For some reason, certain people are just better at love and relationships than others. Whether it’s practice, experience, or an inherent part of who they are, they just really seem to excel in matters of the heart. Here are some of the things those people know that you might not—they just might help you on your own journey.
- Love is a risk but it’s a risk worth taking. Every time you fall in love, you’re taking a risk. This is a fact. Every relationship you find yourself in is also a risk, no matter how serious it is or isn’t. When we allow ourselves to get close to someone, we open up in ways we don’t with most people and it can be scary because there are no guarantees in life. But, as any partner who really knows what’s up when it comes to love and relationships believes, every single one of these risks is worth it. Even if it doesn’t last and it hurts like hell during the aftermath, that loss and that sadness are worth it for what you felt and what you learned when you were in love.
- Relationships are all about compromise. Whether it’s what movie you’re going to see, who’s going to do what chores, or where you’ll be spending the holidays, if there’s a difference of opinion, there needs to be a compromise. The best partners know that without compromise, a relationship can’t and won’t last.
- You can be in love but still be selfish. If you want a weekend to yourself or the last slice of pizza, go for it. It’s totally normal and human to be selfish, and being selfish doesn’t necessarily mean you’re putting yourself or your needs before your partner’s. It just means you’re giving yourself a time-out to indulge in what you want in that moment. Self-care is important and without it, you can’t care for anyone else very well.
- Communication is absolutely paramount. Without communication, all bets are off. You can’t be in love with someone and be in a relationship with them and not communicate. You need to be able to share your fears, your dreams, your needs, your desires, and even the things about your partner that piss you off. Honest and open communication isn’t just the foundation of a great relationship but something that needs to be practiced day in and day out.
- Trying to change someone will get you nowhere. How do the best partners know this to be the truth? Probably because they’ve tried and failed. To love, truly love, means to take the good with the bad and accept that we’re all flawed. After all, you’d have a better chance of winning the lotto than changing someone.
- You need to allow each other room to grow. Although partners should grow together, they should also be given space to grow in their own ways, as individuals. This means having their own physical space in the house, like maybe their own bedroom or an office. It also means spending time with friends without their partners and even having a life that’s separate from their partners. If you don’t give each other space to grow and do your own thing, you’ll lose your identities and morph into this one being where individuality no longer exists.
- When fighting, count to 10 before you respond. Anger can turn even the most gentle person into a raging, cruel a-hole (just ask all my exes). Because of this, the best partners know that when arguing, you need to take a step back, breathe, count to 10, and be mindful of your partner before you respond. It’s amazing the difference 10 seconds can make in the heat of the moment.
- You need to not just listen but actually hear. Even if you don’t like what you hear, if you’re going to be a mature adult and be in an adult relationship, you need to hear everything your partner says to you. It’s part of the communication process.
- Sex is important but not the most important thing in a relationship. Although every sex therapist will tell you sex is a very important part of love and relationships, the best partners know there are other things that trump it. For example, trust and communication far outweigh sex in importance.
- The grand gesture is overrated. While Hollywood movies make the grand gesture look like the most romantic thing in the world, it’s everyday gestures of love that show appreciation and commitment that matter most of all.
- You need to be friends as well as lovers. This isn’t to suggest your BFF should be replaced by your partner because of course you need someone else to turn to when your partner is driving you insane, but having a friendship as well as a sexual connection in your relationship will strengthen what you have and create even greater intimacy. Being buddies with the person you’re in love with is actually really awesome.
- You can’t take things too seriously. It’s the couple who laughs together that stays together. Is that how that goes? Either way, if you can’t kid around and laugh until it hurts with your partner then what are you doing together? Life is too short to be serious all the time.
- There’s no such thing as a perfect relationship. Even the ones that look perfect from the outside aren’t actually perfect, so stop looking for a perfect person, trying to find the perfect love, and hoping for a perfect relationship because those things don’t exist. Besides, perfection is boring; imperfections give our life and love color.
Amanda Chatel – Amanda is a writer who divides her time between NYC and Paris. She’s a regular contributor to Bustle, Glamour, Mic, and Livingly. Other bylines include: Harper’s Bazaar, YourTango, The Atlantic, Forbes, YouBeauty, Huffington Post, The Frisky, and BlackBook. Find her at amandachatel.com or on Twitter at @angrychatel.