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6 Types of Relationships That Last the Longest and Stay the Strongest

6 Types of Relationships That Last the Longest and Stay the Strongest

How do you know your relationship will last? How do you know it was meant to be? How do you even know that the current one is ‘the one?’ Wouldn’t it be lovely if you could predict how strong and happy your relationship will be?

Many of us are cautious and even cynical about love. And no one can blame us: all the statistics out there about relationships are really grim. We get into relationships wondering whether they will last; indeed we doubt that they will.

Your relationship can beat the odds.

Contrary to what we have been conditioned to think, love, can last much more than we give it credit for.[1]

A study that was carried out in 2012 revealed that 40% of couples that had been married for a decade indicated that they were still intensely in love.[2] In the same study, 40% of women and 34% of the men among couples that had been married for more than 30 years revealed that they were very intensely in love.

Any relationship is a risk but there are signs that indicate that your relationship is harmonious and it will last a long time.

Here are the 6 types of relationships that are successful and lasting (including a few to avoid):

1. Relationships shared around forgiveness

How do you and your partner deal with conflict in the relationship? Misunderstandings are not the problem in a relationship; how you deal with them is the issue.

A strong relationship does not seek to reduce conflict because there is always going to be some.

Daniel Wilde said, “Choosing a partner is choosing a set of problems.” There is no partner whom you will not fight with, get annoyed at and complain about. Indeed, fighting is good. Research shows that a couple that is not fighting three years into the marriage has an unhealthy relationship.[3]

In a stable, healthy marriage, arguing is not a sign of doom; it is healthy and natural. Successful couples focus their attention on solving the issues rather than attacking the other person. Also, when they resolve the matter, they forgive and forget.[4]

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According to Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D. a licensed marriage therapist, the true measure of the strength of your relationship is how fast you reunite after a disagreement. Spouses who are in strong relations take the initiative to invite each other back into their world after a disappointment.[5]

What to do if you have poor conflicts in your relationship?

Unhealthy relationships are characterized by poor conflict resolution skills.

Do you stay angry with your spouse after you have fought? Do you hold grudges long after you have had misunderstandings? Do you ignore essential issues by sweeping them under the rug? Or do you freeze emotionally and shut down when your spouse has wronged you?

The need to reestablish the emotional connection between you and your spouse and to the desire to restore security in your relationship must override your hurt feelings.

Many times, we must choose between being right and being happy. Holding a grudge will breed resentment, which will in turn destroy your marriage.

It is not about what you fight about, it is how you fight.

2. Relationships that are based on an adventure

Boredom can be a massive obstacle to a lasting relationship. After a period of marriage, it is easy for couples to get into these grey areas where everything is repetitive, predictable, uninteresting and boring.

Between careers, kids and all the side hustles, it can be challenging to stay connected to your partner.

Research shows that couples who enjoy the most intense love are those who enjoy participating in new or challenging activities together. New activities are arousing, which your brain can misinterpret as an attraction to your partner; and reignite the original spark. Seeking adventure is an excellent way to shake it up.

What to do if you feel bored in your relationship?

A study revealed that couples are happier with their relationship after taking part in exciting activities.[6]

New experiences have been found to activate the brains reward system. Novelty floods the brain with dopamine and norepinephrine. These are the same hormones that are released during the early days of romantic love. Doing exciting things together will bring back the excitement you felt on your first date.

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3. Relationships that are built around intimacy

Marriage therapists indicate that a couple who are unhappy with their sex life will strain in their relationship and could even be headed to a split.[7] Sex is essential in cultivating a thriving relationship.

And it gets even more interesting: the more you have sex, the more you want it. The opposite is also true; the less you have sex, the less you want it, and the less you feel connected to your spouse.

Sex boosts the chemical of love. During sex, oxytocin is released.[8] Oxytocin is referred to as the bonding hormone. Very happy couples have sex on average 74 times a year.

What if you aren’t having lots of sex in your relationship?

If you are worried that you are not having enough sex, you will be pleased to know that intimacy is not all about sex. Oxytocin is released when touching, holding hands, cuddling and during extended loving eyes contact. Research shows that a man’s’ oxytocin levels go up by 500 percent after making love.[9]

4. Relationships based on trust

Trust is the most important predictor of long-term relationship success. A relationship will not be strong if there is no trust between the partners.

