Chemistry in a romantic relationship is exciting. Few things are as exhilarating as connecting so intensely with your partner that you heat up the room and sparks fly off the walls when you’re together. But chemistry can’t get you very far. There are many other things that a relationship needs to stay healthy and strong.
- Trust each other.
A relationship won’t last very long if the parties involved don’t trust each other. It doesn’t matter how physically attracted you are to each other—a lack of trust is a recipe for disaster. Thankfully, trust can be earned and constantly strengthened, so don’t neglect it.
- Set realistic goals and expectations.
If you yearn for a relationship that succeeds and endures, you need to let go of the idealistic standards you’ve dreamed up. Don’t enter the relationship with a script and attempt to change your partner to fit into your mold. This can only spoil what may have otherwise turned out to be a good thing. Outline the qualities in a relationship that matter the most to you. Think about the specifics that you want out of the relationship to look like. Then, talk about them. If you aren’t aware of what your partner thinks about these things, or you feel as though you can’t discuss them, the relationship is doomed to fail.
- Communicate freely and openly.
The problems you don’t talk about will end up destroying your relationship from the inside out. Instead of holding your tongue or overlooking problems, speak up. Be honest about how you’re feeling, and be open to hearing your partner’s feedback on ways you could improve. Communication will help you clear up issues before they intensify, and will also draw you closer together.
- Accept each other’s flaws.
In the early stages of a relationship, it feels as though the entire world revolves around your partner, and he can do no wrong in your eyes. As the initial sparks in your relationship calm down, you’ll realize that your partner has flaws and quirks, and you may not like them all. But as annoying as his flaws are, they figure into what makes him who he is. Learn to accept and appreciate them. And remember, you have quirks and flaws, too!
- Be honest.
Honesty is important in any relationship. Most people will not tolerate lies and will not indulge people who tell them. Dishonesty should be a dealbreaker regardless of how much chemistry you feel and how attractive a person may otherwise be. Is honesty important to you? What does your partner think?
- Allow for personal space.
It’s natural to want to spend every possible moment with the person you love. But you both will benefit if you spend some time apart, and your relationship will grow stronger. Give your partner the chance to miss you. Take some time on your own to work on personal issues. Being in a relationship together doesn’t meld you into a single organism.
- Strive for independence.
Nobody likes needy adults. It’s important to preserve your individuality and avoid losing yourself in the whirlwind of the relationship. Be self-reliant and don’t flip out if you can’t breathe, eat, sleep, and be with your partner every moment of every day. Even if you have the same interests, try to find some things you enjoy doing on your own.
- Respect each other.
For the health of your relationship, you need to respect your partner. Love doesn’t give you an excuse to turn your partner into a doormat or to allow yourself to be treated as one. Disrespect by either partner should not be tolerated in a healthy relationship.
- Don’t neglect happiness.
Life won’t always be sunshine and lollipops. No one is happy all the time, and no relationship is free of problems even if the chemistry is there. But if you allow them enough room, anger, misery, bitterness, and resentment will fester and destroy what you have. Infusing happiness into your relationship will keep it healthy.
- Be willing to compromise.
Relationships are all about finding a healthy balance between giving and receiving. If one partner is always the giver while the other only ever takes and takes, the relationship is guaranteed to collapse. Compromise and sacrifice are required to make a relationship work. You won’t always agree with your partner, but you need to be willing to find the mutually acceptable middle ground.
- Be quick to forgive.
One certain fact of life is that nobody’s perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. So, if you want your relationship to succeed, you need to forgive your partner when he makes a mistake. Holding grudges can significantly damage a relationship.
- Adopt a team-oriented mindset.
Of course, you’re awesome on your own! But you and your partner both will have to learn how to be great together. The name of the game is equality, and teamwork is what you need to win it. Each of you needs to decide what you want for yourself and from the relationship. Then you can work together to make it happen.
- Grow emotionally.
Emotional growth as a couple means identifying both the good and the bad aspects of yourself. You may learn that things you thought were normal are in reality unacceptable behaviors. Emotional maturity involves evolving beyond the sparks to face your problems and discontinue the unhealthy habits that prevent you from becoming the best possible partner you can be.
- Set clear boundaries.
Boundaries give relationships structure, and you need to know where they are in yours. Are you committed and exclusive? What do those words mean to you? What do they mean to your partner? Talk about these things, and make sure you’re both on the same page.
What other attributes figure into the success of a relationship? Talk about them in the comments section!