Brief Guide to Relationships
Bish guide to relationships: friends with benefits, how to argue, trust, the romance thing, limits, fairness, independence and break ups.
I think relationships are something we learn ourselves by doing – those of us who do the relationship thing are always learning and working things out. It’s ok to make mistakes in relationships but it’s a good idea to learn from our previous relationships to see what we can do better next time.
Lots of people worry about the word ‘relationship.’ It sounds quite heavy and serious, but hook ups, FWBs, seeing each other, dating, going out, boy/girlfriend, engaged, partnered, married are all relationships, just different types. You still need to respect and trust each other whether you are in love or in lust or whatever.
Limits: set them and respect them
Pressuring or forcing your partner to go beyond their sexual limits is VERY BAD. As is pressuring or forcing someone into being a parent, or get married, or to say they love you. If someone is pressuring you into going beyond your limits then you maybe should think about whether it’s the right relationship at the right time: no matter how good the best times might feel.
Treat ’em mean, they should dump you
You’ve heard the expression, ‘treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen’? WRONG! Dating and relationships aren’t a battle, or a ‘game’. Be like a really good mate. Encourage rather than make them feel small. Be generous with your time and resources. Support them. Work together as a team. You should expect to feel this in return too.
Argue but do it right
Having an argument doesn’t mean that a relationship isn’t meant to be, it’s an important part of making them work.
So good arguing isn’t about winning and losing, it’s about communicating what’s wrong and what’s upsetting you and listening to what your partner is saying to you. This is easier said than done.
Try to stay calm so you can talk clear and listen hard. Try spending 5 minutes listening to your partner, giving them enough time and space to clarify what it is that is annoying them, then summarise what they just said to prove you were listening. Then change around so the other gets their say. That way stuff gets sorted.
Doing the romance thing
Doing nice things for each other is, well, nice. Dates can be fun, romantic, sexy, close. You don’t need loads of cash to do lovely romantic things. Long walks, picnics in the park, random museum trips, make mixtapes and cards, candle-lit fried chicken dinners. If one person really wants all this and the other just wants to shag, it might be a sign you aren’t on the same page.
Remember there’s a ‘U’ in couple
Make sure you still spend time with your mates doing your own thing. I think all relationships need a bit of distance for them to work. It’s often a sign of a bad relationship if your partner isn’t happy about this. It’s important to stick to your own game plan about what you have planned for your future too. This is because a) relationships often end and b) it makes your relationship stronger if you grow as individuals too.
Treat ’em mean, they should dump you
Everyone has their own ideas about what’s acceptable in a relationship, but I think it’s important to be fair to each other. It’s a good idea to talk about this so that you both know what to expect from each other. For instance, is it ok to see other people? If so, is there a limit on this? Is this fair for both people? (Like, if it’s ok for one person to have other sex or romantic relationships can the other?)
Also make your own rules together about how decisions are made in the relationship that affect you. Eg “Why did you say we were going out on Saturday without asking me first?”
Trust is MASSIVE
Lots of people think that trust is the most important element of a good relationship, but what does trust mean?
For some people this means 100% honesty but other people think other things are more important, like: can you trust that they aren’t going to hurt you? Can you trust that they would do the right thing about safer sex? Are you their main squeeze? Do you believe what they say?
How do you do know when you can trust someone?
Break ups can suck
[spoiler] All relationships end, either through someone dying or a break up. [/spolier] Sorry.
However a relationship ends it’s important to remember that they can suck for both of you. I think that it’s good to be as good and nice as you can about a break-up. For more about this visit my post about heartbreak here If you are sure that the relationship has to end: be clear, be honest and avoid giving mixed messages: for instance, don’t say you want to be friends if you don’t. You had some good times right?
But if your partner was dangerous, nasty, controlling, deliberately made you feel like total shit or was generally awful: be as bad and as loud as you like and just get out.
Here’s an amazing blog from someone’s diary when they were 15 about an abusive controlling relationship and how it happens. Read it, it will blow you away (click here) and follow her current website here
© Justin Hancock 2015