As somebody who has been single for most years of my life, I often found myself wondering how it feels to be in a committed long-term relationship.
Since I was in college I have seen couples getting together and breaking up, then university, then office hookups, etc. People were “trying each other on” like new dresses and collecting experiences. Many, if not most, of the couples I saw during my twenties were in such miserable relationships, that at the end of the day I was grateful to be alone and to have the energy, drive and desire to grow personally, professionally and spiritually.
Because I strongly believe that we have to take care of ourselves first in order to let somebody into our lives, who will look into the same direction. And then together we can co-create a beautiful life day by day. After years of observing other couples, dating “wrong” men and overcoming my many times deeply broken heart, I know for sure that there are basics two people should practice in any relationship.
#1 Respecting each other – We all are different people with different minds, hobbies, thoughts, views, tastes. We are so multifaceted and we change moment by moment. Respecting each other as human beings, as professionals and partners is crucial for a good working relationship. Respecting every step and being there witnessing each other’s life-journey without any judgment.
#2 Trusting in each other – We all make tons of mistakes, we have horrible days, we get sick, we fail, we fight, we say awful things to each other, we hold grudges, we can’t get past traumas, sometimes we don’t feel sexy or smart, we feel like losers. During those times we all need somebody to remind us on our greatness and just to be there for us. We need our lover, our partner to trust in us. Somebody who sincerely loves us and sees our inner and outer beauty no matter what. In a healthy relationship two people will want that the other person is feeling good about her/himself. And to know that our partner always trusts in our development and choices will make the relationships strong and comfortable.
#3 Giving personal space – In a strong relationship two people will give each other space to be themselves, to grow in a direction they choose and help each other become even more of who they authentically, essentially are. Changing another person will lead nowhere. It’s either learning to love unconditionally or going through hell of not being accepted all over again.
#4 Taking care of yourself first – One of my favorite books called Mastery of Love talks about it precisely. It’s NOT our responsibility to make our partner happy and it’s NOT our partner’s duty to make us happy. It is our responsibility to make ourselves happy and fill our own cup and from that cup we can share love with our partner. If we are not satisfied with who we are, if we lack self-confidence, if we can’t overcome traumas from childhood and past relationships, we will always project our misery onto other people.
#5 Making the relationship a priority – Today I believe that big love is more a choice than a sudden feeling. It’s two humans deciding to make life together. No material thing, no house, no car, no job makes us rise or fall as much as our relationships (be it romantic, family, friends, etc.) We feel alive when we can share, when we can experience little, magical things together. We feel alive when we can laugh, cry, chat and be silent together. A relationship should always be the priority.
#6 No expectations – Every relationship is a whole life and a process. I try to learn not to have expectations from others and it’s a very hard lesson to learn. We expect each other to be a certain way and then we are disappointed because our expectations were not met. Embracing and adapting instead of expecting. Embracing every perfect imperfection and falling in love with the wholeness, uniqueness and genuineness of the relationship between two people.
#7 Expressing feelings and communicating – Other people can’t read our minds so we better learn to speak out loud what we feel, mean and think. Clear communication, also if it’s often very difficult, vulnerable, or even ugly, is a non plus ultra of a healthy, strong relationship. Our partner is not left in the dark and can decide how to proceed without making wrong assumptions. It’s as simple as this. Have something on your mind? Say it.
#8 Being attractive for each other – Take care of the mind, body and spirit for ourselves. Even if this one is a hard truth, we want a partner who is attractive to us. But doing something for somebody is not a correct intention. When we are fit, healthy and keep on growing we feel confident, sexy and vibrant and our partner will always feel it. So never stop growing, evolving, rediscovering ourselves.
There is no formula for a perfect relationship. We all are different and I strongly believe that our partner is our best mirror. Our partner will absorb our inferiority complexes and reflect them back to us as much as our love, confidence and flourishing souls. We can learn from each other about ourselves every moment. We can learn to be together, patiently, with love, kindness and a desire to make it work.
A relationship is always hard work. Work on ourselves, on our inner demons, on our stigmas which we learned in the past, on co-existing as two in this difficult but still miraculous world. I believe that love comes with experience and time and it get stronger the more intimacy there is between two people. How beautiful it is when two people build up mental and sexual intimacy, helping each other heal and reaching their highest potential.
Together we are so much more than alone. Those who are in a long term relationship know how difficult it is to sometimes, but we all should set an intention to express love in its infinity.
And for those of us who are single … well we are not alone. When we trust in love it will find us. It will find us and be exactly in the right place and at the right time. And it will make up for all the lonely years of hard work and self-development. And then, we finally can open up and let somebody see our soul. We can discover and explore life together and go hand in hand calling each other a Family.