Is your partner dependable and reliable? Can you count on them?

What about you to your partner? Are you trustworthy? Do you hide purchases? Do you have online relationships that your partner is not aware of? Are you hiding your true feelings from your partner?

Couples in strong relationships do not keep secrets.

What if you have little secrets in your relationship?

Do not be paranoid. Do not focus on the small things where your partner has not been completely honest.

Instead, focus on the big things: Maybe he told you he is a lawyer only to discover later he never passed the bar! Or she said she loves children but later on insists that she would never want to have one.

If you have no belief and trust in your partner, they will never believe in themselves!

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5. Relationships that are built around a shared future

For a long-lasting healthy relationship, the more the similarity, the better.[10] Partners should especially be secure that their values and goals match before they embark on a relationship.

Research done interviewing couples that had been married for 43 years on average revealed that sharing core values, interests and having a similar outlook on life will stack the odds in your favor. A 2009 research study also revealed that that happier couples have the most similar personalities.[11]

All the couples indicated one thing: opposites attract in the movies, but they do not make great marriage partners.

Evidence suggests that people like dissimilar partners more and find them more stimulating but only when the relationships are short term.

For long-term relationships, greater similarity translates into more staying power of the relationship.

What if you aren’t sure about your relationship goals?

Common goals work together make your lives together work in harmony.

What are your goals as a couple? Do you want to start a family together? Are you planning to own a house? How many children do you want? These kinds of common goals will help to strengthen your relationship.

If you ever find that in your mind, intentionally or subconsciously, you do not want your partner to participate in your plans, it is a sign that it is time for you to move on.

6. Relationships that are based on shared vulnerability

Why do many people find falling in love so scary? Why are people afraid of commitment? It is because of an intense fear of vulnerability.

Here’s the thing: many people want relationships, but they are so scared of opening up and being hurt.

Research shows that people fear vulnerability because of the fear of rejection. There is the fear that if someone finds that we are not as perfect, intelligent or strong as we appear to be, they will no longer like us.[12]

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Unfortunately, we cannot build healthy relationships without vulnerability. Vulnerability is the secret to a strong connection. To know that someone loves you for who you are and to love someone else in all their vulnerability is one of life’s most fulfilling experiences.

The fear of vulnerability is a self-sabotaging trait. Your fear of vulnerability will prevent you from being totally engaged in the relationship.

How to know if you and your partner can embrace vulnerability in the relationship?

You can find out if you are afraid of being vulnerable by answering the following questions:

  • Do you fear to expose some parts of your personality that you think your partner may find unacceptable?
  • Does keeping your distance from your partner make you feel safe and in control?
  • Are you embarrassed about exposing your true feelings and discussing difficult topics?
  • Do you have this intense fear that your partner will betray or abandon you?
  • Have you been picking partners who are wrong for you in a bid to stay safe by distancing yourself?

Vulnerability can often be seen as a sign of weakness, but it is actually a strength. It takes tremendous strength, character, and self-confidence to be vulnerable. A genuine partner will respect you for allowing yourself to be vulnerable.

Being vulnerable is very attractive. Honest people are drawn to people who are really authentic and imperfect

A lasting relationship is what you make

Ultimately, be committed to your relationship. The grass is not always greener on the other side.

The biggest killer of relationships is the comparison with those around us. Other couples always seem more beautiful and happier than us.

A happy couple does not look to see what is happening on the other side. They are content with the view out their own front door.

Put in the effort and time and you will get your relationship right where you want it.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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Randy Skilton

Randy is an educator in the areas of relationships and self-help.

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Last Updated on August 19, 2019

How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

We live in a world that constantly tells us what to do, how to act, what to be. Knowing how to be true to yourself and live the life you want can be a challenge.

When someone asks how we are, we assume that the person does not mean the question sincerely, for it would lead to an in depth conversation. So telling them that you are good or fine, even if you’re not, is the usual answer.

