I hardly ever write about my relationships or what I think about love because I find it to be a private matter. But it’s the one thing in my life that has taught me so much about myself. And about how people work. So I’ve decided to list down some key lessons I’ve learned over the years (which I shall continue to re-learn in my future relationships). They have been real hard life lessons: shed a lot of tears, bruised my self-esteem, hardened my heart but ultimately taught me to be less selfish and more empathetic. For that Love has always been my best life lesson.
- Communicate with respect
You would think that this would be easy but truth is sometimes when we get caught up in emotions we lose our sense of respect to our other half.
- Keep your problems private
There’s a reason why people keep saying this. Everyone knows that a third party opinion is irrelevant and would only brew tension. Respect your partner enough to keep your problems between yourselves. Seeking constructive advice is fine, but always be objective about how you take it.
- A relationship can afford no ego
For a successful relationship, there can be no ego. Both parties must learn to let their guard down and show vulnerability. That’s the only way you can truly connect emotionally.
- Compromise always
You can’t always have it your way and that’s fine because a relationship involves 2 people and so you have to take turns to please each other. I once read an article which said “marriage is not for you” – what the writer meant was that when you are in a relationship, it’s not about yourself but the partner you chose to be with. If you can accept that then you will have a lasting relationship.
- Love is about a feeling
I used to think that love can be learned and while some will agree, I’ve come to learn that love is a feeling that cannot be forced.
- Learn to differentiate between banter and insult
Similar to #1, the respect factor is important. Banter is healthy for relationships but always know when to differentiate it with actual insult that may hurt the other person.
- Space is good. Space is healthy
Even two-mutually clingy couples should have space sometimes. A relationship is not about living in another person’s life, it’s about living your own and being able to share it with someone else. So be at liberty to do what you want without feeling threatened of the person not being involved. They should be at liberty to do their own things too.
- Never compare
Never compare your relationship with others. Especially to your ex. After all, comparison is the thief of joy.
- Don’t lose yourself trying to help someone else
Relationships are beautiful because you get to grow together. Yet it should not affect your principles and values. And it should not be done at the expense of your happiness.
- Forgive yourself if it didn’t work, let go and work on making the next experience better
When my first relationship ended, I couldn’t forgive myself, especially since I wasn’t the one who ended it. But I was 18 and what did I know about resilience? While I was positive nonetheless, 101 questions lingered at the back of my mind. What could I have done better? Why did this happen? Will it happen again? How can I be better next time? I got so exhausted trying to find answers to questions which weren’t going to provide me any. A couple of years flew by and as I grew up I learned to let go and forgive myself. I told myself that while everything happens for a reason, you’re not going to always know why and that’s OKAY. Stop dwelling. The future awaits, a better one. Whatever happened, happened. Focus on making the next experience better. So I did.