Hiya. I'm a 20-year-old engaged woman in a 3-1/2 year relationship. I'm not professing to be a relationship guru. I just felt like making this list because listography generated it. But if anything helps or if I need to include something I left out then comment. Thanks.

  • Don't lie.

It's stupid and meaningless and it does nothing for anybody. Even if it hurts, tell the truth. You're also going to need to discern between the truths that need to be told and the ones that do not. Cheating? Yeah, you should probably say something. Not feeling the connection anymore? Talk it out, bro. Fussy because they pronounce milk "melk?" Stop being a little bitch. Js.

  • Don't stray.

You'd think that'd be obvious but people keep "slipping up." If you feel an attraction for someone that isn't your partner, distance yourself from that person. After all, it might just be transference. If you're feeling a disconnection from your partner and find your heart searching for it elsewhere then it's time to sit down and have a chat.

  • Don't blame anybody but also, don't be the "I'm sorry, it's all my fault" person.

For the most part, there's usually no fault in things. People make mistakes. If it's big enough, to you, to break up over then do so but blame gaming is just petty and stupid. If something your partner does bothers you, say so. Also, the person who's always apologizing for everything usually ends up getting walked all over. True, you should have enough respect for your partner to fess up to the things you did wrong but c'mon. When you get to the point where you're saying sorry for things you're not even involved in and putting all the blame on yourself, you need to get help 'cause that isn't right.

  • On-again, off-again is a no.

Couples that are meant to work stay together. If you're both the impulsive type that just breaks it off or goes on breaks because you're mad at each other then grow the hell up. I've always thought that couples like these need to analyze whether they're doing this ebb and flow because that's just their rhythm or if they're addicted to the drama of it all. If it's the former, it's just a foreign concept to me but if it's the latter, stop it. Watch Soap Channel instead if you need a drama fix. I heard the Desperate Housewives are still on. Check that out.

  • Respect yourself enough to put limits

This is the part where people tend to get iffy. A gray area that ranges from "sex is easy breezy and nothing you need to be so uptight about" to "my body is precious and so is my virginity, so I'm not giving it up to you so easily." I'm not going to take sides with either because I honestly don't care where and when you stick what but if you're one of the more chaste types then learn to hold your ground. Too many times have I seen girls give it up to guys they've dated for four years [but have yet to put a ring on it as per their agreement] and have been left with nothing but, well, shame. I hate seeing that happen to my fellow v-cardian. And they usually end up hating themselves. So, to prevent this from happening, be true to what you want and make sure that they know what you want. On the other side of the scale, another thing needs to be addressed about setting limitations. Those who are more casual about their encounters: don't steal/flirt/sleep with another person's spouse. It's shitty behaviour. We, as a population, have enough troubles finding a potential life partner [if that is your goal] without people throwing wrenches into our gears. Why would you want to be "the other person" who broke up a potentially perfect couple? And don't use that "if they were so perfect for each other,

never would've strayed" excuse because it's stupid and you sound like a whore.

  • Don't rush things but don't let yourself settle for what you don't want.

It sounds like a cop-out but it's another thing that depends on the person, the relationship, yadda yadda. In my life, I've always been straightforward about wanting something that would last forever. Not a friend with benefits, not a casual dating thing, not boyfriend and girlfriend until something "develops." I'm just not a "go with the wind" type of woman when it comes to love. I know what I want and I put it out there. Marriage. Ooh, scary. And, yes, that frightened off quite a few but it's also a really good weeding out process. Romantic movies [that I've seen] are riddled with characters who stay in relationships that don't seem to go anywhere because one character is afraid of frightening away their partner by asking for something more. Alternatively, there are characters who never get in a relationship because they hop immediately from "Hi, we've met and we shared a coffee" to "Omigosh, let's have kids! Like, a whole soccer team of kids!" Both are pretty terrible. So, in this case you need to find for yourself what the balance is between being comfortable and wanting to move on to that next step. If your partner isn't ready and you're willing to wait, bless you. If not, you're going to have to do what's best for you. It's one of the few moments where being selfish is perfectly okay.

  • Don't throw away your love over something stupid.

