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First off, I am in no way an expert. I have on the other hand, had a colorful past in relationships. I don't mean that I have had numerous relationships, I have had five. Including my now husband. What I mean is each guy was totally different from the others. My guess is I was trying to find what I now have with my husband.
I want to share a little bit of knowledge I learned from these past relationships, and from being raised by a marriage counselor as well.
I start this off with communication because it truly is one of the most important things in a relationship. Sure, once you get to know each other down the road and have been together for a long time, you can start to know by looks, their tone of voice, their little twitch, and more like that will all start to tell you for the most part how they are feeling. For example, if I am upset, I get quiet. When you ask me what's wrong, sometimes I say "I'm fine," but some know me well enough to know that isn't the case. But until then, and even after you know him or her that well, that doesn't mean anyone here is a mindreader. But even if you were, I would still say communicate. I cannot stress enough how important it is to be able to talk openly with each other and have that trust. If something is bothering you, say it. If they hurt your feelings, say it. If they did something to offend you, say it. Don't ever just let it all bottle up until you explode and aren't happy. That is not healthy for you or your relationship.
Just because it is normal, doesn't mean it is okay.
I always say this. I feel like it has become far too "normal" to cheat, or disrespect, or hurt the other person in the relationship. So, just because it's common to hear about, doesn't mean it should be accepted. You should have more love for the other person in your relationship to be able to do that kind of thing. If they ever apologize after a fight and say, "I just wanted to hurt you," that is a big RED FLAG. A relationship is about love, and trust, and commitment, and things like that. Not about hurting each other because they made you upset, or hurt your feelings. That is where communication comes in. Not verbal abuse.
He who has nothing to hide, hides nothing.
There is nothing more that can make you look like you have something to hide, then you hiding something. Locking up everything with passwords and clearing everything out of your phone or computer all the time... you look like you have something to hide. That’s going to cause a lot of mistrust and fear into your relationship. That’s a quick way to lose someone, just make them not trust you.
Which brings me to my next section: Abuse. When you ask someone what abuse is, most of the time it is hitting someone that comes to mind first. That is never okay. I don't care how mad they were or what you said or did. Again, communication... but abuse isn't just physical. It can be verbal or emotional, too. When they hurt you with their words, that is abuse. Now, I'm not saying we always say the sweetest things in an argument, or something like that but there is a line. If they are saying stuff like, "that's why nobody wants you," just go ahead and pack your bags, darling. Nobody needs that and down the road, they will have you thinking so poorly about yourself that you think you deserve it. Never put up with that.
Leave the past in the past.
If Sally from kindergarten always hated you because you took her goldfish at lunch back then, you would probably think that was pretty dumb, right? Well, same goes for relationships. Don't be bringing up how they did this or that, forever ago. If you still haven't gotten past it, chances are you won't, so stop wasting both of your time. I do believe there is an exception to this rule though. If he cheated on you five years ago and you moved past it, but he is starting to act like he did previously when he was cheating, speak up. This is where communication comes in, yet again. Or if it did happen recently, then alright. We all need time. But there is a thing as too much time. If they are doing all they are to make things right for a wrong they did then you need to figure out if you are going to get over it and move on together or if you need to cut them loose.
I cannot stress this enough. Making time for your significant other is always so important. Keep that flame going! I have been married for three years and we still date each other every chance we get and will continue to! It doesn't have to be anything extravagant all the time... get some junk food and a movie for when the kids go to bed. Or go ahead and pull out some candles and wine, and eat dinner together. Never put them on the back burner. The whole "they will still be there when I'm done with everything else I want to do" mentality is so wrong. Maybe they won't be because you made them feel less than important. Make it obvious you cleared your day to spend time with them. We all want to feel important...
It's the little things.
Sometimes it's the littlest things that can make someones day. Ask yourself, when was the last time you got them flowers? A card? A present just because? It doesn't always have to be this huge gesture that puts you in debt. Sometimes it's just saying, "sit down babe, I'm going to clean and cook today" or "lay down, I want to give you a massage," and that will make their day. Going out of your way to "sweet talk" them and say "I love you" will make all the difference. Pointing out the little things you love about them, could instantly make them feel so good about themselves, and their relationship with you. Compliment!
Dating is the best you will get.
Now, let me explain this one. I hope they never stop treating you well! But dating is when they are trying their hardest to court you and show you why you should pick them. If you already aren't happy then don't walk down the aisle. It isn't fair to either of you to assume that signing a marriage certificate is going to change anyone.
Make it a big deal.
Birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine's Day, Christmas, just to name a few... they should feel extra special these days. Shower them with gifts, write a public novel on social media to all your friends about how much they mean to you, take them out, write them a letter, or take time in person to name all the things you love about them and appreciate them for. Bonus points if you get the anniversary of the day you started dating, first met, or even sweetest day. Make them feel special! Never make them question themselves or you and ask "if he could have his ex back, would he choose them?" Make your significant other a big deal. Make sure they feel like it, too. Nothing is more satisfying than being able to feel so confident that they would choose you over, and over, and over. Like you would choose them over anyone else, anytime. It will work wonders when they feel see you light up when they walk in. Or when they believe that you would pick them over ex's, your high school crushes, celebrity crushes, or any other person they could fathom.
Don't hide them.
Chances are if they aren't wanting to tell anyone about you or keep it quiet for awhile, something is up. Now, I'm not saying that everyone has to go public within two days of dating or something. But if you have been together for awhile and not even their mother knows about you... it's just something to think about.
Figure out what is acceptable.
If there is one thing I have learned, it's that not everyone agrees on what is OK in relationships. That is a talk to have before the wedding bells ring. Some people are OK with flirting with other people, looking at other people, or things of that matter—"as long as they come home to me." Personally, I'm not. But some are! That is something to talk about so no major problems occur down the road. Some people find porn a problem in relationships, some don't care, and some encourage it. Figure all that out now. Find out how they feel about having friendships with other people. I'm not saying you shouldn't have friends, I'll give you an example of what I mean: My husband is straight—I know this—so, I don't feel comfortable with him "going out to lunch" alone with a female friend. That would bother me, but it wouldn't bother everyone! Sort these out! And if you know that the other person isn't OK with something, don't do it! Or find someone that is OK with that. You could really do some damage to someone by breaking their trust like that.
If I can't trust what you're telling me, I won't waste my time. Trust is so important in a relationship. I would much rather you hurt me with the truth than you belittle me and my feelings with a lie. I don't care how big or small. They are all a huge deal to me. You need to be able to trust the person you are with. If you can't, what's the point?
If you know they have a pet peeve with certain things, don't do it to antagonize them. That's just childish. For example, I wouldn't like it if my spouse stayed quiet through an argument or while I was trying to talk things out. It would make me feel unimportant, and unheard, and like he didn't care what I was saying. He knows this so it's something we avoid. Doing that or walking out of an argument unless you absolutely have to cool off for a minute alone, is just rude and a slap in the face. If you need a minute alone then tell them and meet back to talk it out calmly in a few minutes.
Find out each other's personalities and love languages.
This one might be a little odd, but I promise, it works wonders! Taking the "16 Personalities" test or the "Love Language" test could really help figure out how to handle your partner's heart. Always do it carefully and lovingly!
I will finish with this. If you aren't happy, then you owe it to yourself, to them, and to your children (if there are any involved) to be in a situation where you are happy. We all have bad days, but we need to find safe haven in our partners.
I hope this helped you in your relationship or marriage in coming closer to that special someone! It is important to know and understand that everyone is different, but we all want the same thing; To feel loved, wanted, and needed. Thanks for reading!