It appears that every one of my single friends I talk to, have the same feeling: Dating has become so damn hard!

No one seems to have the determination or staying power to make a relationship work and it seems to be a challenge every step of the way. Dating apps have made it so easy to meet far more people than has ever been possible before… meaning it is easier to find your next conquest should things in your current relationship be taking a turn for the worse.

Back when I was single, I often found myself looking at my friends I knew were in relationships and thinking to myself how, if it were me in that relationship, differently I would do things. How I would act differently, or treat them differently. I would ensure I avoided the mistakes they were making and that everything would be perfect… After all, when your pals are venting about their relationship issues, it can be easy from the outside to look in and see what you would do so differently.

But when it comes down to it, the reality of the situation is that when you are in a fully fledged, committed relationship with someone… Everything Changes!

And whilst early on it may appear to be easy enough, soon enough you will be more like those aforementioned couples than you would ever care to admit. You see, the truth is, there is a lot of things about relationships that no one ever really talks about and you end up not knowing until you’re right in the middle of one… So to make it easier, here are 10 things that this time around, I am going to try and remember and work on putting them in to practice.

  1. Opening up can be difficult.Everyone has a past. We all have our own demons and issues from past relationships that may still play on our minds. So, even if you go into a new relationship planning to be open and honest about your thoughts and feelings, you may find that there are some things that you may not have talked about with anyone and you may not feel too enthused about sharing them with your significant other. That being said, it is always worth opening up, but it rarely is easy. Take your time and stop judging them on the actions from the people from your past relationships… We are all different!
  2. Your partner is not a mind reader. And neither are you. And whilst I realise this may seem like a pretty obvious point, you will be hugely surprised at how many times you think your partner has understood you (or vice-versa) but actually hasn’t. It really does not even matter if they know you better than anyone else, they won’t always know your intentions or reasoning behind your actions. So, even when you know there is no issue, you have to be clear and concise in how you communicate.
  3. You have to be a little sensitive to how they feel and bear their insecurities in mind. Because even the most confident and strong-willed people have their insecurities. They may not be so obvious at first, but it will come up at some point in your relationship. You should be sensitive to what ever it is that upsets them… even if you don’t feel the same way. Changing the way someone thinks about something is a hard task, so be mindful that these issues won’t change overnight. Or ever for that matter.
  4. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. And it can cause a lot of issues in your relationship, sometimes even being a main contributor to your relationship breaking down. Make sure that you still make time to do things separately because whilst it’s absolutely fine to spend a lot of time staying in together, you’ll be a lot happier if you take an active interest in the outside world both together and apart. Similarly, you should actively make time for each other and get your priorities in order. If you’re telling your other half that they are your number one… show them! Because actions speak louder than words and putting them second all the time will only lead to them feeling let down, inadequate and insecure!
  5. You may struggle to find time for each other. And whilst it is important to make time for your significant other… sometimes it just isn’t that easy. Fitting in seeing your other half around work, family and other social events, can be a difficult task in itself. Things can become even harder when you want to spend a little time in your week to yourself as well. And despite the fact that you are in a fun, positive and loving relationship… sometimes you will have to work it around your schedule. Just remember that your relationship is not a job, so making some time for your partner shouldn’t be one either!
  6. Arguments are absolutely necessary. And whilst none of us really like arguing, some people try to shy away from them as much as possible. In reality, this just isn’t healthy, because bottling up these feelings can make you bitter and feeling like you can’t talk to your significant other. However frustrating the argument may be, sometimes these feelings need to be aired for you both to improve as a couple and as individuals. If you have something that it bugging you, air your opinions and talk them through with your partner.
  7. Your moods won’t always match exactly. And if you’ve had a bad day at work, it can be amazing to have someone at home to cheer you up. But, you should not depend on your other half always being in a good mood when you need them to… life just doesn’t work that way. They have their own lives and that can affect their mentality just like yours does you. Take time for each other and pick each other up when possible. Just remember, it is not a competition as to who’s had a worse day than the other!
  8. Manage your thoughts and emotions. Because no one has more power over your mental state of mind than your partner. This means that even the most innocuous statement can sometimes lead you to have unfounded thoughts of jealousy or frustration. Therefore, clearing your mind and reading the situation properly will require open-mindedness and patience and if you fail to be able to do this, the situation can end up worsening and you tend to say things you may end up regretting! Think before you speak, because words can hurt!
  9. Forgiveness is absolutely crucial. And I don’t mean when it comes to things like infidelity… But not matter how good you may think you are at being perfect in a relationship… you’re going to make a few mistakes at some point along the way. Mistakes can often hurt your partners feelings, but there is absolutely no use in holding a grudge, bringing it up every ten minuets or trying to forget or ignore something that has happened. Don’t just forgive them in words… you have to forgive them in your head too. Because if you don’t, you’ll still be thinking about it further on down the line and that is ridiculously unhealthy.
  10. Unfortunately, you can’t always be right! And I don’t mean this in the obvious way that everyone is wrong at some point. What I mean is, even if you are certain that you are right, sometimes it is worth letting go of ‘winning’ an argument, in favour of something that is just much more important: Being happy! Of course, it massively depends on the situation and if you feel passionately about something, fight to get your point across , however if there is no real consequence to giving up on the competition of who is right… then it may just be worth moving on, rather than fighting for the sake of protecting your ego! After all, it may not even be worth the amount of effort required to fight your point!

And whilst I am absolutely not an expert on relationships and this list is by no means all-encompassing… hopefully it at least reminded you of something you’ve neglected in your relationship, or something you can make use of next time the opportunity comes around!

Belle x

© 2017 Belle’s Notepad (Laura Denton)

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