When starting a new relationship, we always hope for pleasure and good times, expect that the other person will make us happy and our life wonderful, and believe that the new romance will solve all of our problems at once since love is the best thing in the world and conquers all.
However, this is a very naive, idealistic, and unrealistic expectation. While madly in love, everyone seems to forget that in fact, anything lasting requires serious work. Here's why:
1. We all are different, emotionally and intellectually. We often spend most of our lives looking for that mysterious soul mate, our perfect "other half." The truth, though, is that it is hardly possible. No one will ever be ideally suitable for us in every single respect. The best we can do is to meet someone with similar interests and views on life, comparable long-term goals and emotional needs. The rest can be solved by doing hard work in compromising, adjusting, and developing tolerance to our partner's flaws.
2. People change with age. It's not unlikely for a human being to change with age under the influence of life circumstances, further education, health conditions, and other factors. Sometimes we look at our partner of 10 years and wonder what happened to that charming, extroverted, fun person we married. Even if people live together, it does not necessarily mean that they develop in the same direction, which brings us to our next point.
3. People don't change under pressure. This is one of the most common mistakes people make when starting a relationship: "She loves me, so she will change her character for me." Your partner is an adult, not a child. She spent years building her own set of habits and beliefs, and forcing her to change sounds like an impossible task. If you disagree, give it a thought; how would you like to change something that is an integral part of you in order to please someone? Exactly. That's how your partner feels. There are only two ways to deal with this issue. Either start changing first (your other half won't be able to miss that, and it will motivate her to improve her personality), or just change the way you view her shortcomings, and instead see them as harmless little flaws. Remember, you are not perfect, either.
4. Compromise is an integral part of a successful relationship. For a successful relationship, it is important to develop your negotiation skills. Each of us is like a country of our own, with a special set of laws and traditions. If countries can come to a peaceful agreement, why can't we? Just remember, try to listen, respect and understand your partner's opinions, no matter how silly they may seem to you. You might think it’s weird that it’s so extremely important for your girlfriend to go see her favorite band with you, not her best buddies. However, for her, it may be one of the most romantic experiences in her life. A little compromise can go a long, long way. She will not forget that and next time she will most definitely, happily join you for something of utmost importance to you. Just come with her, and you won't regret it!
5. Sincerity and openness are the key elements of the equation. One of the main mistakes standing in the way of a quality relationship is hiding your emotions and opinions. Sometimes we do it out of fear of offending our partner, or we are afraid to start a fight and deal with its consequences (a possible breakup or a temporary break in communication.) Also, sometimes we are just too proud to voice our point of view, hoping that the love of our life knows us well enough and will guess what’s on our mind. This is one of the worst possible delusions. No matter how long you have been together, your partner doesn't live inside your head and doesn't always know what you think and what you want from her.
Don't be afraid to start an important talk or even a conflict; there are always ways to fight and argue in a civilized, friendly manner. Screaming or offended silence are absolutely not a solution to any relationship issue. Learn to voice your concerns respectfully, and you will get the same back. People tend to treat us the way we treat them and respect us only as much as we respect them.
So, do successful relationships always come with pain? The answer is very ambiguous: yes and no. It all depends on your approach to this complicated art. If you are open-minded, tolerant, flexible, and first and foremost, loving and accepting of your partner the way she is, your relationship may blossom into something beautiful without an enormous amount of effort. However, if you are stuck in your old ways, and acceptance is not one of your strengths, you will just have way more work to do. But all the pain is worth it, if you believe that you and your partner are meant for each other.
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