7 things to know about relationships

What do you want out of a relationship? What matters most to you in life?

For me, it’s being happy.

JOY: a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.

Synonyms: delight, great pleasure, joyfulness, jubilation, triumph, exultation, rejoicing, happiness, gladness, glee, exhilaration, ebullience, exuberance, elation, euphoria, bliss, ecstasy, transports of delight, rapture, radiance.

A little disclaimer – I consider myself to be very lucky when it comes to relationships/crushes. My boyfriend, Jack, and I have been together for 4 and a half years and we got together when we were 17. I sometimes find myself looking at him and thinking ‘I’m so lucky you’re not a jerk’ because he’s really not. In fact he’s pretty damn awesome, he empowers me and makes me a better person. Everyone deserves a Jack. Just sayin’. (Sorry for the smoosh right at the start of the blog, I swear there won’t be more!)

The first day on our cruise as we left NYC

But that’s not to say we haven’t had bumps along the way, or that I haven’t learned important lessons from being with him.

I also have a lot of friends, both girls and boys, who have been in toxic relationships and had terrible break ups. I actually think being a ‘bystander’ to this sort of thing really gives you a different perspective.

So here you go, this is what I think everyone should know about relationships:

You need to share the same core values

OK, so he says ‘scone’ (sc-oh-n) and you say ‘scone’ (s-gone) – that doesn’t matter, your relationship will most probably be fine (unless you’re ridiculously passionate about baked goods). But no relationship can survive long term if your values aren’t similar – we’re talking about whether you both want a family, whether to save money for your future or investing time in one another. I’m not suggesting that you start off the first date with ‘do you want kids?’ – but you get what I mean, right?

You are never powerless in your relationship

Unleashing my inner Feminist here, but I feel SO passionate about this one. You are ALWAYS in control of your relationship. If something feels wrong, you feel undervalued, underappreciated, unhappy, mistreated or uncomfortable – talk about it. Whether that’s to your partner (because an open and honest relationship is always the best) or to a friend. Some of my closest friends have been made to feel helpless and less than worthy as a result of a relationship and it’s just not OK.

I always find myself caught between wanting to give them a metaphorical slap with the whole ‘you are a free independent woman/man’ monologue vs. giving them a big hug and telling them it’s going to be OK (in the hope that they come to the conclusion they’re a strong bad-ass all by themselves).

It’s ABSOLUTELY healthy to have your own social circles and time apart

Hallelujah. Sharing friends is great, but don’t feel guilty for going out with your friends without your partner. Space apart is good for you, it gives you more to talk about, I’ve always thought of catching up with friends as a sort of therapy – it’s refreshing.

At the moment Jack and I live 130 miles apart and see each other on weekends – and it’s great. I mean, I miss him, especially having lived practically together for two years at University. But when we see each other it’s amazing, we look forward to it, we plan things, we go out – we have a lot to chat about. It’s healthy. Plus, I meet up with my girlfriends in the week, he can go out with the guys – it’s good for us and our relationship.

You are allowed to grow as a person – if it’s meant to be, you’ll grow together

A lot changes for anyone between your teenage years and hitting your twenties – you grow, it’s normal. Sometimes relationships do fall apart when two people change – but that doesn’t have to be a negative thing and it certainly doesn’t happen to everyone. If you want something badly enough, if you work at it and work together to keep that relationship exciting – you can absolutely grow together.

Comparison is the killer of joy

If you are happy in your relationship – that’s all that matters. Your previous relationship ended terribly? That doesn’t mean your next one will. Your friends who have that perfect relationship? Yeah, it’s either not perfect (because no relationship is) or they’re psychopaths who suppress emotions or fight when you’re not looking!

The pro’s need to outweigh the con’s

If you’re sat there wondering what the point of your relationship is or struggling to come up with a list of benefits to being with that person – I think you already know the answer.

The bottom line is that the person you’re with should add to your life. Make life better.

You have to talk

This one is simple. If you don’t communicate, how is your relationship ever going to work out? Be brave enough to say how you feel – even if you know it might not go down well. Bottling things up is destructive.

Oh and call them. Texting is just too ambiguous and easy to misinterpret. Even if you know the conversation is going to be tough, chatting face to face about your problems makes for a much more honest conversation. Nobody can avoid conversations, or think long and hard about their answers.

Basically, surround yourself with people who make you happy, who add to your life. This applies to relationships of all kinds, in every sense.

Jack and I at New Year on our cruise… me looking at him the way I look at food… clearly I was peckish

I hope you enjoyed and Happy Monday!

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