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6 Pieces of Relationship Advice From Professionals

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Advice is a dime a dozen, so easily dispensed and found. When we encounter difficulties in our lives, people – friends, family members, complete strangers – are quick to chime in with anecdotes, life lessons, or a fortune cookie message they read. With matters of the heart, everybody has something to say: give yourself some time, start dating again, play hard to get, don’t string her along, etc. etc. It’s tough to know what guidance to follow, and what to set aside. Here are six pieces of relationship advice from professionals.

1. Change Your Outlook

If you’re looking to get into the dating game, it’s important to bring your best self to the table; but you’ll have to be ready to shift your perspectives just a bit. Whomever you find yourself spending time with will be a different person, with different opinions, different expectations, different hopes and different points of view. If you find someone worth your time, you’re going to have to meet some of these differences halfway, even if it seems foreign at first. You don’t have to be a complete doormat, but one of the points about a relationship is that it should change who you are, as a person. You won’t grow into the relationship if you refuse to change your outlook.

2. Don’t Put Yourself Down

There’s an entire school of thought that lives by making jokes about yourself to appear humble, accessible, witty and humorous. This is a double-edged sword, because you might come across as having low self-esteem, and no one wants to date someone with low self-esteem, no matter how funny the are. It’s important to be humble, it’s important to be witty, and when you make a mistake, it’s important to take it in good humor; but do this sparingly and in the right contexts. Constantly mocking yourself for the amusement of others will get you laughs, but not happiness. There’s a reason many comedians suffer depression.

3. Stay In The Moment

Few things kill a relationship sooner than losing track of where you are. A blooming romance can be nipped in the bud if one of the partners is already thinking about buying a house, marriage, children, and retirement. Even a weathered relationship can hit the rocks if someone is constantly nostalgic for the good old days of single life, or a former “what if” flame. Experts advise couples to simply focus on the here and now, and enjoy the present for what it is. The past and future hold their own challenges, but neither can be tackled if a couple is not in the same moment together.

For those with considerable anxiety about the future, especially those who are settling down, it might be worthwhile to consider seeing a professional who will be able to provide strategies that will ultimately help the relationship last longer.

4. Understand Sex

In relationships, men really are from Mars, and women do hail from Venus – especially when it comes to sex. Society, culture, tradition and religion all tell us a number of conflicting things about sex: what it means, what we should want, what we deserve, especially based on our gender. No matter how much in love a couple are, men and women have different expectations from sex, and the participants in a relationship need to understand that. Those expectations could well match up, but relationship counsellors caution that no one should enter a (sexual) relationship oblivious to what their partner’s feelings are on sex.

5. You Can Go To Bed Angry

Contrary to what your mother told you, sometimes going to bed without resolving an argument might be the right thing to do. One of you may have to sleep on the couch, but you’ll be more likely to talk rationally after sleeping on the argument, than you were if you merely rushed through the resolution in order to get to bed on time.

6. Say “Sorry”

It’s easy to assume that being in a relationship means that certain niceties are covered, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Nothing hurts a partner’s feelings more than being taken for granted. So, if you are late for date night, apologize, mean it, and don’t do it again. If you say something hurtful during an argument, apologize, mean it, and don’t do it again. If you make plans without them, apologize, mean it, and don’t do it again. But don’t ever assume that dating someone makes you immune from apologizing when you make a mistake.

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