10 Secrets to a Successful Relationship… by someone who is unlucky in love!

10 Secrets to a Successful Relationship… by someone who is unlucky in love!

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)

A tail of lies, heartbreak and a love like no other. (pt 2)

A tail of lies, heartbreak and a love like no other. (pt 2)

“There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.” – Ronald Reagan

And now everything has changed, I am more ‘me’ than I have ever been before.

Because, after everything that had happened with my ex husband, I thought my deepest insecurities has been confirmed: I thought I was completely unlovable. All of my previous fears of loss and rejection had now become the most unbearable of realities.

But in reality, that heartbreak was nothing compared to the one I experienced some two months ago. You see, 12 months ago, I met a man that completely swept me off my feet. And he gave me butterflies so bloody much, I should have considered opening a zoo!

He still makes me feel this way to this day. And in all honesty, I doubt I will ever feel this way about anyone else.

The problem was, walls I had built as a means of protection, ended up hurting me in a way I could have never imagined. He spent so long trying to reassure me that he wasn’t like the rest of them, that I lost sight of the reasons I had fallen in love with him in the first place. I second guessed every single word he said and I eventually pushed him away.

I believed that one day, he would do the same things to me that my ex husband had done. I thought all men were the same. Except, I actually did think he was different. He absolutely was not like my ex, or anyone before or after him.  But I only had an 8 year relationship and a few mixed up months to go on. This, mixed with my anxiety and PTSD, meant that I always tried to keep him at a distance. The walls I had put up to keep me safe needed to come down in order for it to work and as quickly as he was chipping away at the bricks, I was putting them back up.  I had not dealt with the heartbreak and pain that I had been through before meeting him and unfortunately, being stubborn means that I find it difficult to admit when I am wrong, so much so that I rarely do it. So when something would upset me or annoy me, my immediate reaction was to run.

I would tell him it was over, never actually wanting it to be. I never meant a single word I said when I would say it, but I would say it anyway because I thought it would be easier for him to walk away early on and that in turn would save me the heartbreak in the future. And every single time, he would tell me I was being silly, that he loved me and that it would be fine. Except that last time.

This time, something was different. This time, he agreed and told me he thought it was for the best.

I felt as though my world had ended all over again. It felt as if all the love I’d known had been extinguished in a single second. And I was absolutely heartbroken. And in spite of his willingness to let me go, I held on to him in the hope that this despairing situation would somehow turn around. If only I could win his heart back, we could have everything we had really wanted…

I think what hurt the most, was that he was so unwilling to talk to me about it. That he had promised he would always be there. That he would always fight for ‘us’ when I was unable to do that. I was so angry at myself for believing every single word he had said and that once again, I had let a man break my heart. And this time it hurt so much because I actually loved him so much.The man I once adored. The man I once wanted to grow old and grey with. The man I had trusted, had made me feel like I had never meant a single thing to him. That I was just someone to fill some time. That every bloody thing he said to me was nothing more than a twisted lie!

It’s kind of messed up isn’t it? How all of a sudden, someone just decides that they don’t want to talk to you or see you again. No real reason. No explanation. No words really said… They just leave you hanging like you never meant anything to them and what hurts so much more, is how they make it look so easy when your heart is breaking into a million pieces.

And it is hard. It is really really hard, leaving a relationship without any real closure. Without any real reason why it had to come to an end in the first place. It makes moving on extremely difficult. I don’t think you can ever forget someone that once was the reason you smiled everyday.

For months, I have completely blamed my self for the break down of our relationship. I thought it was all down to me. My insecurities. My inability to move on from what had happened in the past. But half of this is on him. Because it takes two people to make a relationship work. When I needed him the most, he turned his back and walked away. He chose to lie to me about how he really felt about me. He chose to not fight for us like he had promised. He chose to leave the woman he ‘loved’ when she was suffering with mental health problems without a second thought about it, because it didn’t suit him.

And that is not down to me. That’s down to him being lazy and being a complete coward. And I was stupid enough to think he was better than that. He was not the man I fell in love with. He was not the man he made me think he was. And do you know something… I have absolutely no regrets about ending it that morning, because at least now I can see him for who he really is. At least now I can see that I deserve someone better than that. Because despite the battle I had going on in my head, I fought for us, for him, for two and a half months. I tried and tried to get him to see that this was the wrong decision for both of us.

And I meant so little to him that he wouldn’t even allow us to have a conversation, like he had promised. And whilst now I realise I should have characterised him by his actions, not been fooled by his words, I am glad I allowed him to fool me. I am glad I fell in love with him. And I am glad he walked away. Because I can now move on knowing I don’t need him in my life, despite him wanting to keep me in his by being his ‘friend’. I am an all or nothing kind of a girl… and you don’t get the have me halfheartedly! I just don’t work like that!

I am more than grateful for the lessons I have learnt from this relationship. I do not regret loving him for a second. And I am absolute at fault in parts. I realise that I did not give him the respect and love that he deserved at times. I am aware that I didn’t try as hard as he would have liked with spending time with him and his friends and family. But, he let me down by not realising that I had no control over my anxieties and that all I needed was for him to support me through my recovery. He let me down by walking away.

