Not all advice is good advice.
Relationship advice is everywhere: on the internet, in magazines, perhaps even verbalized by wise old owls who've taught themselves to talk. A simple google search, for example, will turn up millions of hits, ultimately forcing you to sort out the advice for relationships you can use and the advice you should immediately break up with. For relationships, in particular, some opinions run afoul, and leave you at risk of hurting your union more than helping it.
Of course, your individual situation is a huge factor in this — what amounts to good advice for relationships really comes down to what is good for you.
Still, there is some advice you should stay away from, at least in most situations. This includes:
1. Never Ever Give Up
Like Jimmy V., Winston Churchill, and the seventh grade gym teacher who really wanted you to be able to climb that rope, there are people everywhere who have adopted a quote of resiliency as their personal mantra. Usually, this type of fortitude is a good thing — in most situations, people shouldn't give up and instead strive for accomplishment or resolution. In relationships this is also true — the vast majority of unions are salvageable.
But, there are exceptions. If you ever find yourself in a relationship that is abusive, has absolutely no future, or one where you have to pretend to be someone you really aren't, then giving up is the smarter — and healthier — option. Not all relationships come with the guarantee of happily ever after, especially if they have caused you nothing but misery.
2. Always Compromise
Virtually every piece of advice for relationships contains three little words: compromise, compromise, compromise. Marriage, in fact, is often painted as great of a compromise as the one in 1787 that formed the logistics of the US Congress. Still, compromise isn't always good. There will come a time — or perhaps already came a time — when you will have something that is highly important to you. Maybe it's the job offer of a lifetime or the chance to see Paris. Your spouse or partner may be less than thrilled about it and, once again, compromise will rear its head.
But, this isn't good: not everything can be compromised. If you want to move to Salem, Oregon, and your partner wants to stay in Denver, Colorado, you will solve nothing by compromising and planting roots in the middle land of Boise, Idaho. You'll be unhappy, they'll be unhappy, and compromise will fail you.
This isn't to say you should never compromise — sometimes meeting each other halfway is appropriate and beneficial. Yet, if there is something you feel strongly about, compromising will only make you resentful. And packing up that resentment and carrying it down the road is a sure-fire way to find many obstacles on the path to blissfulness.
3. Communicate Constantly
Another commonality in advice for relationships is communication. We are told communication is key. And, quite frankly, it is key. Without communication, a pitcher has a better chance of breaking Joe DiMaggio's hitting streak than your relationship has at succeeding. Still, there are times when you can actually benefit from lack of communication, rather than insisting you sit down and talk.
When you are horribly upset, mad beyond words, or hurt in a way that you never thought possible, you do need to communicate, but putting it off for a few hours may be more helpful than forcing a conversation. This is because we say things we shouldn't when we're upset. We call names, we yell and shout, and we make accusations that — even as the words leave our mouths — we know we’ll regret. We also make rash decisions, decisions to do things like divorce, drive away angry, or throw the DVD player out the window.
On the other hand, letting some time pass — whether it is hours or a day — can make your communications more effective by assuring that you don’t let your anger or hurt do the talking. So, if something happens that just makes your blood boil, wait till it fades down to a simmer before the big confrontation.
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