Love

The 5 Pieces Of Relationship Advice You Should Never Ignore

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Friends flirting

According to 2015 research conducted by the Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience at the University College London, when people are caught in the initial passionate phase of falling in love, the overlapping activity throughout various parts of the brain causes us to ignore negative emotions as it simultaneously impairs the ability to make solid social judgments about a new love interest.

No matter how much relationship advice you've memorized by heart, your brain's chemistry is wired to make you throw it out the window for a new love interest.

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Here are the 5 pieces of relationship advice you should never ignore:

1. Take it slow and avoid making critical decisions too early.

Beginning with our earliest experiences as infants, bonding with others occurs over time and not overnight. Parents learn about their children by attuning to their inner world and responding appropriately. If a parent tries forcing their agenda or attempts to rush the bond, an insecure attachment forms, setting a stage for instability and relationship problems throughout the child's life.

Likewise, to create secure self-love, we need to be slow and gentle with ourselves. People are so caught in the rat race of life that they neglect their own needs and bodily messages and are more likely to be sick more often. By learning to be slow and patient with ourselves, we learn to be slow and patient as we form a romantic relationship.

Committing, including marriage, cohabitation, and having a baby, when you're still in the early stages of a relationship is unwise. You cannot rely on your judgment about such serious decisions when that intoxicating mix of hormones is running through your body. Instead, you must play the role of a sober parent setting boundaries for their immature child (i.e., you). Committing does nothing to guarantee sustainable love, so when you rush into a critical decision, you create a complex mess you'll need to clean up in the future. People rush into commitments based on the fear of losing these fleeting feelings of bliss, and as they say, fear is the opposite of love.

As it is, the Western marriage model is fraught with limitations that often inhibit our growth and happiness as individuals and as a couple. Making a contractual agreement to stay the same, cater to each other’s needs, and meet each others’ expectations ‘til death do you part often backfires, as locking things into place is in direct conflict with the life-affirming process of change we all need. You will change. Your partner will change, your lives will change, and your love will change. Remaining open and willing to let go of “what is” creates space for true unconditional love to emerge.

2. Remain true to yourself and always speak your truth.

When people fall in love, they often sell out some aspects of themselves to become their partner’s ideal. Like rushing into commitments, this behavior is also based on fear. You feel so good you are willing to be inauthentic in the hope of staying in your lover’s good graces and keeping the spark alive. Doing this leads to resentment because true love is based on each person encouraging the other to become the highest version of themselves and letting whatever happens throughout that process happen.

By speaking your truth, you have a greater chance of being loved authentically because you can rest assured knowing the other person loves you for who you are and not for some fake, idealized version of yourself. When you each see each other and let each other be seen as you are, you find love is real and built to last.

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3. Be friends first.

When a physical attraction exists between two people, they often skip over crucial steps of healthy relationship development. To have long-lasting love within which you can grow into your highest self, you must, at your core, be friends first. Friends know each other deeply and grow to respect one another from that knowledge. They don’t place demands on each other to meet each other’s needs as casual partners do. Instead, they embrace each other’s uniqueness.

Friendships are life’s treasures. When something goes awry in romance, friendship is the insurance policy that can hold it together until the problem is repaired. Respect, more than anything, is needed in relationships and is a tenant of true friendship. If you quickly hop into bed with someone, you miss an opportunity to find out if you respect them, and if you later discover that you don’t, you're likely to feel angry with yourself, and in that anger, your self-esteem suffers.

Photo: F8 studio via Shutterstock

4. Keep your outside interests and relationships alive.

Young, naïve lovers tend to let everything else in their lives go when they are in love. Older people need to learn better. Due to the exciting love hormones, the initial passion may last two to three years, and you will want to spend as much time as possible with your new love. But like anything you pursue in life without properly pacing yourself, over-indulging carries the risk of leading to burnout. Other facets of your life are meant to keep you whole and balanced. Only when two complete individuals join together can they have something real. If you seek your other half, you need to be balanced and well-rounded.

5. Pay attention to red flags.

Red flags exist to warn us of danger or problems ahead. Your intuition notifies you of red flags when you meet someone new. It's important to pay attention to those sensations in your own body. When people fall in love, they tend to ignore these gut instincts because they don’t want to lose the good feelings. You must realize that good feelings are your own. They won't go away just because the current object of your desire goes away. If you love one person, you can love another.

Your love is not dependent on any one person in particular.

   

   

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Heather Hans, LCSW, MBA is a Public Speaker, Licensed Psychotherapist, Intuitive Coach, Holistic Healer, and author of The Heart of Self-Love. Dr. Hans has appeared on multiple news stations and has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, and PopSugar.