- Family and Parenting
How to mend a broken relationship.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to relationships, each one is unique but there are a few tips that might help keep your relationship healthy.
Top tips for a healthy relationship.
Secrets have no place in a close relationship. Never try to keep a secret from someone you are close to, it will never end well. Secret birthday parties are an exception, as is that secret bar of chocolate you allow yourself at the end of a long, hard day. A secret glass of wine is also acceptable, but a whole bottle or two isn't.
Unless you are the worlds most honest person you will always tell the odd little fib or white lie. No, your bum doesn't look big in that - is acceptable as the truth might really hurt the other person, but - I was working late at the office and didn't go anywhere near a strip club is a lie too far.
All good relationships need mutual trust, trust is like hair, once its gone, its gone! To maintain trust you need to get 1) and 2) right.
For any relationship to work well you need to be flexible and open to understanding the other persons point of view and needs. You have to be able to compromise. This does not mean eating a huge pile of brussels sprouts just because your partner loves them! Love might make you blind but it doesn't destroy your taste buds.
5.)Talk and listen.
Set aside a little time each day to really talk to each other, maybe over dinner. And don't forget that talking also involves listening to what the other person is saying, it sounds obvious but time and time again people part because they say that their partner never listened to them.
Make time for yourself. We all need our own space at times. Hanging on to your individuality can be hard when you are in a relationship, don't lose yourself when you become a couple. Learn how to keep your space and how to give it. Sometimes all a relationship needs to keep it fresh is the odd night out with the girls, or the boys.
Even the very best of relationships will involve conflict at some time, learning how to resolve conflict is as important as trying to avoid arguments in the first place. Never let a row fester over time, it will only get worse. Set some rules together about just what is and more importantly, what isn't, acceptable in a fight. I hope it goes without saying that getting physical is never the right thing to do. Learn how to let things go and how not to bear a grudge.
Money, or the lack of it, can cause real trouble in a relationship, try to set out some ground rules before things get out of hand. Make any large spending decisions together, decide if you are going to have a joint account or keep your finances separate etc. If money worries get you down nominate a safe place, maybe the bedroom, where neither of you can talk about money, it really does help to know that you have somewhere to go in the home where you can get some peace.
We all change over time and so do our relationships. You need to learn how to adapt to change, how to take a mental step back when your partner starts telling you the same story for the third time that day. Old age never comes alone!
Learn how to have fun together. Laughter really is the best medicine, being able to laugh in the face of adversity is a trait worth cultivating.
A good relationship? My personal experience.
Relationships are often hard work, the people we are closest to, the ones we love the most, have the ability to hurt us more than anyone.
If someone had asked me a week ago if I had a good relationship with my two daughters I wouldn't have hesitated to answer yes. I was sure that even though my eldest daughter lives away from home now, we had no secrets from each other. I was convinced that any interesting news she had to tell me was just a phone call away.
If asked, I would have proudly told people that we were still really close. We talk on the phone all the time, she visits weekly, we watch silly tv shows together, laugh at the same things and share many of the same interests.
If anything interesting happens in my life she is one of the first to know. I was secure in the knowledge that my girls could, and do, tell me anything. In fact, that was my proud boast to other parents whenever they mentioned finding out by accident that, for instance, their son smoked or their sixteen year old daughter was dating for the first time. I was sure that I would never be surprised in such a way. I knew my children too well for that. I’m pretty sure that when I said these things to those other parents I had a smug look on my face. I don’t feel all that smug now, in fact, I’m feeling pretty hurt right now.
I guess most relationships have ups and downs that's just a natural part of life and we just have to learn to live with that fact.
The last to know.
Two nights ago my youngest daughter strolled into the kitchen, where I was busy preparing dinner, and informed me that my eldest girl was dating a man she works with. She had apparently asked her little sister to tell me at an ‘appropriate time’ but youngest had given up on that and just decided to blurt it out. Apparently, they have been going out together for months.
The fact that my eldest felt she couldn’t tell me herself was pretty darn surprising and upsetting, the fact that my youngest had known for a while but had neglected to pass on the news was hurtful too. I really couldn’t understand it at all.
I asked my eldest daughter why she was keeping her relationship a secret, but it turns out she wasn’t. The only people not in on the ‘secret’ were her parents. Adding insult to injury is the knowledge that far from being the first people she told we was just about the last. Her friends knew, her sister, her grandparents. She even told her grandmother’s friend about her new relationship. My husband is pretty upset about the whole thing too. He can’t understand it either.
An end to smugness.
I know it may seem silly and stupid but I feel betrayed. I’m actually quite surprised by just how upset I am, I hardly slept last night. I just can’t work out why she wouldn’t tell her parents about such a nice thing. I’m pleased for her and having seen a picture of her young man he looks really nice.
All sorts of things have been going through my mind. Maybe she’s ashamed of me, of us. Does she think that we will embarrass her in front of her young man if we ever meet him? Are we not good enough? Rich enough? Young enough? Today I feel every one of my fifty two years, look every one of those years too, lack of sleep always does that to me. I want to ring her up and talk to her but I am afraid of what I might say. I think I’ll leave it a few days before I broach the subject. Or, maybe, I’ll take a leaf out of her book and just not mention it at all.
I guess it’s true that relationships are always complicated, and that pride goes before a fall. I think that my smug days are well and truly over.
Just a little update. Here I am two years later and most of the above seems pretty silly now, I love my daughter's partner he is just right for her and they are very happy together. My daughter and I are closer than ever. I still don't know why she didn't feel able to tell us about her new boyfriend herself, it doesn't seem important enough to ask about it now, it really was a storm in a teacup.