Connecting with someone romantically, emotionally, and physically can be really amazing. But there’s a lot of work that goes into building a good relationship. No relationship is perfect all the time. But in a healthy relationship, both people feel good about the relationship most of the time. A great relationship takes more than attraction — it takes work, and both of you have to be willing to put in the effort. Here are some tips for building a healthy relationship:
Lying (Occasionally) is Fine
It’s important, to be honest on the whole, but there’s a difference between being honest and hurtful. White lies involve omitting the truth to spare someone’s feelings. For example, if your partner worked hard to make you a nice meal and the food wasn’t so great, you might say the meal was good if asked in order to avoid hurting them. White lies are not okay if something is consistently bothering you. For instance, if every holiday season your partner buys you a gift you don’t like, instead of smiling and saying how much you like it, communicate how you feel.
Dreaming and imagining is great when you do it with your partner about your future together, or do it yourself and then share. But don’t waste any time wishing and hoping for something you’re not willing to say out loud to your partner. Stop waiting for your partner to read your mind and start asking for what you want. This applies in the bedroom, as well as other areas of your life. Once you’re clear on what you hope for, share it!
You Don’t “Need” to Be Best Friends
We’ve practically spoon-fed the message that we should be dating and/or marrying our best friend—but it’s simply not true. It’s perfectly normal to have a best friend that you call often, confide in, and spend time with who is not your partner. Be clear about the boundaries of that friendship so that you’re not disrespecting your relationship, but don’t expect your partner to play the role of BFF either. There are just some things that your partner won’t be interested in hearing about what you can only talk to a close friend about.
Don’t Tell Your Friends and Family EVERYTHING
Parents and close friends are always going to ask about your relationship, and while you might be inclined to dish to them about bedroom issues you’re having or seek their advice on other annoyances, try to keep it general rather than spilling all the dirt. It’s important not to share these personal details of your relationship with others—especially fights or your sex life (a.k.a. the juiciest stuff you really want to talk about). This can cause you to get the wrong advice from those who might be a little biased towards either you or your partner, which can only make things worse. Talk to a therapist or someone impartial instead.
Finances Matter (A LOT)
People who don’t share core values and a shared mindset around money, make for terrible partners. One of the top causes of divorce is a lack of alignment around money. That can mean spending the money, saving them money, sharing the money, and how we emotionally value money. Financial talk can lead to more arguments and disconnection in relationships, which is why it’s one of the most important parts of creating a happy, fulfilled, and sustainable relationship. So talk out any concerns or differences you might have ASAP.