Valentine’s time is coming and I just feel it is the best time for you to know that being in a relationship has its perks: you always have a designated cuddle buddy and someone to talk to about the Game of Thrones or King of Boys. But knowing that a relationship is only as stable and healthy as the people in it, you’ve made it your goal to love better this time around good for you.
The thing is, even if you consider yourself a healthy partner there’s always room for improvement! Since 100% of us aren’t perfect and will either be in an unhealthy relationship or do unhealthy things we wanted to share a few life hacks that will help you #LOVEBETTER. We often focus on learning to love once we’ve entered a relationship, but we have a gut feeling that the foundation of a healthy relationship starts with you, and we have a sneaky suspicion that you intuitively know this too.
That said, mastering these simple life skills will absolutely help you love better, so let’s get started!
Love Your Alone Time.
Too often, especially in the beginning of a relationship, couples start to do everything together. Hanging out with your special one is great but maintaining your independence while you’re in a relationship will be super important to your happiness in the long run. That said, enjoying your alone time is key — whether you’re single or happily coupled. Do all of the things you love, whether it is walking the dog, getting work done in a cafe, or watching that movie that you secretly love, it’s important to be totally comfortable by yourself. While I would love to be with my partner every second of every day, I still cherish my time spent alone. It gives me time to clear my head, get work done, and practice self-care.
Pro Tip: Remember those things you did before your partner? Keep doing them. I have a cafe I visit religiously to get my work done. Once in a while, my partner joins me for lunch or a coffee, but it’s still my ritual that I prefer to do alone. Whether it’s driving, trails you like to run, or re-watching that episode of Lost that makes you cry every single time, keep building a relationship with yourself.
Keep Jealousy From Ruining Your Relationships.
After being in an unhealthy relationship where cheating was involved, it can be challenging to not jump to conclusions the next time around. Jealousy, of course, isn’t confined to love, it could be in regards to a coworker that got a promotion over you, it could be to the sibling that gets all the praise, or even directed toward the friend that looks flawless one hundred percent of the time. In more extreme cases, jealousy can lead to possessiveness in a relationship, and that’s unhealthy behavior! There’s no need to compare yourself to other people — keep on doing you and hold your head high.
Pro tip: Practice self-love and positive affirmations! You are awesome and deserve all the good things that come into your life! If your partner’s behavior makes you feel insecure then it may be time to start a conversation about the things that make you uncomfortable.
Finding healthy ways to cope with stress is important in all aspects of life, not just relationship building. Stress management may include a yoga class, a simple walk around the park, or even a quick journal entry at the end of each day — do whatever helps you unwind. Too often we take out our stresses on the people close to us, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Finding healthy ways to cope with stress outside of your relationship only makes unwinding at the end of the day with your S.O. that much better. Bringing stress into the relationship only creates more stress — its a cycle. Having solid stress management skills will help prevent you from snapping at your S.O.
Become Self Aware.
How do your actions affect others? What are some things that you need to work on? Try to do this without being too critical. Outside of a relationship, what kind of person are you? What kind of partner are you when you’re in a relationship? These questions are important to ask before you enter something serious. Knowing yourself inside and out will only help build a better foundation with your partner. It’s not just about getting to know another person — it’s about getting to know yourself too.
Be Unapologetically Yourself.
Do you love binging those awful conspiracy theory documentaries? Own it. You’ve avoided the craft beer trend and are happy with a $2 beer instead? Order it. The idea of going out to party stress you out? Don’t go! Stay in and binge watches those awful documentaries instead. Life is far too short to pretend to be someone you’re not, and you’ll only regret the time wasted trying to pretend you were someone else. Being yourself from the get-go in a relationship will help you avoid wasting your time with the wrong partner. If they aren’t totally into who you are at your core, there’s no point in continuing what you started.
Check Your Baggage.
What are you holding onto? How does it affect your ability to love and be loved? The common saying, “check your baggage at the door” is often easier said than done. Your past traumas, experiences, and relationships absolutely affect your current one. Healing isn’t linear, and even if you know how these experiences affect you, sometimes it’s still difficult to leave them out of your current equation. Maybe you’re still in your healing process, but just being aware of the baggage you carry with you can help a ton in fostering a healthy relationship instead of being oblivious to it.
Improve Your Communication Skills.
Another skill that benefits all aspects of your life. Sometimes relationships are awkward and you have conversations that leave you wanting to teleport anywhere else than that moment. Being able to communicate your wants, needs, and what can be improved are the building blocks of a healthy, lasting relationship. Lack of communication creates rifts of misunderstanding and sometimes puts your wants and needs on the back burner. Being able to articulate clearly what exactly you mean is an admirable trait, and will create a strong foundation for any relationship, not just romantic.
Pro Tip: Before having a difficult or uncomfortable conversation, write down the points you want to make and what you want to say. This helps organize your thoughts and makes sure that you are able to communicate all that you need to.
Relationships are never easy. But, we’ve got you covered. Learn more tips and advice about healthy relationships and take the pledge to #lovebetter.