If you have ever suffered from anxiety, you will know that you have zero control over the way it makes you feel. You have no control over the deep fears in the pit of your stomach and the actions that these fears make you take.

If I had control over my anxieties, we would probably still be together. But in turn, he should have seen how much I needed his help and he should have got off his lazy ass and supported me, not walked away!

Thankfully, I have now learnt how to deal with them in a way which does not let them consume my life anymore. It has taken months of hard work and determination and believe me, my recovery is far from over, but the hard work I have done so far has resulted in me being ready to show him just how incredible this could have been. To show him just how far I have come and prove to him that I could still be the girl he fell in love with, but better….

But now I realise, that because he found it so easy to walk away when I was at my worst… that now he absolutely does not deserve to have me at my best.

We end up in toxic relationships because we don’t stand up for ourselves when red flags occur. We let them slide, simply because we fear losing a companion. But how long do you let disrespect and neglect go? At some point, you need to develop healthy barriers for how you are going to allow yourself to be treated.

And regardless of how much it hurts right now, I know it will pass. Every day gets a little brighter and a little easier.

I know now that if your heart hurts after letting go of something or someone, that is an acceptable way to feel. It just shows that your feelings were 100% genuine.

No one likes things coming to an end. No one enjoys the pain it brings. But sometimes, we have to put things that were once amazing to an end after they end up turning toxic for our wellbeing.

You have to understand that not every new beginning is meant to last forever and not every person that walks into your life, if meant to stay.

I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that one day, probably sooner rather than later, he will realise just how much of a mistake he has made. He will realise that he should have fought a little harder and held on a little tighter. And when he does, he has my number to discuss it if he decides to get off his lazy ass and do something.

I did try to be his friend like he had wanted and I couldn’t, no matter how much I would have liked to have kept him in my life.

I had to say goodbye.

I had to let go.

I have finally realised that the man I once loved, had become a stranger to me.

And I guess that is what saying goodbye is always like – It is like jumping off the edge of a cliff. The worst part is making the choice to do it because once you are in the air, there is nothing to do but let go.

And there is a huge difference between goodbye and letting go.

Goodbye means “I’ll see you again when I’m ready to hold your hand and when you are ready to hold mine”.

But letting go means “I’ll miss your hand and now I realise it is no longer mine to hold and now I will never get to hold it again.”

But sometimes, you just have to let go, regardless of how much it hurts you. Regardless of how much it keeps you awake at night,

And one day, you will meet someone new; and ultimately they are going to find out how you chew, how you sip. How you dance and sing. How your face looks underneath makeup or how wild your hair looks in the morning. How you love strawberries and chocolate or a chicken and crisp sandwich. How hyper you can get after having too much coffee.

How certain songs and movies make you happy or how cranky you can get when you’re tired. They will still think you are beautiful regardless of all of that.

They are going to know almost everything about you, the good and the bad,

And do you know what?

They are still going to love you regardless!

I know he is still the man I fell in love with deep down. I don’t know where or why he lost the part of him self that he gave to me: the self he had let me see and love anyway. And in all honesty, I think he does still love me.

Everyone saw the way he looked at me. I looked into those eyes and saw complete love and adoration and I know that doesn’t disappear, even after a few months.

So who knows, one day I may just get the conversation that he promised me. And if I don’t, that is fine too… because losing him meant that I was able to find myself. And for me, that makes losing him worth every second!

Belle x

© 2017 Belle’s Notepad (Laura Denton)

A tail of lies, heartbreak and a love like no other. (pt 1)

A tail of lies, heartbreak and a love like no other. (pt 1)

” The reason it hurts so much to separate is because our souls are connected.”- The Notebook

For me, falling in love with someone that is your perfect fit, is probably one of the most magical feelings in the world.

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to find yourself falling in love ( or more simply, lust) with the wrong person, before finding your perfect fit. But when you finally meet the “one” for you, you will realise it was absolutely worth the wait… after all, you have to kiss a few frogs before finding your “Prince Charming”.

Forget everything you thought you knew about relationships and love, because all of that will suddenly be turned on it’s head.

I got married when I was just 24 years old and in all honesty, I genuinely thought that I had found the man of my dreams. I thought I knew all I needed to know about being in love, but this past year has taught me that I actually had no idea what it truly felt like.

For me, falling in love literally feels like a butterfly farm in the pit of my stomach. In fact, there is so much going on, it is almost a fully fledged zoo! And I have only ever felt that feeling because of one person.

I am sure that because of him, every day the sun seemed to shine a little brighter and the birds sung a little louder. I was so in love that I could have literally high-five’d complete strangers just walking down the street going about there daily business. I have those butterflies right now and that is because I am simply remembering the way he used to make me feel…

The early stages of a relationship can be utterly confusing. You tend to puzzle over your own feelings and deliberate on what the person you are dating really thinks of you and even your own emotions may be difficult to decipher. Trying to categorise your feelings as falling in love or as just a passing attraction can be tricky, however I truly believe that if it is ‘true love’ you somehow just ‘know’.