We've [the internet, that is] all heard of that fabled Twihard who dumps her boyfriend in the search of someone more Edward. That is a no. Admittedly, I've fallen for characters in books whose manner spoke to me [Oh, Roland of Gilead. Sigh...]. However, I would never in a million years leave my potential husband because he isn't more like a gunslinger I learned of in the best effing series I've ever read [I'll stop, I swear.]. Why wouldn't I? 1) Because I'm happy with the man that I do have and who does exist and 2) because it's not realistic. These people are fantasies. There's no way that some hunky vampire is going to watch you while you sleep and totally protect you from any danger ever because he loves you so much. Don't go searching; it's not going to happen. If you're with someone who makes you happy, stay. Seriously. On a more realistic scale, I've also had friends who broke up because they weren't into the exact same things or they weren't as passionate about something as they should be. Things of that nature. I suppose if it's a huge, screaming difference that makes up your entirety and that staying together would lead to tons of arguments over it then definitely cut the strings. But if it's something little and it becomes something bigger because you keep feeding it then stop doing that. Which leads right into...

  • Don't make up problems for you to break up over.

Jealousy is a big part of what makes us still close to the primal ways we've "evolved away" from. It points out potential rivals in our competition over a mate. Knowing this, we try our best to remove such rivals by

any means necessary. Though letting it too out of control can break you apart easier than any strumpet trying to waltz off with your partner. Too many times have I heard this argument: "What? I can't have any
friends because I'm dating you now?" Even I went through it once with my fiance. The thing is to not make up things out of just suspicion. Being wary is one thing but until there's evidence, don't bring it up. It's a recipe for disaster. Another common problem I see are the potential in-laws. They're usually the biggest problems in a relationship if jealousy isn't already factor. Monster-in-law showed us that if nothing else. But don't go off on a "their family hates me, fuck this!" stride. It's hard to break once you get in the rhythm. The bottom line is, if something of this nature bothers you, bring it up but don't blow it up. If it doesn't get resolved, there's no shame in bringing it up again just make sure that you...

  • Keep your cool during arguments

And it also helps to know what you're talking about. Know what you want to get across and listen to the other person. It sounds easy but it's one of the hardest things to do, especially when you're hurting. Avoiding yelling, calling names, pulling up old conflicts, and bringing other opinions into the conflict go a long way towards resolution. If you come at an impasse, try to find a solution that suits both of you and move on. Never talk of it again because it's resolved. What's done is done.

  • Don't bring other people in.

Unless that's your kink. No, no. I mean, don't go talking about your relationship with others. I don't because I know how intensely annoying it is hearing a girl drone on and on about her boyfriend [imagine in pink font with tons of hearts around it] but also, it's good form to keep your business your own. If you live a Sex in the City lifestyle where you're cool with your circle of friends knowing of your trysts [both failed and successful] then more power to you. Though it's good to remember the two of the most truthful lessons of the internet: word gets around and once it's there, it's there forever [another being don't feed the trolls if you feel it fits]. If people didn't willingly put themselves into the watching eye of the world, we wouldn't have gotten this gem. Besides, we can't all pretend that we haven't heard of that "one whore" we went to school with and every single thing she did whether we personally knew her or not [there's at least one to each school, fake statistics don't lie]. The best secret is the one you keep to yourself.

  • Base your love on something solid

I can't tell you what that is, sadly. From my experience, it's not: mutual likes/dislikes, sense of humor, friends/family, location, chemistry, or "spark." Why none of those things? All of the things on that list have a probability of changing. If you get into a relationship because you both love, love, love a mutual something and one of you grows away from it, you're suddenly out of the game because you have nothing else to stand on. Unless you've built something more permanent before that point. Which leads me to...

  • Don't be hesitant to try out their hobbies in an attempt to build a bond.

It's actually a wonderful way to grow closer to the person you like and gain a new hobby for yourself at the same time. If you end up falling in love with someone you have virtually nothing in common, trade hobbies. Another thing that you'd think would be common sense but I've ended up having to suggest that quite a few times. Alternatively,...

  • Leave some breathing room.

You had a life before your relationship, this is your life during, and if it doesn't work out you'll have a life after. Don't forget your life, friends, family, and, most importantly, who you are. Couples nowadays have a tendency to wrap up in themselves so deeply that they earn conjoined names [Brangelina and Spiedi? Seriously?]. Getting that much-needed space to be your own person not only keeps you from hideous couple names but lengthens the relationship from the sheer fact that you're not tired to death of one another yet.

  • Broken up? Move on.

That is, don't hop into a new relationship immediately after having broken up, but don't linger in the past. I've known of people who, even years after leaving/being left still moping about and being the biggest sad sacks on the planet. The mourning process is different to everyone but don't let heartbreak pull you into depression. Any residual feeling you have about the relationship need to be dealt with and buried before pursuing something new. Rebounding is for poorly written romantic comedy characters and high schoolers.

nov 15 2010 ∞
nov 15 2010 +