What matters most in a long-term relationship?
When we talk about relationships – good or bad – we all learn about ourselves; the conversations bring us closer together and connect us. Since Valentine's Day was this past weekend, I was inspired to write a post about relationships.
Many of my friends have gotten engaged and/or married over the past year (Congrats to all the awesome couples) and the question of “what matters most in a long-term relationship?” has been asked many times. When my friends and I get together – usually the main topic of conversation centres around relationships. Just ask my former rowing crew what we would talk about to and from the boathouse every morning!
Relationships, either bettering the one with yourself or with someone else, are my favourite things to talk about. Not in a gossipy fashion, but in a meaningful way that really helps you become a better version of yourself.
Many of the conversations I have with friends are about why a person acted a certain way or analyzing their behaviour. For example, a popular question asked by a few of us on the drives to and from the boathouse was, “Do you think he likes me?” We were trying to understand the beginning stages of relationships.
Thinking back, ever since I was a young teen, when my friends and I got together we always discussed relationships. Then, I focused most on looks. I seriously wanted to marry Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys because of how attractive he was and he seemed like a really nice guy. I picked potential partners based on physical traits, not at all on how we interacted.
Since then through growing up and experience, I realized that finding someone attractive and falling in love is easy, but staying in love and building healthy long-term relationships requires hard work, trust, respect, and commitment. Relationships are all about the interaction between two people; communication – both verbal and non-verbal – is key to making it last.
I have learned a lot about what I need and deserve. Now, what is most attractive to me from the start is honest, authentic communication, with a dollop of humour :). Thinking back, a memorable and delightful dinner makes me smile. I remember sitting down beside him and almost immediately feeling at ease - like I was sitting down beside someone I had known for years and about to have dinner with an old friend. He made me feel so comfortable and was so easy to talk to. I knew there was something between us, as I could totally be myself with him.
“What do you mean by honest, authentic communication?” you ask.
Well years ago, I thought good communication skills in any relationship meant that you should look for someone you have things in common with. That way you have a ton of stuff to talk about.
That’s not what I mean now, though. Now, I know that authentic communication goes way deeper. It means actually being present, being yourself, trusting the person, showing up, going deep, talking about things that matter and acting on them. Love is not a game. It’s a choice you both make to connect with each other on a meaningful level. It lets you know where you stand – in the other’s heart and head.
Being authentic and vulnerable is key, especially at the beginning, because it provides a firm foundation for the relationship. You want someone you can be yourself with. Clear communication – both verbal and non-verbal – is key to making it last!
Through observing others’ relationships, as well as through my own, I need my partner to be someone I can be my real self with, through the highs and the lows. Someone with whom I can sit in my oversized hoody and pj’s and just veg out. I know how I deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. Grateful for my amazing friends who tell me when I am not being treated that way even when it’s hard to hear.
Relationships are the most meaningful element in our lives. Authentic, honest communication connects you and makes you feel worthy in the relationship. That is a great foundation for a healthy relationship.
Now it’s your turn: dig deep, and see what is essential for your relationships!
Thank you for reading and for your presence at this beach retreat. You Rock!I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the Comments section below.
See you at the beach!