Relationships have always been on the minds of people throughout history. Several authors, psychologists, relationship experts, and even celebrities have given their opinion on how to make a relationship work. People are astounded when hearing of couples that have been together for 60+ years. The common question they ask them, “What’s your secret?” Why do people feel there is a secret to a successful relationship? Even with all the advice given in the past, people are still looking for the answer. Some have turned to the internet for relationship advice, only to find hundreds of millions of articles, which can seem a bit overwhelming. So why haven’t people found the true answer to relationship problems? Well, it’s a question that can’t be given a clear-cut answer. Everyone is different. So what may work for one couple could have the opposite effect on another.
But what experts can agree on is that all relationships have to be based on love.
Love can have a powerful, emotional effect on people, whether it is positive or negative. It can bring out the best in some, or, if it’s taken on an obsessive level, it can bring out the worst in others. Some are scared away by it, seeing it as being emotionally vulnerable, and so they try to avoid it altogether.
Though love can start off strong it can easily fade away if not nurtured properly. Some people constantly fall in and out of love quite easily. This sometimes is in line with having a misconception of love. Meaning they confuse infatuation with love. Or they feel that being in love is controlling someone else or being overly needy. This can in fact drive people away from them.
The word love can be a difficult thing to say. Men can feel like it’s no big deal if they don’t say the word all the time to their loved one.
When married some husbands might say, “Of course I love my wife. I come home everyday from work don’t I?” In all honesty that is commendable, but when was the last time you said it? The same applies for wives too. Those four letter words can make a big difference in a relationship, but so does someone’s actions. If you don’t get any thing out of this article do keep this one point in mind; you never know someone loves you until they do something to prove it. However, this doesn’t mean it's ok for a person to emotionally manipulate you into doing something you don’t want to do. True love is based on two factors: Honest communications and respect.
Can people find love without it leading to marriage? Yes, only if both parties agree to not getting married. Some people choose not to fall in love, or get married, and that is understandable. However, you need to let the person you are dating know about this. Within three to six months of dating, the other person could already be talking about wanting to get married. Don’t string the person along by playing mind games. Like saying, “Yes, I would want to get married”, then the next day say, “No” and then “Yes” again. It adds more confusion and pain to the other person. This could probably lead them into thinking that something is wrong with them, when you know very well it’s you that’s afraid to commit.
But this too goes for the person being misled. Beware of people, preferably men, which claim to be “damaged goods” or have “issues.” It’s a way to make himself, hopefully, seem less appealing to you. In guy terms it’s his way of saying, “Hey, don’t take this thing between us serious.” In reality, when a man really likes a woman he wants to impress her; whether by his wits, charm, smarts, material possessions, finances, handiness, or humanitarianism. A guy’s demeanor speaks volumes. So when you think about it if a man really likes a woman, why then would he put himself down?
It reminds me a lot of someone being interviewed for a job. Now if the person really wants the job would they tell the interviewer “Well, I’m lazy, unreliable and almost never come to work on time.” Does it really seem like that person wants the job? Of course not! But, rather, they would do their best to prove that they are the one qualified for the job. The same analogy could be applied to a potential relationship. If a guy is really interested in someone, he'll prove that he’s worth their attention.
But, if you feel you are being strung along and the person never gives you a straight answer, because they change their mind back and forth, it’s best to run from that relationship. Don’t be surprised if one day that person, out of frustration over the commitment issue, will cut you off completely with no explanation whatsoever. You will be left wondering what happened and suffer from the pain. As for them, they will move on, continuing to do the same thing all over again. History will repeat itself.
I know relationship experts always say be honest when first meeting someone. But in reality no one is ever honest when they just start dating. That’s why it's important not to rush into a serious relationship right away. Wait until you know the person well. As the old saying goes, “Time reveals all.” One way to speed up the process is seeing how the person you’re dating interacts with their family and friends. You might see a side of them that could shock you. However, some women will see the bad habits/attitude of the man they are dating, and though being repulsed, they will continue to stay in the relationship, even up to the point of marriage. Why? Because they want to settle or think that “they can change him.” It is a bit presumptuous to think you change a person. A man will change only if he wants to. The same person you are before marriage is the same person you’ll be after marriage. The only thing that changes is the living situation and responsibilities within the home.
Another major topic that couples are concerned about is cheating. Today, more than ever, having an affair is becoming a common thing. Some psychologists even encourage affairs as a way to “spice up” the relationship. But there are many reasons as to why people have affairs. It can also be related to commitment issues. Or they are not getting something within their serious relationship, so they go outside the marriage and look for it. Surprisingly, it can have nothing to do with sex-at first. It can develop into an emotional-like friendship which could then lead to sex. Personally, I would never encourage someone to leave a person that is cheating on them. The choice to forgive or not is a personal decision that you’ll have to live with. The only exception would be if your partner constantly cheats and refuses to seek help. It would be best to leave in order to avoid contacting an STD; or if your life is in danger, such as facing emotional and/or physical abuse.
Don’t lose hope! A successful relationship is possible only if both people really work hard on making it last.
Written by: Bridget Campos
Originally posted on July 16, 2009