Relationships are at the core of our lives. Relating and engaging with others can result in a mixed bag of emotions, such as excitement, fear, anticipation, elation, struggle, closeness, dread, intimacy and loneliness. In a positive relationship, both partners feel valued, loved and nurtured. To get the most out of your relationship, here are 10 tips to help you be a better partner:
- Develop a sense of trust. Feeling that you can both be seen, heard, understood and accepted.
- Recognise that physical closeness is only one expression of intimacy. Intimacy can be verbal (e.g. telling your partner why you love them or things that you love about them), and it can also be expressed by doing special things.
- Acknowledge each other’s need to be autonomous and to make your own decisions sometimes.
- Create a safe and open place where you can both express problems, doubts, fears and weaknesses without fear of rejection or punishment.
- Be willing to communicate. This often includes sharing feelings, needs and wants. Note: Listening to your partner’s problems does not necessarily mean you are responsible for solving them.
- Be open to negotiate your differences with respect and generosity. You are not going to get your own way all the time.
- Be aware of personal issues you bring to the relationship (sometimes called ‘baggage’), and take responsibility for these. Also be aware of the expectations you may place on others and assess how realistic they are.
- Regular time alone gives you space to recharge and re-balance. This will allow you to give more in your relationship in the long-run.
- Maintain and build a supportive network of friends outside the relationship. No single relationship will meet every need.
- Learn to not take things too seriously. This includes yourself, your relationship and life in general. Of course these things are all important to a healthy and happy life, but sometimes we need to take the time to relax.
MensLine Australia has professional counsellors available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing confidential and anonymous information and support for all relationship issues. Call us on 1300 78 99 78 or register for online counselling.