I was recently catching up with a girlfriend of mine and I told her that this year I fell in love. She instantly stopped me and said, “Don’t say that…never fall in love. You know why? Because what happens when you fall? You get hurt. That’s the thing about perspective. Don’t fall in love, act in love. Be in love with that person and show them how much you love them. Love isn’t as scary that way.”
Needless to say, my mind was blown. It got my brain wheels a turnin’ and I thought about what it takes to be in love, act in love and keep that love going. So what does it take to keep our butterflies alive?
Seems like a no-brainer, right? Trust can be tricky, especially when you have been hurt. However, all of us have been hurt, and it’s not a good enough excuse to go into a relationship with the expectation that this person will be the same as the last. You also need to be aware that we are all human and from time to time make mistakes. It’s your choice to continue being with someone when the trust has been broken. You can decide if the offense was great enough to walk away or if it is worth the effort mend it.
With trust comes forgiveness, and full forgiveness at that. A relationship will not be able to flourish if you cannot move past certain issues.
There is a common theme throughout these tips. You either go big or go home. It may take time to rebuild trust and to forgive someone, but when you make that choice you need to go all in. You have to take the risk and let go. You can’t control your partner, you can only control your thoughts, actions and behaviors. You control your ability to fully love and/or fully forgive someone.
Bringing Out the Best
Ask yourself, what does this person bring out in me? Do they make you want to be better? Do they make you smile? Do they bring out the adventurous side to you? The playful side? Do they balance you? Look at all the good your partner brings out in you.
If you find yourself crying more than laughing, evaluate if you are dating a person or a fucking onion. The person you choose to be with should bring out your best. Once again it’s YOUR choice to be with them. If you want a happy, successful relationship, the combination of you two should create more joy than pain. Now realistically you’re going to have conflict…but we will get to that soon.
Chemistry and Intimacy
These are two separate beings. You can have amazing chemistry with someone, but lack emotional intimacy with them, and others you may have everything in common, but no real spark. You can also start with one and have the other build. Not everyone is going to have an immediate chemistry in the bedroom, and you might not immediately connect to the person you have mind blowing sex with. But let’s face it, in an ideal world, wouldn’t it be nice to be in a relationship with your best friend who just so happens to knock your socks off?!
Sex is a huge way of connecting with your partner, and it’s a huge reason why some relationships don’t last. Finding someone that you are sexually compatible with will play a large role in your relationship. My mother once told me that in a relationship if the sex is great it’s 10% but if it’s bad it’s 90%. Mother does know best, and the truth of the matter is that you should be able to be open with your partner about your wants and needs.
Tell your partner what you love about your sex life and if there is anything that you don’t like. Get freaky, have fun. Sex is awesome and it will help longevity.
On the flip side, a relationship can’t just be all about the sex. You need someone that you can be yourself with, be honest with. Share things with this person so they know who you really are and vice versa. Intimacy takes time, patience and vulnerability. Which also goes back to some of the other tips like trust and communication, but remember this is how you “act” in love.
Communication and Conflict
Another article I wrote was on communication, so I’m going to skim over this and really stress the importance of how you and your partner solve conflict. We all have hiccups in a relationship and you and your partner need to find how you can communicate your problems/concerns and work through them. Find your love languages and tell each other what methods are helpful when dealing with stressful situations. Avoid blaming, yelling, name calling, accusations, mind reading and all those other really fun behaviors that nobody likes.
You need to take a time out and think about things before you say them? Tell them that! You feel more comfortable writing them a letter? Tell them and do it! It’s hard to find the right words when you’re upset, avoid being reactive and remember you can’t take words back, so avoid using them as a weapon. Act in love, even when you’re upset.
Show Your Love
After the honeymoon fades a bit, you have to remind your partner why you are still with them. Even if it’s a hug, a kiss, or surprising them with brownies, don’t get lazy with love. This may seem like an odd comparison, but love is like a pet. That pet depends on you to feed it, water it and clean up after it takes a shit. You have to nurture it, not neglect it! Don’t take it for granted, enjoy every moment, and not to sound like a broken record, but ACT in love.
Room To Grow
Do NOT expect another person to make you happy. That’s not their job, that’s YOUR job. Their job is to be a part of your happiness, and share joy, laughter and sorrow with you. Just because you love someone does not mean that you should feed into the “two souls becoming one” bullshit. You are two grown ass adults who should make each other better, happy to support the other, and love spending time together.
However, you shouldn’t make this person your entire life. Alone time is good, it’s great actually! Hanging out with your friends is also great! There was a point in your life when this person wasn’t around, and you had an identity outside of them. Keep that identity, know who you are and what your foundation is as an individual. That foundation is the reason your partner made the choice to be with you, and if they really love you they won’t want you to change and vice versa. Yes, we have to modify and compromise some things but not become a different person. Don’t suffocate your love, give it room to shine and space to grow.
Love is a strange, scary thing and it can make people weird as shit. It takes patience and work, but it’s worth it. I read something the other day that put a smile on my face and I hope it does yours as well: “Maybe a relationship is just two idiots who don’t know a damn thing except the fact that they’re willing to figure it out together.”
Basically they’re just acting in love.