At this stage, it is really easy to get wrapped up in a fairy tale and act in a way that makes you some one you are not. It is really easy to say the things you think your other half wants to hear. And whilst this may feel like the right thing to do at the time, it may just come round and bite you on the backside later on down the line.

I know this, because devastatingly, this has recently happened to me. You see, for the past 12 months, I have been in love with a man that unfortunately did just that… he lied to me and told me all the things he thought I wanted to hear. And because of his words and actions, I was so sure that we both wanted the same things out of our lives together. And now I question if there was ever any truth in anything he ever said to me. But now I know that I am equally to blame…

You see, loving someone completely with every inch of your being for so long, and building your entire life around them, makes it very difficult to move on when it doesn’t work out. It also makes it extremely difficult to love and trust anyone again and so as a means of protecting yourself, you find your self building your walls up faster than anyone can knock them down!

So let me explain to you exactly why I built those walls up…

When I was just 24 years old, I married a man that I thought was my best friend. Despite previously cheating on me, I trusted him 100% and honestly believed him when he said he wouldn’t do it again. I married him and believed every god damn lie he ever told me… all because I loved him. I trusted him more than anyone else in world, regardless of how badly he treated me.

Towards the end of 2015, I had watched his behaviour change massively and I recognised a pattern which I had seen 4 years previously. I knew 100% in my gut that he was cheating on me and I accused him hundreds of times. And every time, he talked his way out of it and convinced me it was all in my head, so much so that one day I almost checked myself into a mental health hospital because he had convinced me I was loosing the plot and ruining our relationship because everything I thought I was seeing or hearing was in actual fact, ‘all in my head’. At the same time, my Mom was battling terminal cancer and at his request, we were trying for a baby!

Around Christmas time, things seem to get a little better. I was pregnant and we all knew it would be my Mom’s last Christmas, so my focus shifted off his actions and on to that.

And then on the 27th December, my world fell apart when I began to bleed at his families Christmas Day Party. I lost the baby and had absolutely no support from him what so ever. I couldn’t talk to my Mom about it, because even though she was my best friend, she was dying and I was so scared that telling her would break her heart and we could lose her. I was all alone and my world was falling apart. And then, two weeks later on the Saturday morning, I found a message on his phone that confirmed all of my suspicions. He had been having an affair for 6 months with a much older woman he had met at the gym. I called my friend, packed my bags and went to stay with her some 70 miles away. I had never left him before. He had told me for 8 years that I ‘needed him’ and he had made me believe that I did. So, I had always stayed put after an argument and waited for him to come home and sort it out. But I was absolutely devastated and I just had to get away.

The following morning at 3:30 am, my phone begin to rang. It was my Dad. Panic immediately set in… he only ever called me when something was wrong. He said that my husband and I had to get to my parents house immediately because my Mom needed to go to hospital because she was in severe pain. I told him that I had gone away for a ‘girls weekend’ and that I would get back as soon as I could. I called my husband and told him to go to my parents house and to the hospital with them… I could not let them know something has happened because my Mom and my husband were like best friends and I knew it would absolutely break their hearts. I had not stayed at my friends house for 4 years, in the fear that doing so would mean I would not be close to my Mom in case anything happened.

That journey was the longest of my life. I am not a religious person, but i prayed every second of that journey home that I would make it back to my Mom in time.

I did. The hospital sent her home. I arrived home and spoke to my husband. He told me he was going to the ‘gym’ and that we would talk when he got home. I went to my parents house and sat with my Mom for 3 hours. She was the most awake we had seen her in weeks. She knew something was wrong and she knew that I has lost the baby. I can’t explain how she knew, mother’s intuition I suppose. But even in her last few hours, she comforted me and told me everything would work out in the end. She asked for my husband and I tried to call him time after time, but he did not pick up.

At 10:22 am, on Sunday 10th January 2016, my Mom told me how much she loved me and my brother. She said “You two are my entire world and I will love you forever.”           I held her so tightly and told her that we loved her too and to stop being silly. I guess forever could not spare a minuet more.

And in that moment, my life as I knew it was over.

She took her last breath cuddled in my arms with her best friend beside us and then, she was gone.

The next few weeks passed in a blur. I threw myself into arranging her funeral and making sure that everything was perfect for her final goodbye. I stayed with my husband, I just could not break the hearts of my family even more than they were already broken. He had promised the affair was over, but I knew it wasn’t. It was just the wrong time for me to walk away.

But on March 6th, Mother’s day, my first Mother’s Day without my incredible Mom… I woke up and realised enough was enough. I had finally realised that I deserved more and found the courage I needed, to be able to finally walk away from him.

And it was the best decision I have ever made. Admittedly, it was the hardest decision of my life. But if I has stayed, I would have never experienced the real feeling of true love…

© 2017 Belle’s Notepad (Laura Denton)