People On Their Best Relationship Advice
Among the ups, the downs, the way, way ups, and the oh no do we need to break up-downs, it’s no secret that relationships are tough. But the sweet reward of being loved and getting to love someone in return is what inspires all of us to navigate these choppy waters. Sometimes, though, we need help figuring it out. We asked the readers to anonymously share the best relationship advice they’ve ever received. Below, their pearls of wisdom.
1. My mom, who has been with my father for 47 years, once said to me: “I’m not always in love with your father, but I always love him. And I’m always surprised when I fall back in love with him.
I’ve been with my husband for 12 years. Because of my mom’s advice, I don’t panic when we’re going through a tough time; I look forward to falling in love with my husband again. And that moment is usually not sexy, like when one of our kids vomits in the middle of the night and he gets up to help me clean it up and then touches my foot with his foot when we finally climb back into bed. That’s love.
2. That I cannot choose to prioritize the desires, whims, or life choices of a significant other at the expense of losing my sense of self. If I become the best version of who my partner wants me to be (or who I think he wants me to be), I’m camouflaging all those wonderful parts of me that exist with or without that person.
3. When you get married, make sure the person you choose is someone you’d not only want to marry but also to divorce. For me, it highlights the importance of choosing someone who is gentle, caring, and good-hearted not only in the good times but also in bad times.
4. A good friend once told me that you have to fit your own oxygen mask first. I was in a really bad place with depression and anxiety and trying to make a relationship work that was never going to work, fixing all of his issues and neglecting my own. It was the most intense wake-up-call piece of advice I’ve ever received, and I now repeat it like a parrot to anyone asking for advice. You can’t help anyone else until your own oxygen mask is firmly fitted.
One more thing I like to add is that you cant serve anyone well when you're running on half a tank or on empty, your heart and mind need to be overfull and overflowing and then you can give generously but until then, take care of yourself.
5. Relationships are not 50/50. They’re 100/100. You have to give all that you’re capable of giving to your partner (love, understanding, forgiveness, acceptance) and expect that in return.
6. Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want to be loved doesn’t mean they don’t love you. That really opened me up to thinking about new ways of appreciating people and made me less angry. I was always expecting people to act how I wanted them to, but that is impossible 90 per cent of the time.
7. When I got married, everyone told me, Never go to sleep angry! Well, I found the exact opposite to be true. Sometimes, it’s really good to step away from a heated conversation or disagreement and, you know, sleep on it. Wake up fresh, renewed, and maybe with a different perspective.
8. When people show you who they are, believe them. This advice is perfectly captured in a slumber party video of Oprah and Maya Angelou. Everyone needs this in their life.
9. When there’s conflict, turn inward to the relationship rather than outward to others. Not sure where I heard this, but it’s affected my relationships so positively. When something comes up, rather than talking shit about my partner to my friends, I try to talk directly with him to hash it out. It increases intimacy and prevents your friends from permanently thinking poorly of your partner over what was likely a temporary problem. This is advice everyone should take on board.
10. Before starting an argument or getting upset over something small, ask yourself, Do I want to choose intimacy or anger? It may seem like a no-brainer, but checking in with myself that way has helped me recognize when my emotions might be getting the better of me in any given situation with my partner, and reminds me that most things are not worth fighting over. There is usually a better way to communicate or understand where my partner is coming from.
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