Six Things You Must Have in Your Relationship

34-great-tips-to-achieve-a-successful-longterm-relationship-400x252I have written many times here {as well as telling my clients} that the basis of any relationship is trust, honesty, respect and the mutual meeting of each other’s needs. I wholeheartedly stand by that as a positive and definite statement. If a relationship doesn’t have these elements, it is generally dead in the water. They are the foundation that good relationships are built on and are essential if the relationship is to last. However, the bad news is that even if you have these very functional concepts in your relationship, there are others that are equally important that can be seen as intertwined with these four pillars. In my experience of dealing with clients, here is a definitive list of six additional elements { there can be more identified} that can turn a good, secure relationship into a solid, secure, very good relationship. Achieve this, continue to work hard on issues and you will reach a level that not many do. I have intentionally not discussed such issues as infidelity, codependency and narcissism in this article.

  1. Daily Communication: A no-brainer? You would be shocked how really comfortable two people can become with each other to the extent that they hardly talk. Routines and roles are set and accepted and communication is at a minimum. We have all seen them in cafes and restaurants staring into space or their smartphone without any regard for the person sitting opposite them. Unfortunately, this spreads mostly into most other aspects of their relationship where discussing the important aspects of their life together is avoided. I have always seen a relationship as the ultimate teamwork project. If you do not foster it, it will rot away. How can you expect to get your needs met or to run your relationship without the essential element of talking about it?  Not doing so can breed resentment…the number one killer of relationships. We are also talking here about discussion. Put the smartphone down, turn off the TV and talk with your partner. There might come a day when you wish you had!
  2. Finance: People find it difficult sometimes to talk about finances with anyone, many people avoid it with a passion. Lack of liquidity hits most people to the core of their existence and can bring extremely serious issues. That is taken for granted but in my experience, the biggest danger to a relationship is when there are completely different attitudes to money on either side and sometimes when the same dysfunctional attitude exists.  This occurs more than one can imagine and can drive a wedge through the relationship. If one is more prudent and money-wise and the other overspends, you can imagine the problem. Equally, if one feels they are the breadwinner and feels the other is not contributing sufficiently, then more issues can arise. Imagine if both are spending all they earn and living from month to month..you get the picture. Uncomfortable as it is, money is an important part of your relationship project. Discussing money related matters and being on the same page where this is concerned is vital.
  3. Conflict resolution: Anyone can be in a relationship when things are running smoothly. However, once you start to live the routine that comes as a relationship moves on, conflict will always happen. I personally do not see conflict as negative. Handle it properly and it can bring the relationship forward. The sad thing is that most couples do not take the time to learn effective skills that than bring about conflict resolution in a positive manner. We are talking here effective communication and listening, being present and non-judgmental. How many of us can really say we do this? Instead we posture, punish and allow our conditioning to take over. We build walls not bridges and we forget that we should be talking more, not less when we have conflict. We are more interested in proving that our side is right and the other is wrong and it eats into our relationship foundation. If you feel this is lacking, learn the skills needed. It can make all the difference.
  4. Life and Sex: A strange subtitle maybe but I believe the two are linked and it is all to do with effort. In our busy lives, we can easily forget that said effort is very much needed to keep the relationship lively. Let’s take sex. After the initial phase of the relationship where sex is generally plentiful, it usually subsides to a level. This level, if not watched can sink to extremely low to non-existent. It is extremely easy to neglect this part of a relationship or to the extreme use it as a punishment tool. Healthy sex usually means a healthy relationship {though we surely all know some couples where this works but nothing else does}. This brings me to my second point. It is also very easy to stay at home, watch tv, do our own thing. However, occasionally having a weekend away, going out, having a meal, even drinking coffee together {without smartphones} can break routines and bring a bit more excitement into the relationship. This might even improve sex.
  5. Negative Preoccupations: You may wonder what this is. As a therapist, I see this very often. Let me explain. Some people are jealous. Everyone has a little jealousy in them but some are to the absolute extreme. Yes, we can talk about the underlying issues but let’s talk instead about how it affects a relationship. Many people when they get into a relationship become preoccupied with their partner’s previous history with other people. They look for answers to questions that are completely irrelevant for the present. Yes, if there is a history of abuse on one side, it might be nice to know but this is something different. This is wanting to know every detail of previous relationships and the things that occurred. It can also breed such activity as checking social media in detail. This in turn breeds assumption and resentment. Remember….your past with a particular person begins on the day you meet them. Before that is none of anyone’s business.
  6. Attitudes: It is extremely important that a couple is on the same page or agreements are found concerning daily life and activities. Who does what in the household, attitudes to smoking, drinking {these can be real deal breakers} and a framework for how both see the relationship is very important. The only way to find this is to communicate. Details of this framework include attitudes to family {how involved is the extended family}, infidelity {some see texting or contacting someone of the opposite outside of family or business as dangerous. I tend to agree}. It should also include family planning and attitudes to children among many others.

Dr. Nicholas Jenner is a counseling psychologist in private practice working with individuals, couples, groups and companies with a speciality in CBT techniques. Apart from seeing clients face-to-face, Dr. Jenner also runs a thriving online therapy business bringing help to those who find taking therapy online as convenient and tailored for their needs. More Details HERE

  4 comments for “Six Things You Must Have in Your Relationship

  1. January 22, 2017 at 9:18 am

    #5 is the reason why I don’t have relationships. I seem to attract people who are extremely jealous only, so that I feel I hardly have any freedom anymore…
    …and I’m not someone that looks for something on the side. 🙂

    Like

    • January 22, 2017 at 9:19 am

      Thanks for the comment. I am sure there are good reasons why you attract the people you do!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • January 22, 2017 at 9:47 am

        Well, I guess so. But I’m past the point of needing a relationship. If I meet someone, fine. Otherwise there are enough things to keep me occupied. 🙂

        Like

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