First of all – there is no such thing as the perfect partner. No one is ever without faults and everyone will make mistakes. Even the nicest of people will hurt you from time-to-time and not necessarily intentionally either. The fact is life isn’t a fairy-tale and love doesn’t always go the way it does in films.
You don’t always get to choose who you fall for, but more importantly what we can choose is how we behave and how we allow ourselves to be treated. It is not easy to stand up to someone you really care for and say they are behaving badly – especially with the worry of losing them in the back of your mind – but it is an important lesson to learn.
The first step is to think about what we want from a relationship and how we deserve to be treated – and then try as hard as we can to treat others in this way. What you give out – you tend to receive in return.
You will need to do this for yourself as what you want from a relationship might be slightly different – but here are a few things to think about….
Respect – it is the cornerstone of how we should behave. Respect is all about giving each other credit for who we are and what we think and believe. We don’t always have to agree, but that does not mean that we shouldn’t listen. Respect is about treating each other how we should be treated.
Trust can be given freely but once lost it is very hard to earn back. You are asking someone to risk their feelings on you.
Can you be honest and open about how you feel? This follows on from trust. It takes a lot of courage to let someone in and see you for who you are.
Really important and often forgotten is fun. You’ve got to be able to have a laugh and a giggle together. If you’re not enjoying your time together then what is the point?
Are you able to be yourself – quite often we feel like we have to put on an act to try to impress the people around us. You should be able to relax and be liked just for being yourself they should let you be you, no acts, no masks – And they should make you feel good about yourself. Remember you are ace!
However, having someone who will just suck up to you is no good – they should challenge you. They should make you think and work hard and not get away with behaving like a muppet
Are you both supportive? Are you there when needed to pick each other up and encourage each other to be all that you can be?
Can you admit it when you are wrong? No one is right all the time, we all get things wrong now and again, but are you big enough to stand up and admit that you’ve made a mistake?
So conversely if you want to be able to make mistakes can you be forgiving enough to allow your partner to do the same? Do you have the patience to stick with things and give your partner the chance to get their head together or take the time they may need when they are down or confused?
It is lovely to be together, but you also need the freedom to be your own person and have space and time for yourself. To be allowed to make your own choices and decisions as an individual. It is important to have a life outside of each other where you’ve time for the other people who are important to you.
And finally, and most importantly: listen. Really listen. Don’t just wait for your turn to speak. It is amazing what you learn when you bother to listen – plus there is no better way to make someone feel special than listening to what they have to say.
Here ends our list – what’s yours like?
© Going off the Rails 2014. Adapted from ‘Playing Downstairs’ by Jonny Hunt