There’s a certain sadness in reporting that in reality, romantic relationships don’t follow the arc of a romantic comedy. Unlike romantic comedies, relationships don’t fade to black the moment after the film ends and the two leads have finally realized they’re meant for each other. Presumably, they’ll go on to live happily ever after. If only it were that simple. However, there are some things you can do to help make your relationship last and signs to look for that might signal it’s time to take some time apart. Keep in mind: all relationships are going to be unique to the people involved and not everything will work with everybody; these are just a few short ideas and suggestions.
It may be timeworn and worth an eye roll, but one of the most important things is communication. It’s also one of the hardest. Even if you know exactly what you want to talk to your partner about, putting that into words and sitting down to have that conversation is a whole other can of worms. Some people are really good at it, while others could improve. Sometimes, someone who is really good at expressing their feelings is in a relationship with someone who is not comfortable doing so, and that’s a divide that needs to be negotiated. Communication goes both ways; it’s not just about talking to someone, but actively listening and working through what is being said, whether or not the other person agrees.
Another classic tenet of a relationship is respect. This one encompasses pretty much everything about a relationship. Although it sounds straightforward, the way respect manifests in a relationship will vary, just as relationships do. It’s about understanding boundaries and treating your partner the way they want to be treated. How exactly that plays out will depend on the parties involved. It also means respecting your partner as an autonomous person outside of whatever connection you share.
Then there’s consent. Consent is incredibly important when it comes to any kind of intimate acts, but it’s more than just that. Consent is an amalgamation of respect and communication; an acknowledgement and discussion of what makes you and your partner comfortable in and out of the bedroom. You can’t have consent without communication, and you can’t have consent without respecting what you and your partner agree and don’t agree upon and understanding those boundaries are firm.
Obviously there’s a lot more that goes into a relationship, romantic or platonic. Hopefully, considering these core ideas will provide some food for thought, no matter what kind of relationship you might apply them to.