Let me guess. You’ve had your fair share of bad relationships in the past and you’re here to figure out how to change that. You want to find and create the best relationship you’ve ever had, but you have no idea where to start.
Was I close?
Well, this very article is going to be a good place for you to start as you look to improve your odds of having some amazing relationships down the line.
Follow these tips and you’ll find your relationship luck changing for the better.
1. Selection is key
As much as I’d love to say that you can have an amazing relationship with anyone you choose, you just can’t. Personality types can clash, love languages can go misinterpreted, and, through no fault of your own, you and that “perfect” guy or girl are calling it quits. The first step in finding an incredible relationship is by simply picking better partners.
If you have a slew of scumbags or significant others piling up in your past, it’s time that you took inventory.
Grab a pen, some paper, and probably your favorite adult beverage. This may not be pretty, but it’s necessary. Write down all of the people that you’ve let into your life for a significant amount of time. Chances are good that you’ll find a common theme amongst the big names on your list. You may not have seen that theme before, but now that you have some perspective and the context of staring at those names all at once, you can see it as clear as day.
It could be that the “guy in a band” theme shows up. It could be that you were into pretty pathological liars. Whatever the case may be for you and your habitual choice of mate, take some time and write out what a person with opposite traits might look like. Not to say that you need to date someone that is the complete opposite, but by creating an image of someone so far out of the realm of your cupid comfort zone, you’ll begin to direct your attention away from what you normally go for.
This exercise is all about breaking patterns. It’s pretty clear that if you aren’t partaking in happy and healthy relationships, you have some poor patterns when it comes to choosing the right person. Shake things up and look outside your bubble of the norm. You’ll likely find that the person that’s “not your type” is exactly what you needed.
2. Be a better partner
Selecting the right person to spend your time with is the gateway to a great relationship, but once you’re involved, you also have to show consciously and consistently to keep that person around.
Remember what I said before about breaking patterns? Once you’ve broken your patterns for who you start a relationship with, it’s important that you take a closer look at how you are as a partner.
If you’ve had some rough relationships in the past, chances are good that it wasn’t entirely the other person’s fault. You’ve got some work to do my friend.
Hopefully, you haven’t put away your pen and paper. Also, I hope you have another one of those beverages on deck and ready to wash down this uncomfortable little exercise. Uncomfortable, but oh so important, that is.
With each person that you failed to find happiness with, write down how you played a part in the demise of the relationship. Maybe you cheated. Maybe you were clingy. Maybe you weren’t interesting enough.
There are a ton of things that you could’ve done differently, whether you think you’re at fault or not. If you want to live in denial about your imperfections as a partner, that’s fine. Just be prepared to repeat the process of rough relationships that you’re trying to break away from.
Like writing down your past partners and finding the thing that connected them all, the perspective that is gained from writing down your weaknesses will make it clear what you need to work on.
Don’t.I repeat, don’t enter into another relationship until you’ve taken some time to yourself and worked on what you see in front of you. Go see a therapist and talk it out if you need to. Hire a life coach if that’s your thing. Read some books that will give you some insight into the areas where you could use some growth. By healing yourself and some of the issues you may have subconsciously held onto, you can more readily be a productive partner to someone who’s looking to love you.
3. Don’t put on a show
One of the biggest reasons that the honeymoon phase is just a phase is because of how most people enter into a relationship.
We go out of our way to impress and court our new partner, but in doing so, we often don’t show many glimpses of our true self.
We smile even when we’re not happy with them.
We laugh at their jokes even if they’re not funny.
We put on a show.
The facade that both parties bring to the relationship makes it awfully hard for the courtship to grow. If everyone is bringing an overly perfected version of themselves to the table, their flaws will eventually make their way into the light.
To avoid the eventual crumbling of this perfect relationship, show up as the most authentic version of yourself as possible. Be the person that makes you the happiest.
If that means reading Harry Potter and quoting Friends whenever you can, do it!
If that means you are not a morning person and loathe anything that is, own it!
