Relationships: enjoying yours whilst avoiding the pitfalls

Finding our “true love” and making a life with that person takes up an extraordinary amount of our time and energy. Here are 12 ideas to avoid making the most common mistakes:

  1. Most relationships end. So stop worrying and enjoy it here and now. You will at least take away great memories. If you waste your time worrying, you won’t even have those!
  2. Do not try to fix anyone… It is not in your power to do so. It will drive you and everyone else crazy. The question is this: Can you accept and be with that person just as they are right now?
  3. To be in a relationship is to be vulnerable. It is the bitter sweet truth. Accept it rather than trying to control everything
  4. You cannot be truly happy with someone you think you need. Recognise and accept that it is choice. You can love someone you choose. You will want to control someone you think you need.
  5. A person cannot make you complete; that is your job.
  6. To love is a verb; it is something you do. Being and falling in love is an evolved biological process to make sure we indulge in the messy business of procreating.  We experience it as a sort of very pleasurable, even divine madness.  To love is something you choose and require commitment, work and your attention. 
  7. Learn to listen: Most conversations involve a lot of talking and very little listening. We want simply to be right rather than understand.  To really listen means that our only objective is to fully understand the other person’s point of view. To really listen is an act of love.
  8. Learn to take care of yourself: Love, but don’t lose yourself in love. You have needs which should be recognised and respected. The best way to do this is to know and accept yourself “warts and all”. Remember, “You could search the whole planet and not find anyone who deserves your love and compassion more than you do”.
  9. It is not the duration of a relationship which makes it successful but rather the quality. There are many people who put up with a crappy relationship for years. They have decided to settle for “comfortable” rather than try for happy.
  10. Love is a paradox; the more you give the more you have.
  11. Really see your partner. The more time we spend with a person the less we see them.  Instead we see and respond to our ideas about that person. So take the time to really see your partner. You may be surprised at the results.
  12. Finally, whatever happens in your relationship learn from it!
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