Healthy Couples for Dummies
My domestic partner and I have lived together for nearly 9 years. In this time, there are many things I have learned about relationships. My boyfriend is incredibly honest and more so then most men. When we first got together, he said, “You talk a lot. I just want you to know that I only listen to every third word. The important words.” He said, “Most men do.” As time progressed in about our sixth year, the love of my life said, “You know now I listen to about every tenth word.” He wasn’t kidding.
The thing about mature couples is that most of the time they don’t have that spark anymore that they did when they were first falling in love. The long hours spent talking about how you were destined to meet and him brushing your long hair, don’t truly exist anymore. Gone are the cares of such things as hygiene. You spend a great deal of time in your pajamas and you don’t wear makeup and he can go a few days without showering until you remind him on the weekends. Where you used to gaze into each other’s eyes, you now are more like a comedy team, like Abbott and Costello. You are just two partners running around in life trying to make it together. You bicker, but you know it is okay. You also know each other’s limits and just how far to go.
The romance may appear to be gone, but you have in place of that burning passion, a friendship that far outweighs the romance. Besides, that would have been exhausting for this many years to keep up. You know how to order for him at a restaurant you frequent regularly and he knows every sign that you are getting a migraine hours before you do. You both know what side of the bed you are supposed to sleep on and you develop a routine. The other thing is that even when he is sitting there with just his pajamas bottoms and his hair sticking up all over the place, his face is still your favorite face to look at and he just looks cute to you. You still do nice things for each other like you cook his favorite meals and he brings you home something you like from the store. I asked my boyfriend once if he would ever cheat on me or leave me as I got older. He said, “No, for one I am too lazy and for two I am used to you.”
My boyfriend has been my most honest critic and sometimes he is hard on me, because I am being over-emotional, but that is just because he knows I am tough and I am much stronger than that. Through college, he is has been my biggest support system.
Some tips I have learned through the years to have a long lasting relationship after not being too successful with them in the past (we are both turning 50 this summer) I will share with you.
- Don’t mess with each other’s sleep. This creates cranky people. After my boyfriend worked at graveyard shifts for most of our relationship, the greatest gift I could allow him was some peace for some good sleep.
- Always praise him (and he should you) when he is trying to do some new hobby and does a good job. It is good for his self-esteem (and for yours).
- Always try to be considerate. Think about how he will feel if you do something. Always offer him something if you are making something to eat. Always plan ahead when showering so that your schedules don’t conflict. Just think about him and what would make his life easier and both of you happier.
- Always give each other room. Let him do his thing and you do your thing. If you have your own life, you are happier together. If you have your own interests then you don’t get bored or feel trapped.
- Make time for one another. Always do this, it is essential. Make plans to do things together you enjoy doing.
- Remember that he is your best friend, which after this time he should be. Treat him with respect and kindness and consideration just like you would any best friend.
- Don’t play games. If he makes you angry, tell him and tell him why. If he is being a jerk tell him. Apologize if something is your fault or you were a jerk. It is pretty simple really.
- Take some time away from each other, go to a different part of the house or another area and give it a break, if you are grumpy or he is and give each other some space. After this much time, you should be able to tell when your partner is upset about something that may not have to do with you. Let him get it out of his system and relax.
- Do nice things for each other. Never stop doing this.
- Always let him know that you love him and he is special.
- Thank him when he does something nice for you and when you ask him to help you with something, always say please.
- Never go to bed mad and never fight while lying in bed.
- Try to say at least five nice things a day to your significant other.
- Always appreciate that you are lucky enough to have a relationship like this and that this person is in your life. Not all people have what you do.
- An added bonus is being the same age. We know all the same things from the past. We know things we used to do as kids, games, breakfast cereals, music, and movies. It is a great to have experienced the same things. We have a lot to talk about.