The more of a front you put on, the wider the disconnect will be when you finally reveal to each other who you really are. By being the real you from day 1, you’ll find a better match for you AND probably have a longer, more fulfilling relationship.
4. Be a better listener: The communication will follow
As you seek out and enter into your next relationship, practice your listening skills first and foremost. Stop just hearing your partner and actually listen.
Many people say communication is a major key to a quality relationship—and it is—but if you have to focus on one aspect of that, make it listening.
Many of us err on the side of our own ego and don’t spend time empathizing with our partner when there is conflict. Do your best to listen to what they’re saying, how they’re saying it, and their body language while it comes out of their mouth. Don’t just wait for your turn to talk, use it wisely!
By becoming a better listener, you’ll pick up on subtle cues and words that you may have missed had you not listened so intently. This will ultimately raise the bar for your communication, making your relationship the strongest it’s ever been.
5. Be present: The past is over, the future can wait
This little nugget could be blown out into a societal and cultural debate in itself, but for this article’s purposes, let’s focus on relationships.
You meet someone, they give you butterflies, and your mind starts authoring the novel of your love story.
Contrarily, you meet someone new, they make you smile, but they also remind you of the ex that you haven’t quite let go of yet.
In either case, you’re not being present enough to experience and enjoy the relationship that’s sitting right in front of you.
Rather than reciting your wedding vows in your head, just enjoy each moment of your 3rd date.
Instead of spending the entire evening noticing how similar your new lady is in comparison to your ex-wife, be present and enjoy connecting with this entirely different human being.
The more you can come back to being as present as possible, the more your relationship will thrive.
Forget about the wedding plans until you know you would marry them tomorrow if you could.
Let go of your past and step into the here and now.
Take the pressure off the amazing future you’ve created, and relieve the stress of a past that hurt you.
Soak in the moments you’re currently sitting in. You’re bound to get more of them the more that you appreciate each one.
6. Be selfish
Now there’s a rice of advice you probably don’t see every day.
Many love songs and relationship experts will tell you that you should give all of yourself to your partner. In general, this isn’t a bad idea. The more open, honest, and loving you are, the better. In that case, absolutely give your all to your husband or wife.
BUT…and this is a big but, hence the capital letters…don’t give so much of yourself away that you forget who you are as an individual.
Although each partner within a relationship should be committed to each other, they also need to be committed to making space for themselves.
The key to the best relationships is the relationship you have with yourself. If you, as a person, have disappeared and have become “Jon’s Wife” or “Mary’s Husband,” it’s time that you became a little more selfish.
This isn’t to say that you should step out on your marriage or disrespect your spouse in any way, but you should at least create some space for some “me” time.
Go to a café and read a good book over a piping hot cup of coffee.
Join a fantasy football league with your buddies.
Take a class.
Learn a new skill.
Find something that can be entirely yours.
By finding time and space to take care of yourself, you can show up more fulfilled to your relationship. If you are always living in service or duty to your husband or wife, you’ll find that your identity starts to slip away.
Do you and your partner a favor and create some space to get back in touch with who you are. Be selfish.
7. Have a little fun
Once you’ve done the hard work, relax and have some fun with the people that you involve yourself with. Far too often I see people put undue pressure on themselves or their partner because of societal pressure or expectations.
Don’t obsess over when you’ll get married. Don’t worry about how many guys she’s slept with. Don’t let that baby clock start ticking when you’ve only been dating for 3 months.
Be present and enjoy each moment with each other. The rest of it will fall into place at a time that’s appropriate. Forcing the issue is only going to create tension that will result in a downward spiral of resentment and arguments.
Kick back, relax, and enjoy the ride.
Having a movie like romance isn’t impossible, but it can feel like it is if you’re not willing to look at the work that it takes to create such a relationship. Picking the right partner is key, but so is being able to give that partner everything they deserve. Work on yourself first, then go out into the world and give the love that you’re ready to spread.
Once you figure that out, let it all fall into place. You can’t fight nature, so just enjoy the moments as you create them.