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If You Want A Long-Lasting Relationship, You Should Keep Doing These 10 Things

If You Want A Long-Lasting Relationship, You Should Keep Doing These 10 Things

Whether you’re at the point in your life where you would like to focus on pursuing a long-term relationship, or are in a relationship with long-term potential, it’s important to understand the key points that will help you get the long-lasting relationship you desire. Wanting it is nice, however, anything long-term requires work to keep it great.

So here are some essential points to help you along the way, and keep you blanketed in that happy, loving, long-lasting buzz!

1. Pursue solo activities

Doing those things you enjoyed, or enjoy, doing on your own will not only allow you to get back in touch with you (something you should be doing even if you are coupled up) but will also give you and your partner some important time apart. This is essential in maintaining that beautiful balance a long-lasting relationship needs; quality time apart equates to quality time together! Not only will you feel recharged, but it will also give you a chance to miss them, and the relationship, allowing you to return to each other, renewed, refreshed, and ready to go.

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2. Maintain those key relationships

We get it, you’re loved up, but don’t neglect those other important relationships in your life. These other relationships, be it friendships or family, are vital to your overall well-being and happiness as they provide a supportive and loving network in your life. So often in long-term relationships, we find ourselves wrapped in all that romantic love that we forget to nurture the relationships already present in our lives. A long-lasting relationship requires that you have an invaluable support system outside of the two of you. Now is the perfect time to spend time watering and feeding those beautiful and equally important unions.

3. Keep Dating

No, not other people! Each other. Make a deal with your partner to date like you used to. Leave little to no room for complacency. Getting too comfortable to the point you forget to spend quality one-on-one time together is a sure fire way to start taking for granted your beautiful union, and unfortunately, that does not bode well for the long-term. Don’t let that happen! Book into a hotel, go go-kart racing, stay in and have a steamy night… whatever works. Make the effort to date again, and your relationship will thank you for it!

4. Listen

One of the things that will ensure a harmonious long-lasting relationship is the ability to listen to your love. Really hearing what they have to say and what is going on in their lives demonstrates the love and care you have for them, and your interest in their well-being. It can often be difficult to not want to jump in and help (read: fix) whatever it is that is bothering them. But now is not the time to go into Fix It mode. What they may need right now is just a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on, so let it happen. They’ll appreciate it!

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5. Keep talking

When a disagreement arises, and it will, make sure you talk it out. There’s nothing like leaving old issues to fester, eventually infecting and poisoning your relationship. Harbouring any kind of ill towards your partner will only lead to more anger, and resentment. So when things have calmed down, make sure to discuss it. Keep the lines of communication open. It will not only help to resolve issues quicker, but prevent the smaller ones from becoming bigger ones further down the road.

6. Pick your battles wisely

Talking things out, is great, but be aware of the pitfalls of starting and getting into arguments that could, and probably should, be avoided. If you feel the ensuing disagreement is needless, and will only aim to hurt one or both of you, perhaps it’s time to lay it down and walk away. Be honest, is it really that important to you that you are right? Do you really care whether you win this round? Probably not. It’s okay to walk away. There’s truly no place for ego in a long-lasting relationship.

7. Quit with the “Me Too’s”

Truth? You don’t really enjoy heading to the gym with your love at 5 a.m., do you? So why do it? The “me too” game is so high school and serves no purpose but to make you resent yourself and the relationship as you try to fake your way through a long-term coupling, hoping it will keep them around. Want something long-lasting? Be upfront about how you actually hate cats, or despise wine. It’s okay. These are admittedly small things, but if this relationship is going to last, they have to know who they’re shacking up with. And chances are, by now, they’ve probably guessed you hate going to the gym… at any time!

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8. Discuss the big things

If you’re still unsure where you stand on matters of life (kids, money, etc), it’s imperative you discuss these. Be real, and honest about what you want. In a long-term relationship, it’s important to keep reflecting on who you are and what you require from a relationship, and not settling on important matters. This will ensure you and your partner are on the same page, and are able to continuously move forward. Pretending you’re “totally fine” with everything will only lead to bitterness as you try to falsely keep the peace by suppressing your true requirements. So do your love a solid, and be honest with yourself, and each other.

9. Stop the games

Trying to make them jealous, or going AWOL to get a reaction out of them is not a good idea if you want something long-lasting. Usually people use these games to stoke the fires in relationships and test boundaries, but these actions are almost always guaranteed to make the relationship short-lived, resulting in the downfall of something that could’ve been great! Ultimate destroyers of anything long-term, any sort of games in a relationship will inevitably lead to mixed messages, insecurities and mistrust. So if you truly want a long-lasting relationship, stop with the games.

10. Keep laughing!

Laughter is great! It’s therapeutic. It allows you to get silly and makes you happy. There’s nothing like laughter with your partner to cement those long-term bonds. At the very least, it shows you can still have fun together, and at the very most, it demonstrates your coupled ability to laugh through the difficult and trying times that being in a long-lasting relationship may bring. Being able to laugh together, at yourself and at each other will make you a stronger and more unified couple. Laughter is intimate, can be extremely sensual and comforting, and is a force against adversity, so have fun, and get laughing!

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Featured photo credit: Pool Fighters/Leafar via imcreator.com

More by this author

Patricia C. Osei-Oppong

Writer, Poet, Marketer

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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