and you may feel another way. The point is to address the situation in a manner that’s respectful, even if you’re upset.
Don’t Tolerate Behavior That’s Disrespectful in Any Way
You may be thinking this isn’t something you need to worry about, and hopefully, it isn’t. But, unfortunately, I’ve seen highly intelligent, put-together women make excuses for their significant other’s obvious disrespectful behavior.
When you allow a man to get away with behaving unacceptably, he assumes his actions are okay. After all, you didn’t state otherwise. Understandably, you may be hesitant to confront his bad behavior, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Learn to set healthy boundaries immediately in your relationship. This way, you likely won’t need to deal with unwanted behavior, whether done deliberately or not. Once you address them, that should be the end of it. Of course, no one is perfect, and mistakes happen, so you may need to revisit the situation. If it continues, there may be other underlying issues you need to deal with.
Work to Make Your Relationship Last
As previously stated, relationships can be challenging. You’re dealing with two separate personalities, and even if you do get along and agree on most things, you will still have instances where it seems like you’re both going in opposite directions.
For a relationship to last, you need to nurture it. Although you won’t give up your girlfriends, or the activities you enjoy, you should be committed to carving out quality time with him. This means communicating when situations arise and checking in with each other occasionally.
You may have had so much going on in life before him, but now your relationship is a priority. You’ll have less time for other things, so you must create a healthy balance that suits everyone. This means you’ll have to be more intentional.
For example, instead of telling your friend that you should have lunch together next week, while you’re there talking to them, set the day, time, and place. Then put it on your calendar.
Instead of saying you’ll join the gym soon, make the deposit and start going once a week. If your gym days are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, keep it consistent. This way, your partner knows not to schedule anything during those times, and it will be easier for him to plan things to do together.
Some relationships come back from this, but sadly, some don’t. Before you know it, you are both heading in different directions and have no idea had to come back together.
Ideas to Help Couples Bond
- workout together
- plan a date night once a week
- go on vacation together
- spend at least one night each week alone (with no devices)
- surprise them for lunch at work
- take a cooking/dancing class together
- have sex regularly
Being in a relationship isn’t like receiving a college degree; once you get it, you’re done. Relationships need work to survive, and it’s okay if it gets off track sometimes, but as soon as you recognize it, take the necessary steps to build it back up.