Building a lasting relationship isn’t an easy endeavor but it’s not impossible. In this article, I will share the strategies that helped us made our relationship indestructible.
I organized my advice for you into the following main points:
- Choose the right person
- Don’t jump into commitments
- Make an active effort to get to know your partner
- Learn how to resolve arguments
- Build trust over time
- Be honest with your partner
- Team up with your partner
- Follow your heart and trust your gut
- Don’t give up.
I will cover each one of these in detail.
Let’s jump right in!
1. Choose The Right Person
It is a common misconception that love is all about finding this one perfect person. Once you’re together everything will just fall into place.
That’s nonsense of course. No relationship is ever going to be completely effortless. However, finding the right partner is an important component that will either make or break a relationship.
But what do I mean by “the right partner”??
In my personal experience, these were the factors that I was guiding myself by when we first started dating:
Choose Someone You Really Want To Commit To
It takes two people to make a relationship last and YOU are one of them.
Just because a guy likes you, it doesn’t mean you have to like him back. Even if he seems like a good and safe bet.
Some girls say that even without the initial spark, chemistry might develop over time. They decide to trust their heads over their sexual desire and choose to be with someone because it seems like the reasonable thing to do.
I personally believe that you shouldn’t repress drives that you anyway cannot control. I’ve known people who repress and deny their needs for so long, that they often end up cheating on their partner.
So choose somebody you really want to be with! And when it comes to evaluating people, your emotions are your best compass.
You’ll know when something feels off. Follow your heart, listen to your instincts, trust your gut and GO FOR IT!
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
When we first started dating, Gabriel was like”I’m not sure what I want right now, let’s not define us just yet blah blah blah”.
But at the same time, he was arranging these crazy romantic dates and was making so much effort to get to know me. I’d never met or even heard of a guy who was so thoughtful and sweet.
I decided to trust his actions over his words and about a month and a half since we started dating he was suddenly like “I guess I do want us to be in an exclusive relationship. ..”
Side Note here.
I think it is perfectly natural for people to be hesitant about wanting or not wanting to commit in the very beginning of a relationship. It’s kinda logical, you’ve just started dating. You don’t know this person yet.
I think for me personally the first couple of weeks of undefined relationship status were actually really good. Having the space and time allowed me to slowly build the necessary trust I needed in order to let Gabriel into my life more.
Taking things slowly has been our approach in general and it really worked out for the best.
2. Don’t Jump Into Commitments
Jumping into commitments hastily is often a sign of uncertainty and desperation. Big no no.
In order to explain why, I’m going to outline the difference between trust and blind faith.
Trust develops as people grow closer and get to know each other better. Trust in a relationship is based on your past experiences with that person.
For example, Gabriel had too many negative experiences with his family, that kept breaking his trust. Over time this lead to him not trusting anybody and going lone wolf. It wasn’t until years into our relationship that he suddenly announced:
“You CARE! You actually CARE about me!?”
He was so used to being betrayed, that me being there for him consistently over the years accumulated in me changing his mind.
This built immense trust from him and guess what? He became even more protective and fiercely loyal. So build each other up and build trust, it pays off immensely.
Blind faith, on the other hand, doesn’t require any past experiences. Blind faith is a way of repressing your doubts and pushing yourself past them. Your emotional alarm bells are ringing but you choose to ignore them and blindly believe that whatever it is you’re choosing, is going to magically work out.
I don’t know about you guys, but I have made many life choices based on blind faith and they didn’t work out the way I had hoped.
Making big commitments on a whim, will not get you that stable long-lasting relationship you’re longing for. There are just too many unknown factors.
Like with anything else in life, you’ve gotta take control and shape your relationship the way you want it to grow and this takes TIME, like years!
Don’t Let Others Pressure You Into Commitments
As if being constantly faced with own own fears and uncertainties wasn’t confusing enough. On top of that, there are people that just love adding fuel to the flame.
Relatives (in particular parents and grandparents) LOVE to try to control younger people’s love lives.
“When are you finally going to bring a boyfriend home? Do I have to find one for you, myself?”
“Why aren’t you guys getting married yet? When am I going to get my grandchildren?”
I’ve heard these sort of comments ever since I turned 15. They are super annoying.
For years they made me feel like I was somehow defective for not following the prescribed dating schedule.
For the longest time, I never introduced any of my boyfriends to my family, just because I knew they would make such a big deal out of it.
Pressure from relatives does more damage than good. It’s not easy to deal with it. Don’t let them bully you into making relationship choices for you!
About Peer Pressure
Everybody is a little bit insecure. Back in the 2000s, when I was in high school, smoking was cool. So I smoked every now and then in order to be perceived as cool.
Peer pressure works the same way in regards to relationships. When all of your friends have boyfriends and you’re the only one who doesn’t, it feels kinda crap.
Things start getting even worse when they all suddenly start to get married, buy houses together and prepare to have kids.
This pressure is hard on both men and women and it’s easy to fall for it.
Remember love is not a race. There is no need for hurrying things along.
