- Sometimes it doesn’t last forever and that’s OK.
Sometimes things just cannot be fixed. You’ve changed too much. You both want different things. Of course, you should try to give it your all if there is something to salvage, but don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t work out. Some people stay together for the rest of their lives, some don’t. There’s no shame to a relationship not working out, even if you had the highest hopes for it.
- Never restrict someone’s freedom or try to hold them to you.
Jealousy and control are pure poison to a relationship. The more you try to bind someone, the more stifled they will feel and, as much as they may love you, their freedom will become more important.
Your partner chose to be with you. Have confidence that they will keep choosing you. And if they don’t, or you don’t, it’s not the end of the world. See point 5.
- Not everyone loves the same way.
Your significant other might love you deeply, but if you misunderstand how they are demonstrating it, you might have doubts. According to Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, there are five primary ways people show love: through quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, or physical touch. If your other half keeps telling you he loves you (word of affirmation, his way of expressing love), but doesn’t lift a finger to help around the house (acts of service, your way of expressing love), you will grow to resent him. Or maybe you’re not a touchy-feely person, but affection is very important to your partner. Keep in mind that your language of love might not be theirs and that you both might need to make extra effort. Discover your own love language here. It can also be useful for other relationships, notably with children.
- Be clear about what you want and need.
Besides the big things (if you want kids or not, where you see yourself living), be clear about how much time you need to yourself, how you expect the household tasks to be divided, etc. Take some time think about it. These can all be negotiated, of course, but it’s an important thing to establish from the start.
- Learn to be happy on your own.
This is actually the most important. I used to roll my eyes when people said this, but it really is true. When you are comfortable being on your own, you enter into a relationship to enhance your life, for the joy of it, not to complete it. When you are secure and capable of meeting your own needs, you don’t need your partner to make you happy. You are free to love the person deeply, but without the crippling fear that if they leave you, the world will end. You don’t completely lose yourself in the “we”. It might not sound quite as romantic, but it is a much healthier way to live.