Often we keep things bottled up for the fear of hurting the other person, or we are afraid of their reactions. It's always fear that keeps us from opening up. But in the process we keep those things inside, where they ferment and rot until they explode unexpectedly like a volcano sweeping away all the goodness and sweetness of the relationship.
If you want your relationships to grow and become beautiful, make it a habit to speak up, express, no matter how uncomfortable the truth.
2. Don’t assume, clarify
How many times have you had an argument or a fight with someone over an issue but when the truth was revealed, it was not what you had assumed or thought? It is human tendency to assume the meaning of what someone is saying without first being sure of their meaning. This is how miscommunications are born.
How often do we pretend to read the minds of others - she doesn’t like me, he doesn’t think I am beautiful, she hates me, he thinks I am stupid etc. It is possible and and likely happens most of the times that how we see the world is not how the other sees the world.
So clarify - ask about what they mean, ask in what context they said something, ask how it made them feel or how they saw it. Be open to knowing their world before assuming things from your perspective. That is the hallmark of a healthy relationship. Also be curious about your interpretations of their behaviour.
3. Learning takes time and repetition. For everyone.
It takes practice and time to learn a new skill and perfect it, even if that skill is communication and learning about the needs of your loved one. No one can mind read what you want. Say it. No one can assume what you like and don’t like, express it. And give the other person a chance to learn that new information.
If your loved one is doing a behaviour that hurts you, ask them to not do it or do something else. And then give them a chance to learn that new behaviour. It will take time to learn to love, be compassionate, share, hold conversations, communicate etc.
Rome was not built in a day. Behaviours certainly can’t be learnt in a day either. It takes even the neural pathways associated with a behaviour, certain number of days and repetitions to be created. Have patience.
4. Don’t play games in relationships, it can be toxic.
The to-and-fro dance of the romance is something that can keep your relationship and the spark alive. But mind-games can be unnerving and toxic. That includes being too mysterious, not calling when you want to call, silent treatment, expecting the other person to take initiative and getting upset when they don’t, testing their memory, putting them in uncomfortable situations to see if they like or love you etc. These are signs of toxic personality traits and can be quite draining in any long-term relationship. If you feel like you are walking on egg-shells around your partner or your partner feels like this, its not healthy. Get help from a professional.
5. If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn’t.
How many times have you seen a red flag and yet have given them the benefit of doubt? Have you ever wished you had seen and acknowledged the first red flag and not spent your time in a relationship that caused you hurt and trauma?
One of the biggest reasons we don’t acknowledge the red flag is that we badly want the relationship to work no matter what. The other big reason is we doubt our perception of red flags. But the truth is if something about a person doesn’t feel right, it probably isn't.
Learn to listen to your gut instinct and accept the red flags. The moment you see them, turn around and leave. This will save you a truck-load of BS and heart ache
6. Don’t put up appearances, be who you are; get to know yourself
Many times in relationships, we become what the other wants us to be. We change ourself so they will like us, accept us and will want to be in a relationship with us. It is a manipulation of sorts. This could happen because we are afraid to be lonely, have low self-esteem and cannot accept ourself the way we are, afraid of rejection or afraid of criticism and judgement. Whatever the reason may be, when we project an image of us, we are not being authentic to ourself and to the other person.
But we cannot hold up appearances forever. The mask is bound to slip in moments of stress, intense emotions and weakness. This means there is a high chance that sooner or later, the illusion of the perfect loving relationship will break, again leading to anger, feeling manipulated, not accepted and heart-break.
So get to know yourself, work on your self-esteem so you can begin to accept yourself the way you are. Because when you accept yourself, those who matter will find their way into your life.
7. Don’t live with an idea of a relationship, find out what it means for you in real.
Has it ever happened that you ran after a relationship with someone, but when you had them in your life, you felt disillusioned or bored and went off in search of another suitable partner? Chances are it might happen again.
A possible reason is that you have an idea of having someone is your life but no idea of what will you do once you have that someone. The idea of having a relationship became so enticing that you forgot to build a life to live in that relationship. If you are not living your life right now, chances are you won’t be living it even when you are in a relationship. You may end up feeling empty or the relationship feeling lifeless.
So start thinking the other way around - first build a life that you like, then find a relationship to share the life with. It will also give you a realistic idea of the kind of person you want in your life.