Moreover, there are no prescribed steps or a “one right way” of doing relationships. Everybody is different.
Don’t let the expectations of other people drive you. Commit only when it feels like it’s something YOU truly want.
3. Make An Active Effort To Get To Know Your Partner
One crucial factor that contributes to making a relationship last is growing the bond between you and your partner. There is always more there to learn about them.
The better you get to know each other, the better you will become at understanding how the other one ticks.
It’s important to make an active effort to continuously understand your partner better.
We all have our stereotype biases and are a bit stuck in perceiving other people a certain way. But being on the receiving end of these kinds of judgments can be extremely hurtful.
I’m fairly short and have long blond hair. Whenever I’m in a business setting I hardly ever feel taken seriously. I had a similar experience with guys in my life.
They would try to exclude me from their “serious manly discussions”, or make assumptions as to what movies or music I like.
People are quick to assess and classify others. They say “Oh she is a Libra, she can’t make up her mind about anything”, “All girls just want to get married and have babies” or “Guys only think about sex and sports”. Most of these stereotypes are very inaccurate.
Each one of us is a unique human being with their own personal needs, preferences, and desires.
Perceiving your partner through a lense with all sorts of prejudice that is prevalent in our society, will inevitably make you two grow apart.
Making an active effort to get to know your boyfriend/girlfriend as a person can stop and even reverse the damage.
If you are having trouble understanding and getting to know your partner, you might want to check our our article: Why Are Relationships So Complicated?
4. Learn How To Resolve Arguments
Resolving arguments is such an important life skill, yet we are never really taught how to do it. There are debate clubs in schools, but the purpose of a debate is mostly to dominate your opponent.
Many people seem to apply the same strategy to their relationship disagreements.
Instead of striving to resolve the conflict at hand, we tend to focus on trying to win the fight.
Unfortunately this strategy only leads to more fighting, holding grudges and the issue deepening. It will weaken and can eventually damage your relationship.
That’s why, the ability to resolve arguments is crucial for making a relationship last.
Here are some of our tips which can help you out with this:
Take Turns When Listening To One Another
There are always two sides to every fight.
Sometimes in order to be able to listen to your partner complain about behavior of yours, you need them to hear you out too.
Take turns listening to one another. Divide it into bite-sized chunks.
Gaining an understanding of even a smallest of issues between you two, can make all the difference.
Don’t Try To Solve Everything In One Go
When I used to be upset about things in the past, I wanted Gabriel to get EVERYTHING that I was upset about. That’s impossible though.
The bigger the issue the longer it’s going to take to solve it.
It’s all about taking a series of baby steps. In a couple of months, these can totally transform your relationship for the better.
Being Patient & Understanding Resolve Arguments Faster
This one is a tricky one. Nobody is infinitely patient and understanding. We all have our limits.
At the same time, it’s worth keeping in mind that kindness and positive reinforcement can work wonders.
Being kind to yourself and going easy on your partner might get you what you want much sooner than arguing about it.
If you need more advice on how to deal with arguments in a relationship be sure to check out our article on How To Stop Fighting In Your Relationship.
5. Build Trust Over Time
The most important thing to understand about trust is that it’s a feeling.
And a really good one on top of that. It feels warm, fuzzy, stable and kinda grounding. Having someone you can trust is awesome.
A feeling is just a chemical reaction that goes on in the brain.
That’s why you can’t expect your partner to trust you, just because you want them to.
They can’t control their feelings just like you can’t control yours.
You can feel your feelings, or repress them and let them eat you up from inside, but you can’t control them.
Building trust takes time.
So how do you do it?
It’s quite simple really, you’ve just gotta be reliable, honest, supportive and caring. 😅
It’s just something that will naturally develop as you get to know each other better and grow closer.
There Can Always Room For More Trust In A Relationship
An important side note here. There is no such thing as trusting somebody completely. People say they do it, but I disagree.
There is always room to increase the amount of trust between you and your partner.
What I’m saying here is that having your partner’s trust and you trusting them is not an end goal. It’s a progressive development that will continuously make your relationship stronger.
6. Be Honest With Your Partner
Honesty is the foundation for the trust in a relationship.
But what does ‘Being honest with your partner’ exactly mean?
Do you have to share your every single thought with them?
Maybe… we kinda do that actually
It’s actually really relieving to be able to share all your thought with someone, it’s lots of fun too!
I don’t believe honesty is about sharing everything that goes through your brain. It’s just about the important stuff. The things that actually have an impact on the relationship.
We all know when we’re hiding something from our partner, or when we’re being dishonest about something.
Hiding and lying never work in a long run. The truth has a way of coming out sooner or later.
So if you want your relationship to last, you’ve gotta be honest with your partner.
Honesty Takes Courage
I was brought up with the attitude of not wanting to burden others with my problems. This meant keeping things to myself in order not cause other people some sort of distress.
However, already as a kid, I noticed that that attitude was counterproductive. For example, women in my family never admitted to health issues.
Keeping secrets like this just ended up making everyone endlessly worry about their state.
I think hiding things from your loved ones has little to do with not wanting to burden them, and everything to do with not having the guts to come out with your problems.
