What’s the rule you live by in romantic relationships? Why is it important?
Romantic love is often something traditionally considered to exist between two individuals—something we’re told is best to keep private, between just us and a lover.
While there is a definite value in that privacy, if there is anything that I’ve seen when it comes to my own romantic relationships, it is that it takes a village to keep me on track to a healthy version of love—one in which I maintain my individualism while being a part of a healthy unit of two.
It takes family, it takes friends. It takes Elephant readers!
We asked you, “What’s the rule you live by in romantic relationships? Why is it important?” Here’s the advice you all had to offer each other:
Many of you say that self comes first.
“Be unapologetically you, always! Don’t form into someone’s idea of who or what you should be. Be vulnerable. Love big.” ~ Shan C.
“Make yourself happy. It’s not your partner’s job to do so.” ~ Christine S.
“Forget the ticklist of qualities and focus on how they make you feel about yourself” ~ Kay B.
“Focus on your relationship with yourself. When you tend to that first, it will be reflected in your other relationships.” ~ Nikki W.
“I will not be an afterthought. That was extremely hard to say. But, I bet too many people know what I mean.” ~ Peri P.
Others say communication is key.
“Say it. Especially if you’re scared. We can’t have a true relationship if we aren’t willing to be vulnerable with our feelings and our fears. If a person can’t handle my honesty and emotions (and I’m a very honest, deep-feeling gal), then I know that they’re sadly not a match.” ~ Marisa Z.
“Learn and respect the other person’s love language, even if it changes over time.” ~ Morgan B.
“No matter how uncomfortable, communicate. Two people who love each other should be able to talk through anything.” ~ Mariah S.
“Truth at all times, no matter how much it might hurt.” ~ Shawna M.
“Having emotional and mental intimacy is just as important as physical, and should all develop at the same pace.” ~ Kristine H.
“Trust. Apologize. Pray. Communicate. Wild Sex.” ~ Shar & Ray M.
Some of you said it’s about the give and take.
“Always be a man of character, and integrity. At this point in my life, odds are that she’s had men in her life that are less than great examples of responsible and respectful men.
Also, when something is on her mind about her day, and she starts going on and on about it, just listen. Stay out of ‘fix-it’ mode. She just wants to be heard. She’ll be there for me too one day.” ~ James M.
“The best relationship advice I’ve ever gotten, and that I give, is ‘easy does it.’
Too often we get caught up in fear-based needs to control our partner. This pull becomes a destructive compulsion that corrodes the integrity of the relationship. It replaces respect and compassion with anger and resentment. It destroys the quality of our lives and over time, the relationship.” ~ Julia L.
“You can be right, or you can be in a relationship. An apology is not an admission of guilt, but an acknowledgement of someone you love’s feelings, and your effect on those feelings.” ~ Cami K.
“Relationships are like bouncing a ball. The energy you put into it should come back equally. If not, it’s time to find a new ball.” ~ Rick O.
“Be willing to compromise 51 percent.” ~ Christine P.
And don’t forget acceptance…
“Accept the whole person 100 percent. Never make them a home improvement project.” ~ Cecilia K.
“Love, without expectation of duration.” ~ Beverly W.
“Don’t be judgy. Embrace their eccentricities.” ~ Joli B.
…or respect and honesty.
“Treat your partner with total respect at all times. Treat them with the same respect you deserve to receive. This is the foundation that holds up the entire house.” ~ Amy M.
“Respect, honesty, and love or I’m out. Took me a long time to value my own opinion after all the abuses, but I do now, and whoever doesn’t will never have to hear it again. I’ve applied this to literally all relationships since discovering my own self-worth.” ~ Angie P.
“I’m having a hard time explaining this, but if I feel like I want to lie about anything about you or our relationship, this isn’t for me. This is important because I’ve lied to myself and therefore my friends before, and that’s a sign that it’s not right.” ~ Laura M.
“Never do anything when your partner isn’t around that you wouldn’t do in front of them. Because if you can’t be yourself around them, then what’s the f*cking point?” ~ Angela F.
Some of you say close friendship is paramount.
“Be silly. Dance in the kitchen. Make each other laugh, and most of all be in service of each other in small ways. Do things to make each other’s days a little bit easier.” ~ Savannah P.
“Be best friends. This has worked for us since 1981. No one else is more important, no one else comes first.” ~ Daphne R.
“Don’t let anyone in at the same level you do your partner.” ~ Wrenai R.
And some of you need space:
“Keep your own place. That way, you always have to go home, even though you don’t want to. You never quite get enough of each other that way. We stay together on weekends. Long weekends are the best! So, you get those little nuances of shared space.” ~ Amanda W.
“After one year of marriage, we still live separately and have at least three nights apart […] We’re great together, but also great apart because we have trust and love. That trust word is the key to anything working well.” ~ Sharon M.
Like, lots and lots of space.
“I boycotted them three years ago. I am healthier on my own, both mentally and physically. There is a misconception that we need romance to be happy, and that is absolutely untrue. I have my pets, my friends, my job, and my interests, and that works for me.” ~ Lisa Marie C.
A few of you are to-the-point and just plain wise.
“If you have found true love, rules are not necessary.” ~ Tasha J.
“If you’re miserable get out, that’s not love!” ~ Sabrina S.
“If you don’t kiss anymore, it’s over.” ~ Trish C.
But, best of all, some of you are wisecrackers.
“The dog’s safety and happiness is number one above our needs.” ~ Kristin J.
“Don’t get into [a relationship].” ~ Bonnie R.
We are all mirrors for one another in this thing called life. May some of the above advice reflect to you who you are or want to be in your relationship, as well as inform you of who you do not want to be.
May the above be exactly what you needed to hear. May our sweet community be of benefit.
Add your advice in the comments below!