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Although I am no expert, I would like to think through experience I know a thing or two about being in love and being in a relationship. My current relationship has been one of my most nurturing and loving and has lead me to some realizations about what a “good” relationship should involve. I don’t believe in constant compromising or that a relationship should involve a lot of work to maintain. It should be natural. It should naturally grow and flourish with gentle assistance. It should be built on a foundation that is honest and committed. It should develop over time and with out being rushed. We are now approaching our 1 year anniversary and here is what our relationship has taught me not only about myself but about being in love:

1. The relationship is between you and your significant other. No one else should be privy to your intimate details. The more people involved the easier it is to be confused about where your opinion ends and the opinion of another begins.

2. Your mutual happiness is most important. It’s not about keeping the other happy, or keeping yourself happy. Be happy together. Find ways to do things together that keep you happy. Watch a show together that you both enjoy, go on dates to places you both enjoy. If you can’t find mutual happiness in everything you will never be mutually happy with each other.

3. Remember when you fell in love with the other person. Remembering such a special moment, in detail, can be an overwhelming feeling. I find it to be a sort of romantic meditation. Remembering what you were wearing, how they looked at you, and where you were can often subside any uncertainty.

4. Remain an individual. Don’t transform into one person, maintain your individuality. This allows you both to be at your best and support diverse interests. You like shopping and he doesn’t, that’s fine. Don’t make someone else change who they are to fit you and you should expect the same in return.

5. Pick your battles and don’t sweat the small stuff. Fighting over nothing is the worst thing you can do not only for yourself but for your relationship. Don’t fight over stuff that in 5 hours or even 24 hours won’t matter. Who cares if your dinner date got cancelled or if your hang out plans changed. There’s always tomorrow and time will bring other opportunities.

6. You are your own worst enemy. No, you’re not as fat as you think. Yeah, you do look sexy in that outfit. Yes you are thinking too much. The person you’re with is with you because they think you are something spectacular. You are a unique combination of traits that, to them, is captivating. Don’t you think that is a remarkable concept? They appreciate everything you are, as you should them.

7. Appreciate everything small. Oatmeal cookies. Spending an extra 15 minutes in bed in the morning. The perfect cup of coffee. When you start to love all the small things they add up to something much greater. Appreciate your partners laugh, the scars on their body that tell stories, and the way they love you.

8. Put away your phone. Yes, I spend much more time on my phone than I should (to be fair it’s part of my job); however, it keeps you from being present. Don’t instagram the city line at night, drink it in. Don’t tweet your dinner, savour it. The worst thing I have recently seen is couples on dates holding hands over the table but both scanning Facebook and not speaking to each other. How can you deeply connect with someone when you can’t peel your eyes away from a screen?

9. Remember to be thankful and grateful. Thank your partner or show thanks for generous and caring act, it spreads appreciation which is an important component to being happy in a relationship. Also, thank yourself. You deserve it. You work hard and you need to be appreciated.

10. Love generously. Showing love costs you nothing and doing loving acts costs you nothing. Be thoughtful and don’t be greedy. Do things without the expectation of anything in return. Do it because you care about the person and because the smile on their face is all you want. Wash the dishes. Make the bed. Cook their favourite food. More often than not, your partner will catch on and return the favour.

Everything in life should be counted as a learning experience, both the good and the bad. All experiences are what you make it so why not make it great.

Til’ next time,
le grá go deo

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