When we enter a relationship, we do so in the hopes it will work out. But still, many romantic relationships end up in break ups or divorce, sometimes with a very ugly outcome. While we can never guarantee that a relationship will work, there is work we can do beforehand, before we enter a committed stage to ensure that our relationship is more successful. Here are a few strategies to strengthen the foundation of your relationship.
Tell the truth about yourself
The first thing to consider is that you should be authentic in your relationship. Sometimes, when we are very much in love, we might feel that it’s best to hide or cover parts of us that are not that appealing. We are willing to tell our significant other that sure, we love camping, even when that is not exactly true to ensure that things are flowing smoothly. But in doing so, we might be harming our relationship long-term.
Even if there are some truths that might not be completely pleasant to hear, it’s important to be able to share things about your likes and dislikes, flaws and talents. Allow yourself to be authentic to ensure that your commitment is built on solid ground.
Give the relationship time
Some relationships move along quickly, but a fast pace might mean that you don’t get to truly know the other person through different experiences and different times. We often hear how people turn out to be a fair-weather friend, someone who is only there when things are good, but there are other possibilities. There are people who don’t handle well when you are the successful or happy one. Other people might prove to have incompatible traits that rise in situations of stress and worry.
Before you commit, give yourself time to get to know the person during the good and during the bad, during all four seasons of the year.
You need to also work on yourself to help each relationship succeed. You might feel like you have to change to make each bond better, but you can’t make yourself into someone you are not. You might be able and willing to change some elements of your behavior, however, a loving partner would not ask you to or not insist upon you changing fundamental aspects of who you are.
Know and accept yourself and look for someone who will accept you. Set your boundaries: you might change whether you sleep with the door open or closed at night, but you probably should not try to change your passions or true love for creative pursuits.
Accept your partner
For a committed relationship to work, you need to offer your partner the same courtesy as you want. You need to accept them as they are. While it’s reasonable to ask them to change aspects of their behavior, it’s probably not a good idea to expect that they will completely change who they are. A recipe for a disastrous relationship is entering it with the idea that you will be able to change them.
It’s a lesson we learn from classics like Beauty and the Beast. Yet in real life, things rarely work out so smoothly. We won’t be able to change someone who doesn’t want to change. Beyond this, we shouldn’t try to change a person on a fundamental level. It’s better to accept them as they are and work from there, if we want a long-term relationship with them, as they might always be who they are.
Know what you want and what you need
A committed relationship has a lot of advantages. It is a way to build a place where you can have your needs and desires met. But to achieve this, you need to know what you want. Do you want kids? A big wedding? Co-habitation? It’s important that you can learn what you want before committing, so that you can talk about your non-negotiable wants and needs and get the person on the same page.
The better you know yourself, the more you can communicate what you truly want. You can find people who are in line with your values and big life goals.