How To Pace Your Relationship For the Long Haul

Kavita Hatten
December 31, 2017

If you’ve ever been in a relationship, you know how challenging it can be.

Given that partners bring their different personalities, needs and histories to the relationship, it is inevitable that you will not agree on everything.

It is very common for couples to argue over the same issues and get into a pattern about “how they fight.” This repetitive cycle can lead partners to feeling frustrated, overwhelmed and often helpless. How a couple handles issues can determine if a relationship can survive the long haul.

If you are in a long-term relationship or planning on entering one, there are ways to prepare yourself for success.

When keeping these tips in mind, you can enjoy the moments, be happier and deal with the obstacles that come your way.

1. Have realistic expectations

Just like in life, there are no guarantees in relationships. Some relationships work out and others don’t. Some relationships last for months or even years, and lead to living together or marriage. Other relationships end after a few short weeks. When you look at relationships realistically, you can cope better with what happens next.

2. Get clear on your needs

The better you understand your needs, the better off you will be in your relationship. If you’ve ever felt that a relationship isn’t meeting your needs, sometimes it has to do with whether you’re meeting your own needs.

Simply put, a relationship will not meet all your needs.

An easy exercise is to write down your needs in one column and your relationship needs in another. Keep it in a place that you can reflect on it from time to time.

3. Communicate your needs

If you expect your partner to know what you need, you’re expecting him or her to be a “mind reader.” If you feel strongly about something, speak up and empower yourself.

Be open about what you need and prevent any undue stress and worry.

Do not let pent up emotions lead to resentment. Sometimes, telling your partner how you feel and what you need is the best way to get your needs met.

4. Let go of expectations

When it comes to relationships, people have a lot of expectations of how it “should be.” Too many expectations can lead to continually disappointment. Recognize when you’re feeling disappointed and see if it’s tied to having an expectation.

5. Be patient

If you’re becoming impatient because things aren’t going your way or the way you had planned, take a step back. Recognize that things happen when you least expect it. Forcing something doesn’t make it happen any faster.

6. Support your partner

When individuals are free to be themselves and pursue their separate interests and goals, they are happier and more fulfilled. When you can support your partner, you will reap the benefits of a having a more authentic relationship. Couples that can be themselves tend to be happier couples.

7. Learn to compromise

You may want things to go your way, but when a relationship is one-sided it tips the natural flow of the relationship. A lop-sided relationship is not healthy and “unequal power” between partners has long-term consequences. Put yourself in your partner’s shoes and see how he or she feels. Respect your partner’s needs and try to come to the middle of an issue.

8. Be present

When you are present with yourself, it will help you be present in your relationship. Take 5-10 minutes daily and check-in with yourself. Ask yourself: “How do I feel?” and “What do I need?” Meeting your needs can be having a meal, taking a bath, getting

exercise or needing more rest. A simple exercise like this will help you center yourself and reduce stress. Centering yourself several times daily can allow you to be more present for your partner.

9. Avoid trying to “fix” problems

If you find yourself focusing on what you can’t control (your partner’s behavior, attitude or decisions), switch your focus. Begin to focus on what you can control, which is your behavior and how you communicate your feelings and needs.

Start with “being aware” of the problem and your feelings associated with it.

A simple exercise is to just notice your feelings associated with the problem. Accept the feeling just as it is, acknowledge the feeling and allow it to pass. When you can begin to see the problem as it is, you can then begin to let go and not be compelled to fix it.

10. Enjoy the moment

The simplest way to be happy is to enjoy the moment. Focus on what you appreciate about yourself, your partner and your relationship.

When you keep these tips in mind, you can enjoy your relationship more. You can be grateful that you have an authentic and open relationship, and free yourself from any unnecessary stress and conflict.

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