In an ideal world, we would stop and truly listen. We wouldn’t be afraid to be ourselves. Instead, when we answer about how we are doing, our mask, the persona we show the world, tightens. Sometimes even more so than it might have been before. Eventually, it becomes hard to take off, even when you’re alone.

Imagine a world where we asked how someone was doing and they really told us. Imagine a world where there were no masks, only transparency when we talked to one another.

If you want to live in a world that celebrates who you are, mistakes and all, take off the mask. It doesn’t mean you have to be positive or fine all the time.

According to a Danish psychologist, Svend Brinkman, we expect each other to be happy and fine every second, and we expect it of ourselves. And that “has a dark side.”[1] Positive psychology can have its perks but not at the expense at hiding how you truly feel in order to remain seemingly positive to others.

No one can feel positive all the time and yet, that is what our culture teaches us to embrace. We have to unlearn this. That said, telling others you are ‘“fine”’ all the time is actually detrimental to your wellbeing, because it stops you from being assertive, from being authentic or your truest self.

When you acknowledge a feeling, it leads you to the problem that’s causing that feeling; and once you identify the problem, you can find a solution to it. When you hide that feeling, you stuff it way down so no one can help you.You can’t even help yourself.

Feelings are there for one reason: to be felt. That doesn’t mean you have to act on that feeling. It just means that you start the process of problem solving so you can live the life you want.

1. Embrace Your Vulnerability

When you are your true self, you can better self-advocate or stand up for what you need. Your self-expression matters, and you should value your voice. It’s okay to need things, it’s okay to speak up, and it’s okay not to be okay.

Telling someone you are simply “fine” when you are not, does your story and your journey a great disservice. Being true to yourself entails embracing all aspects of your existence.

When you bring your whole self to the table, there is nothing that you can’t beat. Here’re 7 benefits of being vulnerable you should learn.

Can you take off the mask? This is the toughest thing anyone can do. We have learned to wait until we are safe before we start to be authentic.

In relationships especially, this can be hard. Some people avoid vulnerability at any cost. And in our relationship with ourselves, we can look in the mirror and immediately put on the mask.

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It all starts with your story. You have been on your own unique journey. That journey has led you here, to the person you are today. You have to be unafraid, and embrace all aspects of that journey.

You should seek to thrive, not just survive. That means you do not have to compete or compare yourself with anyone.

Authenticity means you are enough. It’s enough to be who you are to get what you want.

What if for the first time ever, you were real? What if you said what you wanted to say, did what you wanted to do, and didn’t apologize for it?

You were assertive, forthcoming in your opinions or actions to stand for what is right for you, (rather than being passive or aggressive) in doing so. You didn’t let things get to you. You knew you had something special to offer.

That’s where we all should be.

So, answer me this:

How are you, really?

And know that no matter the answer, you should still be accepted.

Bravery is in the understanding that you still may not be accepted for your truth.

Bravery is knowing you matter even when others say that you do not.

Bravery is believing in yourself when all evidence counters doing so (i.e. past failures or losses)

Bravery is in being vulnerable while knowing vulnerability is a sign of strength.

It’s taking control.

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2. Choose Your Attitude in Adversity

You can take control of your destiny and live the life you want by being true to yourself. You can start anytime. You can start today.

You can start with one day at a time, just facing what happens that day. Most of us get overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of a big change. Even if the only thing we change is our attitude.

In one instant, you can become a different person with a change of attitude. When you take control of your attitude, you become able to better understand what is around you. This allows you to move forward.

Originally, you may have had a life plan. It could have started when you were little; you were hoping to become a mermaid, doctor, astronaut or all three when you grew up. You were hoping to be someone. You were hoping to be remembered.

You can still dream those dreams, but eventually reality sets in. Obstacles and struggles arise. You set on a different path when the last one didn’t work out. You think of all the “shoulds” in your life in living the life you want. You should be doing this…should be doing that…

Clayton Barbeau, psychologist, coined the term “shoulding yourself.’[2] When we are set on one path and find ourselves doing something different. It becomes all the things you should be doing rather than seeing the opportunities right in front of you.

But in all this disarray, did you lose sight of the real you?

