Most people have been there: shattered by yet another failed relationship and desperate to make the next one work. Unfortunately, no simple solution exists. Relationships fail for a variety of reasons. Some fail because of jealousy, others because of selfishness, infidelity, or simply boredom. Nothing guarantees success in your next relationship, but the following might at least improve your chances:
1) Do not rush things. When people first become romantically involved, they tend to make a huge effort, hiding their flaws behind a mask of humor, warmth, and romance. Although most adults know this, they often repeat their mistake, moving in with someone, or even having a child, before they truly know them. After a year or two, they find themselves trapped with a complete stranger – a moody, difficult, unpleasant individual, totally different to the sweet guy who wrote them poetry and took them to Paris.
2) Be sure you both want the same things. Many relationships fail because one partner assumes the other shares their feelings. Perhaps you see this as a deep, committed relationship; does she feel the same way? You may want children, but maybe he doesn’t. Never assume anything. Instead, be open and clear about what you want and expect from the start.
3) Consider whether this is a healthy relationship. The strongest, healthiest relationships involve two stable, independent individuals. They form a union because they love one another, that is all. Unfortunately, many relationships are based on quite different things: a fear of loneliness, a need to be taken care of, even a romantic wish to “save” the other person. Do not mistake fear and neediness for love.
4) Keep a sense of humor and be more tolerant. Romance and love are vital, but so are humor and tolerance. No relationship is perfect because no individual is perfect. He will snore, burp, and occasionally sink into a moody silence, just as you will sometimes irritate or bore him. Love and romance will sustain the deep bond, but humor and tolerance will get you through the traffic jams, petty arguments, and money problems.
5) Be more self-aware. If possible, ask your former lovers where you went wrong. Sometimes, relationships fail because of something major, like infidelity or loss of love. More often, they break down due to the cumulative effect of unpleasant personal habits and annoying character traits. If you cut your nails in the bath, pick up the cuttings instead of leaving them there. Put dirty socks and underwear straight in the wash basket. And don’t assume she will find it hilarious when you burp or pass wind (she isn’t a 14-year-old boy). These may seem trivial, but such things soon kill the romance.
6) Make a fuss of your partner without being needy or pathetic. Small gestures can go a long way. Anyone can buy their lover flowers from a gas station or book a restaurant on their anniversary. Small acts, however, are what truly count: taking care of the children so that she can go to her evening class, for example, or listening attentively when she tells you about her spiteful work colleague. But strike a careful balance here. Do not allow your partner to take advantage of you and reduce you to a lapdog. No one respects a lover who is too eager to please.
7) Accept the differences in your personalities. Far too many people assume their partner shares their feelings. A classic example is the introvert/extrovert divide. Some people are natural introverts and need a lot of alone time. But they need alone time because they are introverted, not because they find you boring or because they no longer love you. Be prepared to compromise. If your partner is an extrovert and you are an introvert, grit your teeth and go to the occasional party.
8) Respect your partner. Passion and looks fade. If a relationship is to endure, there must be an underlying respect. Never belittle or ridicule your partner. This will do more harm than the occasional blazing row. For example, if a major news story breaks, ask your partner what they think and listen to their reply; don’t just wait for them to finish. Maybe your boyfriend disagrees with you on some political issue or dislikes a film you adore. They have a right to feel this way. It is fine to disagree, but do not ridicule or dismiss their opinion.
Of course, such a list is far from complete. Ask any random stranger and they will soon add half a dozen tips of their own. But the advice offered here would not be a bad place to start.