One of the qualities that makes humanity so fascinating is everyone’s ability to connect with their surroundings. Living or non-living, sentient or otherwise, people are social creatures who will connect with anything and anyone out of instinct. After all, having these connections could enrich your quality of life even further. But as enriching as they are, relationships are often difficult to maintain.
So many types of media only shed light on the highs of a relationship. It could be a group of friends going out on their long-awaited trip together, families celebrating the holidays in their cozy homes, or romantic partners still thriving despite staying three years together. Although there’s nothing wrong with that, it can still blindside the majority of society. Because of this concept, they’re bound to set extremely unrealistic expectations on their relationships.
More often than not, these expectations are only one of the many reasons why relationships are challenging, regardless of whether they’re platonic or not. But as much as they drag down relationships, it’s still possible to turn them around. And that can only happen if those involved are willing to improve the status of their current relationship.
Fortunately, there are multiple solutions they can try out, and at least one or two would be right for the job.
- Acknowledge Your Limits
It’s impossible for people who are still getting a feel for each other to avoid making any gaffes early in the relationship. Since they’re still not familiar with their respective likes or dislikes, they’re bound to step into an invisible line that upsets them. Once that happens, the affected parties might close themselves off as a knee-jerk reaction.
But the more time you spend together, the deeper your bond gets. Although it sounds awkward already, it’s best to lay out your weaknesses or triggers around this time. For those uncomfortable with ‘letting down their walls,’ be more observant instead. Take note of what topics they avoid or which cause them to get uncomfortable. This way, you can save them from embarrassment while ensuring they get the treatment they deserve.
Unfortunately, some boundaries are meant to be brought up verbally, especially when it comes to sexual intercourse. Out of all the emotional triggers, anything involved with sexual exploration is a landmine. After all, this is when the parties involved show their most vulnerable selves. Hence, before you dive straight into intercourse, have a conversation about each other’s needs and preferences.
- Learn To Filter
It’s easy to get carried away once you start, and anger is one emotion that comes in bursts; sudden and uncontrollable. Because of this, getting overwhelmed with anger is not an unusual occurrence. However, that doesn’t stop it from hurting your relationships. After all, this emotion pushes you to spew out words you didn’t mean—or worse, ones you’ll regret as soon as you finish saying them. Even though you apologize for it, the hurt you left behind in their heart would still be there.
Take a step back once you feel yourself reaching a limit. Nothing good comes from persevering while you’re on the verge of breaking, whether for your sake or others. Instead of drawing out the argument, give it a pause and walk away from the conflict. Revisit the issue once you have a clear head.
- Know How They Love
Being in a relationship is supposed to be an uplifting experience from start to finish. After all, having someone supporting you from the sidelines – and doing the same for them in return – strengthens the bond you have with one another. Yet people turn to counseling for help because many feel the opposite in their relationships. Admittedly, there are multiple reasons leading up to the problem, but one of the most common causes is unawareness.
Typically, unawareness is the last thing you’d consider ‘problematic’ since any mistakes you make can be chalked up as pure accident. If anything, this can be seen as learning something the hard way, given you alone will bear the consequences of your ignorance. But now you’re in a relationship, it’s safe to say that you’ll feel the weight of your actions now that someone else is involved. And being unaware of how the people you care about express their love can seriously affect your relationships.
Looking at it on the surface isn’t enough to figure out what your love language is. After all, people show how much they care for each other differently. For example, while you regard the pictures they send you throughout the day as nothing more than updates, the sender keeps doing this for the sake of including you in their day. Since you have no idea this is special, you might end up telling them to stop because getting notifications constantly irritates you. Because of unawareness, you caused a rift in your relationship.
‘Love languages’ are named that way to better understand and connect with another person in a way they’re comfortable with. Right from the get-go, it’s safe to say that figuring out each other’s love languages is one way to deepen a relationship, hence, it must be prioritized. This can be identified through observation or by taking a quiz online if you want to take the straightforward approach. Once you learn about your respective love languages, start practicing them to stay in tune with each other’s needs.
- Listen First, Speak Later
People have so many characteristics that make them unique from one another. In most cases, these differences enrich life. After all, having similar lines of thought down to the molecular level gets dull quickly. But in contrast, differences often breed conflict. Even though relationships are built on familiarity, that doesn’t remove disagreements from the picture. Contrary to popular belief, disagreements don’t equal toxicity. However, that can only be true when you know how to fight properly.
Tempers are quick to rise once an argument breaks out, especially if the other person takes on the offensive. Although difficult to swallow, always remember that no progress will be made if you take the bait. Therefore, listen to what the other is saying instead of letting your anger get the best of you. When talking, remember to never raise your voice. Even though they’re goading you on, always stay respectful when replying.
Focusing too much on defending yourself will strain your relationship; maybe even push the other to change how they perceive you from now on. Don’t occupy yourself with a rebuttal. Remind yourself that you’re fighting to reach an understanding, not to win a battle.
- Ask Questions
There’s always a reason why people build relationships with others. In a professional setting, it’s solely for convenience when reaching a shared goal. But for intimate relationships, you likely got drawn to them because some of their qualities were attractive. Once you get to know them even more, you’ll learn that there’s more to them than you previously thought.
Regardless of how long you’ve been together, always express your curiosity as much as possible. After all, that desire to get to know them shows your interest. But this curiosity doesn’t only apply to meaningful conversations. Asking them instead of jumping to conclusions will help you dodge many problems. Give them a chance to say their piece; listen actively before you tell your side. This way, you’ll strengthen your bond and allow them to get to know you as well.
- Have Accountability
Everyone makes mistakes; you’re no exception. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but no one can avoid it. And being in a relationship will put you in many situations where you wronged the person you care about one way or another. Own up to your actions. Even when they’re at fault, don’t pin the blame on them when arguing. Since you’re ‘taking the offensive,’ your argument will only spiral into you ‘attacking’ them as they defend themselves.
Be responsible. Use ‘I’ instead of ‘you’ when making a point. From there, they might snap out of it and realize what they’re doing in the first place. As a result, they’ll be willing to sit down and discuss what you’ve disagreed with much more productively.
- Spend Time Apart
Not a second goes by when spending time with the ones you care about. After all, there’s never a dull moment when surrounded by good company. But be that as it may, circling your entire life around them is not what you’d consider ‘healthy.’ Because not only does relying on someone else for your interests and hobbies lower your quality of life, but it also suffocates the other end of your relationship.
Although you have some similarities with the others, ensure you stay in touch with your life. Have interests that make you happy. Make new friends. Go back to doing your hobbies. Don’t be afraid to live differently instead of staying as a carbon copy of the people in your life.
- Welcome Vulnerability
Many people have ‘scars’ hidden from the world. They’d much rather move forward instead of dwelling on them any longer. After all, staying in the past won’t allow them to live in the present. But for all their efforts to hide them, it’s impossible to pretend they don’t exist. These ‘scars’ will continue to exist since they’re a part of your life.
People who got hurt won’t be keen on letting their guards down. Naturally, this approach puts others at an arm’s distance. But if you want to build relationships – or deepen them even further – learn how to take your wall down, one brick after another. Open yourself up once you’ve reached a comfortable spot with them. Give them a chance to get to know you better. Building a relationship must have trust as a foundation. Sharing your story with them is one step toward developing stronger bonds.
Forming relationships is meant to enrich one’s life. After all, having people you can count on at your lowest could push you to keep going. Nonetheless, maintaining them takes a lot of work and dedication. But all that effort will be worth it in the end since the bonds you have with each other are stronger than before.