Warning: Danger ahead!
If your partner claims not to want kids, don’t assume you’ll be able to change his or her mind on the issue.
If a man’s hit you once, he’ll hit you again.
Don’t commit to someone with a drug or alcohol habit.
If the first six months are filled with arguments, tears and angst, the relationship isn’t going to come right.
Don’t commit until you’ve had your first major argument.
Be wary of people who’ve never been in long-term relationships, and those who’ve left their partners to be with you.
Don’t stay in a relationship purely because you’ve grown used to it, or because you’re afraid of being on your own again.
Don’t ever take chances with contraception.
Picking a long-term partner
Only give your love to someone who loves you back.
Both partners have to believe in marriage to make a marriage work.
You should be able to trust your partner enough to reveal your true self and feelings to him or her.
You should value your partner’s opinion and hear him or her out, even if you don’t necessarily agree.
Your partner should also be your best friend.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR RELATIONSHIP’S IN TROUBLE
Ask yourself these questions when your partnership is going through a rough patch:
Do I like myself in my relationship? What do I like about myself in this relationship?
What don’t I like about myself in this relationship?
Which aspects of the relationship cause distress for me? (For example, money? Sex?)
Do I have a deep sense of commitment to my partner’s well-being without compromising my own well-being?
Do we listen to each other’s needs?
Do I like the couple we are?
The good news is that relationship distress doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem; in fact, it may be an invitation to explore yourself and possibly enter new relationship territory. Distress is a sign that you’ve reached a point where the two of you have the option to deepen the union, or end it.
Unhappiness also gives you the opportunity to examine childhood experiences that are re-presenting themselves. Ask yourself, ‘What’s causing me distress?’ and keep the focus on yourself, not on your partner’s perceived shortcomings. Ask ‘What/who does this remind me of?’ and ‘Where have I experienced this before?’
Patterns – even painful ones, such as emotionally absent partners – offer us comfort and security, and change can be scary. Identify your patterns and interrogate yourself: ‘What is this pattern showing me about myself? What allows me to stay? What do I secretly gain from being in this situation?’ and ‘What would it be like to change this?’
Remember, you can end one relationship because you’re not happy, but without investigating your issues, chances are the same things will present themselves to you with the next person.
Though our culture encourages us to see a partner as our everything – parent, friend, sibling, confessor – this isn’t humanly possible. If an area of your partnership doesn’t fulfil you, ask, ‘Is it really up to the relationship to do this for me?’