Now trust me I am no love expert but I have had a few long-term relationships now and a couple more short-term ones and I feel like along the way you pick up on the sorts of things that make a relationship work. I’m not saying if you have these then you should run off and get married straight away, but these are the five fundamental things I’ve personally found led to a long and happy relationship.
FRIENDSHIP AND PHYSICAL ATTRACTION
This might seem like an odd place to start for a blog post about relationships, but I am a firm believer that in order to have a happy relationship, you have to have a basis of a solid friendship. This doesn’t mean you have to have been friends for 5 years before dating, but it does mean you have to see your partner as a best friend and someone you could sit up all night chatting to, not just someone whose clothes you want to immediately rip off. I’d describe a good relationship like a treacle sponge (hear me out). The friendship you have built with one another is the sponge, a key part of the desert and yes, it might be great on its own, but then you add the treacle. The treacle is the physical attraction to the other person, the perfect topping to an already great sponge. Both elements are great in their own right but put them together and you have the perfect combination. So there you go, I’m not craving treacle sponge and you now understand the weird way my brain makes sense of things.
Trust is a big one, however, I had missed it out of this list when I first wrote down my entail thoughts. In my option trust is pretty black and white and I’ve never really given it much thought. You either trust he’s not going to get with someone if he’s drunk in a nightclub with his friends and you’re at home… or you don’t. Simple. However, it’s the building of trust that can be the hard part. I think in the first few months of a relationship is when you are discovering how much you trust one another, I think it’s crucial that at this time you’re open with each other about any worries you may have or insecurities that may lead you to struggle to trust people. Everyone has a past, and I find more and more as I get older, I’ve been through different things that all lead me to be the sort of girlfriend I am now. Whether you’ve been cheated on, or you’ve been dumped out of the blue, you’re bound to be carrying things from a previous relationship into your new ones and that can be hard to work through sometimes with a new partner, but it’s important to know what everyone is in the same situation whether they have only ever had a kiss with a boy on a field in year 9 or they have been in a solid relationship for 5 years. People bring their experiences with them and you need to find someone you feel comfortable to share them with and work past them together.
BEING ABLE TO LAUGH
If anyone asks me what I look for in a guy, I say someone that can make me laugh. If you know my boyfriend Harry, then it’ll be no surprise that that’s what I go for. We can honestly laugh for hours and hours and we wouldn’t even be able to tell you what set it off. This links back to what I was saying about friendship, above anything else Harry is my best friend and that was a friendship formed on having the same sense of humour and knowing how to cheer each other up and make each other smile. Maybe you’re not dating a bit of a class clown like Haz and that’s not to say it can’t work. It’s about finding the person that makes you happy and excited and bubbly inside whether that’s by making you laugh till you cry, smile till it hurts or just that warm fuzzy feeling inside. Relationships should be fun, so find someone you have a good time with or you’re going to be bored as hell for the rest of your life.
BEING TRULY YOURSELF
We all know those friends who are different people when their boyfriends or girlfriends are around. As soon as they walk in the room it’s like your friend has disappeared and been replaced with an alien version, that looks identical but is all of a sudden so much cooler and more sophisticated tossing their hair back and forth or suddenly their brain goes to mush and they’re playing Karen from Mean Girls. When you’re trying to impress a crush then sure, I’m definitely guilty of checking my reflection and doing my best to play it cool, but it’s not a great foundation to start a possible relationship on. You need to find someone you feel comfortable around, someone you’re not worried will judge you if you come out with your opinion as to why you didn’t like the new James Bond film or someone that is cool with the fact you’re really into playing the harp (I don’t play the harp it’s just the first thing that came into my head). Life is tiring enough as it is, don’t make it harder for yourself by having to pretend to be something you’re not.
HAVING YOUR OWN LIVES
As I get older this one becomes more and more apparent. I’m at the age where I’m trying to figure out what I’m doing and trying out different paths to see what I enjoy. That’s a joinery I need to take by myself and that’s not to say I don’t want to go home get into bed with Haz and tell him all about it because of course, I do, I just don’t need him to hold my hand every step of the way. I’d like to think I’m a pretty independent person and I would never give that independence up to anyone, it’s who I am. I want to build my life whilst Haz builds him and then we can come together and tell each other everything we did or achieved or failed at. I have seen so many relationships break down because they’re living in each other’s pockets, and not only does this get in the way of them pressing their own individual dreams, but it can lead to resentment that they don’t have the time to see their other friends or spend time with their family like they use to. These aren’t things that should be replaced when you get into a relationship. They might change a bit, sure, but you have to stay true to your path and your hobbies and just make room for your partner in there too.
What would you say are the key things to look for in a relationship? I’d be really interested to know so let me know in the comments below.
Photos by Kirsty McLachlan