What I’ve Learnt Through Other People’s Relationships – Part 2

Awhile ago I wrote a post about what I’ve learnt through other people’s relationships. I thought I’d do a follow up post because really, there is so much to learn through observing other people’s behaviour.

Relationships can be tricky but they don’t have to be difficult. They only really need a few things to work but for some reason a lot of people can’t manage it. To me a relationship must have trust, honesty and respect. Without those they simply do not work. Here’s what I’ve learnt through other people’s relationships.

  • Without trust a relationship can not function. I think it’s ok to sometimes doubt your partner with good reason but if at the end of the day you don’t 100% trust your partner and they don’t 100% trust you, you’ll spend the whole relationship anticipating the next step. For example, two people I know got together whilst both cheating on their partners. They eventually started dating but every time one spoke to a member of the opposite sex the other was left wondering if they were cheating and all hell would break loose. The reason leads me to my next point.
  • Honesty. People aren’t stupid and can generally pick up if you are being dishonest. A partner is usually one of the closest people to you so it makes sense that they’ll be able to see the clues. Again, a partner is usually someone who knows you inside and out so it baffles me as to why you wouldn’t be honest with them. Case in point – the couple I mentioned above could not be truthful to each other. Despite months of couples counselling one continuously lied to their partner about their escapades and the other downplayed theirs.  Their lack of honesty with each other eventually lead them to stop respecting each other and their relationship and that leads me to my next point.
  • Respect. Respect is so important. We respect those around us who deserve it and who we value as people so again, it makes sense that your partner would be worthy of that. It’s about taking into consideration the other people in your life and understanding how your actions impact them. It doesn’t mean always doing what’s best for them but it does mean looking at the consequences. As with the above couple they became so comfortable in their relationship and the dynamics of it that neither one had any respect left for the other to simply admit they couldn’t go on with the relationship and break up.

Eventually this couple did break up and break up for good which was a blessing for us all who were involved in their lives. The partner who simply could not stop cheating eventually ended up in an open relationship with a new main partner and they couldn’t be happier. The other partner is now happily married with a partner who doesn’t cheat and they are expecting a baby in a couple of months. To me it seems that this couple learnt from their previous relationship and made good on their new one.

But it just goes to show that without these 3 main ingredients, relationships become far more work than they need to be and if you want to work through it, great, but if you don’t it might just be time to suck it up and let it go.

What do you think are key ingredients for a successful relationship?

What I’ve Learnt Through Other People’s Relationships

I’ve been with my partner for 14 years now but there are still things that I’ve learnt from other people to apply to my own relationship. Let’s be honest, it’s easy to fall into a rut because you’ve become so comfortable together.

Here’s what I’ve learnt

o Date nights. Have them. Even if it’s just cooking together, setting the table up nice and having a good bottle of wine together. Probably better to go out but even something simple works. Do this consistently. It’ll help separate the mundane everyday stuff.

o Compromise. This is from everything to housework, finances, in the bedroom, lifestyle and more. Talk about things and compromise. Relationships that work work because they compromise.

o Respect boundaries. This is something that was really ingrained in me by a girl I went to uni with. Her motto really was “I’ll try anything once.” And she did. And because of that she had a number of experiences that probably wouldn’t have eventuated. What I’ve learnt is that if I’ve tried something and decided I don’t like it, I can say no. So if your partner tries something for you, appreciate it and don’t push it if they decide they don’t want to anymore or again. The fact that they tried should be more than enough for you.

o In-jokes. Have them. It can make you giggle at inappropriate times and people around you will have no idea what’s going on but that’s ok. It means you have a bond that only the two of you understand. Friends of mine have a weird thing where one of them will say ‘kitten’ and they will both burst out laughing – I have no idea why or what it means but its really sweet to see.

o Have a hobby together. Most couples I know have very separate interests which is great but there are always one or two things that both are really passionate about and share. Me personally, I’m not really passionate about much except finding out who ‘A’ is on Pretty Little Liars (only a few weeks to go!!) and food and wine. The food and wine does work as a kind of hobby between my partner and I but we also both enjoy walking and trying out new tracks. The rest of our interests are pretty separate but these are the things that we can do together and will always enjoy.

What have you learned from another relationship?

And They Didn’t Live Happily Ever After

I was at lunch with a few friends the other weekend and we started talking about a relationship one of the girls had a few years ago.

At 24 she met a guy who was 42. He worked a lot and travelled often for work but was always attentive and kept in constant contact when he was away.

He even went so far as to buy her a promise ring because they were going to design her engagement ring together. She thought she was destined to be with this guy forever.

Unfortunately she was wrong.

Turns out this guy had a secret life – he was in a relationship with another woman. My friend was obviously very hurt – by this stage she had given this guy 4 years of her life. They had talked marriage, babies, were saving to buy a house, the works.

What shocked her more was that she was the other woman – he had a wife in another state that he had been married to for 10 years. They had 2 kids together.

She found out when his wife called out of the blue. They had an awkward but honest conversation and it was clear to both parties involved that neither knew the other existed.

Both relationships ended. The wife tried to make a go of it but ultimately she was too hurt and betrayed by what he had done.

This is a story you hear a lot.

It’s easy to imagine that the wife was angry and she would turn on my friend and blame her for everything instead of directing that anger to her husband – its easier to blame an outsider rather than looking inward into your own relationship.

Whilst it’s an awful story to hear, what I really loved about it is that both women ended up being friends. Instead of turning on and blaming the other, they used their grief and anger for him and their situation to bond. I wish this sort of outcome happened more often. I hate hearing the alternative – the one where women revert to acting like a 15 year old girl whose boyfriend kissed another girl where the girl is forever labelled a slut and the boyfriend gets away unscathed.

Both of the women involved freely admit that it was so obvious to them now what he was up to but had no real idea at the time because he had always been the way he was. What made it more special was that they were able to talk in specifics, compare notes and ultimately gain closure without either one of them feeling they were at fault.