It may be in our perceived failures and blunders that we lose sight of who we are, because we try to maintain position and status.

In being who we really are and achieving what we really want, we need to be resilient: How to Build Resilience to Face What Life Throws at You

It means that we do not see all possibilities of what might happen, but must trust ourselves to begin again, and continue to build the life we want. In the face of adversity, you must choose your attitude.

Can attitude overcome adversity? It certainly helps. While seeking to be true to yourself and live the life you want, you will have to face a fact:

Change will happen.

Whether that change is good or bad is unique to each person and their perspective.

You might have to start over, once, twice, a few times. It doesn’t mean that everything will be okay, but that you will be okay. What remains or should remain is the true you. When you’ve lost sight of that, you’ve lost sight of everything.

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And then, you rebuild. Moment after moment, day after day. We all have a choice, and in this moment, that matters.

You can choose to have a positive attitude, seeing the silver lining in each situation and, where there is none, the potential for one. Maybe that silver lining is you and what you will do with the situation. How will you use it for something good?

That’s how you can tap into yourself and your power. Sometimes it happens by accident, sometimes on purpose. It can happen when we aren’t even looking for it, or it can be your only focus. Everyone gets there differently.

You can rise, or you can remain. Your choice.

When the worst happens, you can rely on your authenticity to pull you through. That’s because Self Advocacy, speaking up to let others know what you need, is part of finding the real you.

There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Or sometimes, helping others can help us deal with the pain of a hurtful situation. You decide how you’re going to help others, and suddenly, you become your best self.

3. Do What Makes You Happy When No One’s Looking

Being the best version of you has nothing to do with your success or your status. It has everything to do with your Character, what you do when no one’s looking.

In order to create the life you want, you have to be the person you want to be. Faking it till you make it is just a way to white knuckle it through your journey. You have the fire inside of you to make things right, to put the pieces together, to live authentically. And Character is how you get there.

If you fall down and you help another up while you’re down there, it’s like you rise twice.

Along with attitude, your character is about the choices you make rather than what happens to you.

Yes, it’s about doing the right thing even when obstacles seem insurmountable.  It’s about using that mountain you’ve been given to show others it can be moved.  It’s about being unapologetically you, taking control, choosing your attitude in adversity and being the best version of you to create the life you want.

How do you know what you really want? Is it truly status or success?

Unfortunately, these things do not always bring happiness. And aspects of our image or “performance driven existence” may not achieve satisfaction. Materialism is part of our refusal to accept ourselves as enough. All the things we use to repress our true selves are about being enough.

“Enoughness” is what we truly seek, but ego gets in the way.

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Ego is the perception of self as outer worth. It’s not REAL self worth.

Ego represses our true self with a new self— the self of chasing ‘“Am I ever enough?”’ questions. And instead of filling our true selves with self-love and acceptance, when we “should ourselves” and chase “enoughness,” we feed the ego or our image.

It’s important to realize YOU ARE ENOUGH, without all the material trappings.

Stanford psychologist Meagan O’Reilly describes the damage of not thinking we are enough. One of her tactics for combating this is to complete the sentence,[3]

“If I believed I were already enough, I’d ____”

What would you do if you felt you were enough?

By believing you are enough, you can live the life you want.

So many fake it to try to get there, and they end up losing themselves when they lose more and more touch with their Authenticity.

Final Thoughts

By being yourself, you are being brave. By acknowledging all you can be, you tell the universe that you can until you believe it too. The steps are easy, and you are worth it. All of it is about the purpose you are leading and the passion that is your fuel.

Being true to yourself is all about mastering how to live life authentically rather than faking or forcing it. Having the life you want (and deserve) is about being trusting in yourself and the purpose you are living for. Both need passion behind it, fueling it each second, or you will experience burn out.

When you are authentic, you can call the road you walk your own. When you live your life for you and not just the results of all your actions (faking it till you make it), you can let go of what you don’t need. This clarifies and pushes purpose to you, living for something that is greater than you.

You will find that making decisions based on what will actually achieve your goals, will help you attain the life you want, and your success with each step, will allow you to enjoy the process. Good luck!

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Featured photo credit: Ariana Prestes via unsplash.com

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