Open any social media platform, and you’ll find a myriad of pictures and posts with people who seem to be in a perfect relationship. They are #relationshipgoals and everything you ever wanted from this type of connection.
But, have you ever wondered how much of it is true?
It’s easy to make our lives seem perfect on the internet when in reality things aren’t that rosy. And, when you constantly compare yourself to the carefully crafted, air-brushed portrayals of happiness and beauty on the web, you can easily become miserable.
Perfection is not real, because WE aren’t perfect. A relationship with two flawed people is bound to have its problems, and that’s normal. We make mistakes and we hope that we can learn from them. People make hurtful remarks out of anger, break promises, lie, and cheat. Not to mention, no two people will agree about everything all the time, so conflict is inevitable.
How a couple manages the drama determines the fate of their relationship. No relationship is perfect, but you may be able to find the perfect relationship for you.
Dr. John Gottman has been studying why marriages succeed or fail for over 40 years. He gained such an incredible insight into the dynamics of a relationship that he can predict divorce 94% of the time. He and his wife, Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman, have teamed up to help couples prevent relationship meltdowns.
Here are 3 tips from their research to strengthen your relationship with your partner. I’ve added extra tips too that can help you find the right partner if you are single.
Make a Perfect Relationship Tip #1: Be Interested
The quality of your friendship matters. When you consistently treat your partner like a good friend, you build up goodwill that can help you stick together during the struggles that inevitably arise.
When you are stressed, you might be preoccupied with your own problems and forget to check in with how your partner is doing. You might even be distracted and fail to respond when your partner is trying to connect by making conversation. This can eventually hurt your relationship as your partner can feel neglected or that you don’t care how they feel.
If you’re in the early stages of dating, you don’t want to end up in the dreaded “friend zone,” where he just wants to be friends. Don’t treat him like he’s your best friend and refrain from sharing all the gory details of your last breakup. Less is more. Let him wonder about you and want to get to know you better.
Make a Perfect Relationship Tip #2: Go Easy with Conflict
Making constructive remarks when you’re angry can be difficult. Often people are likely to blame or criticize their partners when they are angry, which can lead to defensiveness and an escalation of conflict.
It’s safer to ask for what you want rather than blame or criticize. “Would you please take out the trash?” is softer than “You never take out the trash.” Beginning your comments with “you” can often sound more like an accusation or criticism. If you start with “I,” it can come across as more gentle. “You’re not listening” sounds harsher than “I feel you aren’t hearing me.”
If you are dating, you want to know how a man handles conflict. If your date makes a suggestion you don’t like, such as meeting for a hike when you just met, you can simply say, “I’m not comfortable with that.” He may ask you a few questions to understand your concerns. But, if he argues with you or doesn’t get it, that’s a warning sign.
Make a Perfect Relationship Tip #3: Fix the Negativity
Conflict can be good for your relationship if you can patch things up. Believe it or not, it can even bring you closer. It isn’t easy to admit when you’re wrong, but that can go a long way to defusing a conflict-laden situation. Adding a bit of humor or reminding your partner that you love him can also help a lot.
If you’re single and your date overreacts to a minor issue, it’s a red flag. Ideally, your date would want you to be happy and would avoid a lot of conflicts when you are starting to date. The early days of dating are when both parties put their best feet forward. It’s downhill from there.
Whether you are single or partnered, these basics can help improve your relationship or help you to find the right one.