“The greatest relationships are the ones you never expected to be in.” – Unknown
[Pic image: Two brown-skin people in shallow water underneath a waterfall in their bathing suits]
As long as I’ve been studying sex, relationships, and sexuality (which is about 18 years now), there was something that was ingrained in my head over and over again:
“Relationships are work.”
And throughout my life, I really found this to be the case. Every relationship that I had always took an extraordinary amount of “work” on my part and my previous partners also had to “work,” just to try to make the relationship work. It was exhausting. There was always resentment. There was always a lack of commitment somewhere. And although I had quite a few long-term relationships, I didn’t feel confident in any of them because there was always something that was wrong.
After going to a therapist to figure out what the hell was going on with me, I was able to define what I wanted in a partner. I was able to name 13 things that were non-negotiables (all positively put) and come up with 10 solid values that had to be the same if I was going to be in a partnership that I would find fulfilling. I taped up this piece of paper with my non-negotiables and my values and whenever I dated someone, I simply compared them to the list. Leaving this to my logical mind, instead of my sexual and emotional minds, I knew that this would be the best person for me.
Lo and behold, I stuck to my guns and ended up finding the perfect person for me. Being 38 and dating since the age of 16, all my relationships took work – all because I didn’t know exactly what I wanted from a person. I wanted my partners to express their quirks and since I’m pretty good at adapting, I figured that it would be pretty easy for me to connect and get along with them. I was wrong.
My perfect person almost landed in my lap. We got along fantastically, and it was actually pretty shocking that everything has been pretty smooth. We’ve definitely had hard conversations, but everything has ended well. We communicate easily and often. The biggest lesson I learned is that relationships should be relatively easy. If you find yourself arguing over small things, being angry all the time, not communicating with your partner, not bonding (no sex, no quality time, no affection), you are not doing your job of loving your partner. Remember, love is action.
Here are a few things that makes loving easier:
1) As Dr. Laura says, “would you rather be right or would you rather be happy?” Sometimes, it just isn’t worth the effort to want to be right all the time. If I know I’m right, but my partner thinks she’s right, I’ll say my point (give logic, facts, or examples), and if she’s still resistant, I let it be. It’s not going to affect my day negatively in any way, so I simply LET IT GO. Eventually, she’ll see I’m right. 😊
2) Give your partner what they want. Is it support? Is it gifts? Is it time alone? Is it sex? There shouldn’t be any reason why you can’t give them what they want, unless it’s causing you pain or harm. If it’s causing you pain or harm, you really need to address this with your partner to negotiate around what they want from you. Remember, you shouldn’t have to change your personality just to satisfy your partner.
3) Make sure that your relationship is mutually beneficial. What that means, is that yes, you should do things for your partner, but you should also be receiving things, as well. A relationship that’s one-sided is draining and only builds resentment. Just like you are giving your partner what they want, make sure that you express the things you want from them. Remember, they can’t read your mind, so the best way to get what you want is to be direct.
I’m happy that I learned that lesson in 2018 and I was able to finally understand that relationships should be relatively easy if you are loving them the right way.
Here’s to easy relationships in 2019! Happy New Year!
Cheers to your sexual success!