Admitting certain thoughts or feelings can be very scary but it totally pays off. Besides it’s okay to have needs!
It takes courage to admit certain things, but being on the receiving end of a confession can be just as much of a big deal.
Your partner revealing parts of themselves that might threaten your relationship may just make you think:
“Why is he/she telling me this, can’t we just pretend and act as if nothing ever happened?!”
Certain truths can be hard to bear, like that your partner feels attracted to someone else, or is unsure whether he/she is ready to fully commit yet etc.
If you let those things go unacknowledged, they will inevitably create a rift and destroy the trust between you and your partner.
So hearing your significant other out, can be scary at times. But the consequences of ignoring them are far worse.
So be brave! And encourage each other to share the truth.
7. Team Up With Your Partner
Working as a team is extremely important in a relationship. It’s a skill you will develop and perfect as your relationship grows stronger
Nothing Helps You Boost Your Team Dynamic, Like uniting Against A Common Enemy. ⚔
This makes me think of an incident that happened to me in the summer.
Gabriel and I were sunbathing at a grass field at our local pool.
I went to get us a bottle of cold beer from the pool bar, when I got back an angry lifeguard came up to us and started shouting at me.
Later we learnt it was forbidden to use glass in that whole pool compound but he was aggressive and verbally assaulting me, instead of informing us about that.
Both Gabriel and I really stood our ground and fought him off. (If glass is forbidden there, why did they sell bottles at the pool bar? Or why did they not inform the customer?)
In the end, the angry lifeguard turned almost polite and even went to the bar and got us plastic cups. We poured our beer, disposed of the evil bottle, and the guy finally left us alone.
Throughout the whole experience, Gabriel really had my back. We created a common front that was impossible to break.
Having someone defend you and fight with you in a situation like this is just the best!
Teaming up like this can really strengthen your relationship and make you feel INVINCIBLE!
Building a long lasting relationship takes time.
It’s like running a marathon. If you push yourself or your partner too hard in the beginning, you might not make it to the finish line.
Unfortunately, we are all in a hurry nowadays. We’re all rushing to get to the next big thing in our lives.
Often we’re under a lot of pressure form our parents, or even our peers and consequently we might be pushing ourselves and our partner to get over things quickly, move on, be ready to commit, get a better job, lose weight, work out etc.
Patience is a rather undervalued quality in today’s crazy world.
It takes time for people to be able to truly open up to one another and learn to trust each other.
You can’t speed up this process no matter how hard you try.
Having a lot of patience and understanding for both yourself and your partner is absolutely necessary if you want to build a strong, long lasting relationship.
It Is Really Hard To Be Patient
We all have our limits and lose our cool sometimes. It’ perfectly normal. We all get frustrated and need to express it.
So how do you become more relaxed in your relationship?
You gotta be patient about your own impatience.
Express your frustrations, talk about them with your partner.
Limiting contact with people who put you under pressure can be a huge help too.
What really helps me to have more patience for both myself and Gabriel is remembering that the harder I’m going to push for something, the longer it’s is going to take.
9. Follow Your Heart And Trust Your Gut
All the advice out there can make you doubt yourself and your relationship at times.
Every person has their own unique needs and qualities. When it comes to building strong relationships there is no “one size fits all solution”.
Therefore take all the advice with a pinch of salt.
You are the only person who has the whole complete picture of your relationship. Only you know how it’s really like to be together with your partner.
You Are The Only True Authority On Your Relationship.
Sometimes the advice you get will make no sense to you. If that’s the case, don’t listen to it.
It is your love life and YOU KNOW BETTER!
Some choices you make in your relationship might seem really unreasonable to other people.
For example, when Gabriel and I first moved in together we had two separate rooms. Even though we lived in one flat, every night we’d ask each other, “are we sleeping at your place, or mine?”
For an outsider it might have seemed weird and even wrong, but that was what WE NEEDED in the beginning of living together.
That set up lasted for a couple of months. Eventually we merged our separate rooms and now only have one bedroom.
So just because you or your partner might have unconventional needs, it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with that.
When it comes to building a long lasting relationship, you gotta do what feels right to both of you.
Don’t let advice get to you too much and follow your heart instead!
10. Don’t Give Up
There are often good times and bad times in every relationship.
Sometimes you are going to face external factors that will create problems in your love life, such as disease, family conflict, issues at work etc.
Other times it will be you and your partner’s internal conflicts that will make you feel really down.
When times are hard it’s important to remember that things will get better!
Building a long lasting relationship is hard work and there will be a lot of hurdles on the way.
We faced a lot of difficulties in our relationship. We’ve got through them though.
The best thing I learned about trust and connection is that it really accumulates over time and makes things run smoother.
Our relationship got much EASIER over time and you can get there too!
So don’t give up on your love! You can do it! You can make it work!
Still feeling down and have doubts whether true love is even real? Be sure to check out 50 Songs To Restore Your Faith In True Love.
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Thank you for reading! I’m dying to hear your thoughts about this! Let me know in the comments below!
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