The One — Yes, One — Simple Key To A Much Happier Relationship

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couple kissing at sunset on the beach

I often receive emails or Facebook messages from readers, not all of which I have the time to answer. I do my best to read through them though, and one stuck out to me in the past. 

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It was from a female reader who wanted input on her relationship.

One of the lines in the message said, "I think at some point I want what every other girl wants: A boyfriend that makes her feel like she matters."

At some point? At some point? As if to imply that up until that elusive "some point," whenever that may be, it's acceptable to have a boyfriend who doesn't make you feel like you matter?

No. Just ... no. The very foundation of a relationship is love. Appreciation. Respect. Trust. Affection. All of these need to be mutual and all of which make someone feel like they matter.

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If you're not receiving these things in your relationship, why are you in the relationship in the first place?

Think about how you acted at the beginning of your relationship. Do you still do the same small things you were doing then? If not, why not?

The small things you do in a relationship are quite often actually the big things because they show you're willing to put in effort for your teammate for no reason other than that you care and want to make them happy.

No holiday or special occasion is required. You don't need a date on a calendar to show your love. You just need, well, the love.

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Or, a happier relationship. Take the time every single day to do something small to show your partner you care about and appreciate them.

Lives get busy, and days get hectic, but that consistent effort is what keeps your relationship a solid battering ram of life.

The two of you together, busting through all the challenges you face. Happy relationships don't just continue on their own without any work.

It doesn't have to be big things. It takes less than 30 seconds to send a text that will make her smile. Have a busy day planned? Send an early text — a good morning text doesn't just say, "Good morning;" it says, "You're the first thought I had when I woke up today."

It takes no money to kiss her in the middle of her sentence. Do you still reach for her hand or put your arm around her while you're walking? If not, why not?

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I want to make it clear: both men and women have this responsibility. If someone isn't meeting your standards for how you want to be treated in a relationship, you need to speak up and make your feelings known. Why would you stay with someone who isn't what you want?

You may not even realize it, but being neutral and generally apathetic in a relationship can be hurtful. It may not be on purpose, but not feeling wanted can often be the same as feeling unwanted.

Hold higher standards for yourself. If someone is great in the first few months of your relationship, but slowly stops doing what you loved about them, they haven't changed; they've just revealed themselves to you.

If you don't put in the effort to make your partner feel special every day, you lose your right to complain when someone else does. Life is too short to waste your time with people who don't appreciate you.

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James Michael Sama is a relationship expert who writes about dating and relationships. He speaks on the topics of chivalry, romance, and happiness, and has been featured in news segments, talk shows, and mainstream radio.

This article was originally published at James M Sama. Reprinted with permission from the author.