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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

More by this author

Randy Skilton

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

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Last Updated on January 16, 2020

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

The way you feel about yourself greatly influences how you live and interact with others. If you are confident about yourself, you tend to see yourself positively and actually enjoy spending time with and around people. You don’t feel self-conscious or awkward around others, and that allows you to live your fullest and happiest life.

However, if you’re drowning in a sea of self-doubt, hesitancy and shyness, you often withdraw and isolate yourself from others and avoid interacting and connecting with people. That anxiety you feel in the pit of your stomach when you are around people is holding you back greatly and it is not good for your emotional health and overall well-being. You need to do something about it if you are low in self-confidence or have friends or family members who are not confident.

“Confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you’re better than everyone, it’s walking in not having to compare yourself to anyone” – Anonymous

Here are simple, practical tips to boost your confidence right now and make you feel and act your best.

1. Stop labeling yourself as awkward, timid or shy.

When you label yourself as awkward, timid or shy, you sub-consciously tell your mind to act accordingly and psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. Instead of labeling and entertaining negative self-talk, visualize and affirm yourself as confident and strong. Close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself in different situation as you would like to be.

Be your own cheerleader. Experts believe that positive affirmation and good mental practices like picturing yourself winning or achieving a goal can lead to greater feelings of self-assurance and prepare your brain for success.[1] As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” Picture yourself as confident and soon enough you will begin to manifest behavior that gives evidence to this new ‘fact.’

2. Recognize that the world is not focused on you (unless, of course, you are Kanye West).

That means you don’t have to be excessively sensitive about who you are or what you are doing (or not doing). You are not on the center stage; there is no need for preoccupation with self and perfectionism. As rap music star Rocko sings, “You just do you and I will do me, aight?”

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Forget about trying to please everyone or being perfect. Trying to be perfect and being a people-pleaser puts too much pressure on you and creates unnecessary anxiety. Besides, people are too preoccupied with their own issues to pay much attention to your every move unless, of course, you are a mega famous, super celebrity like Beyonce or Kanye West.

3. Focus on other people as opposed to yourself.

If you are low on confidence, self-conscious, nervous and shy in social situations, focus your attention on other people and what they are saying or doing instead of focusing on your own awkwardness.

For example, think about what it is that is interesting about the person who’s the centre of the party or the guy or girl you are talking with. Prompt them to talk more about themselves and be genuinely curious and interested in what they say. You will instantly come across as confident and warmhearted.

People generally want to talk about themselves, be heard and understood. They will love it when you’re eager and willing to listen to them and really hear what they have to say.

This habit of focusing more on what you love in others as opposed to what you dislike in yourself will not only help you become more assertive and comfortable in virtually all social situations, but also instantly make you feel great about yourself.

4. Know (and accept) yourself for who you are.

Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, author of the internationally acclaimed book The Art of War, said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle with lack of confidence, you will need to know yourself to win.

Knowing yourself starts with understanding that people are not all the same, neither are all social situation suitable for everyone. You might not be confident in large gatherings, but you could be bold and confident in one-on-one and small group interactions. We all have our own unique gifts and unique ways of expressing ourselves. Embrace yours!

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Introverts, for example, have a quiet confidence that is, unfortunately, often confused for shyness. They are naturally low key and prefer to spend time alone. However, this natural disposition affords them certain unique gifts, such as an ability to listen better than most people and notice things that others don’t.

Your uniqueness is where your strength and advantage lies. You won’t be comfortable and confident in all situations all the time. Albert Einstein said,

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

5. Crack a smile.

If there is one sure way to instantly boost your confidence, it’s cracking a smile. Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at The George Washington University, says that flashing those pretty, pearly white teeth will immediately make you appear both confident and composed. But, the effect of smiling is not just external. Studies show that smiling can also help nix feelings of stress and pave the way for a happier and more relaxed you.[2]

Not a bad return for something seemingly so trite, wouldn’t you agree?

6. Break a sweat—with exercise.

Working out is another great way to make yourself feel amazing and confident. Science has shown that exercising increases your endorphins, helps reduce stress, tones your muscles and makes you feel happy and confident.[3]

And hey, all you have to do is take a walk a few times a week and you’ll see the benefits. What seems to matter—as far as your confidence goes—is whether you break a sweat, not how strenuous your session is, which is pretty cool. Start working out now.

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7. Groom yourself.

This might seem mundane, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and shave can have on your confidence and self-image. And when you spritz on a scent, the boost on confidence and self-esteem is incredible. As it turns out, your favorite fragrance does more than make you smell oh-so-nice.

A study found that a fragrance can inspire confidence in men. Interestingly, the study also found that the more a man likes the fragrance, the more confident he might feel. Another study found that 90% of women feel more confident while wearing a scent than those who go fragrance-free.

8. Dress nicely.

Another one that might seem trite, but it works. If you dress nicely, you’ll instantly feel good about yourself and give your confidence a real boost. That is largely because you’ll feel attractive, presentable and sometimes even successful in nice clothes.

While dressing nicely means something different for everyone, it does not necessarily mean wearing $500 designer outfits. It means wearing clothes that are clean, that you are comfortable in and that are nice-looking and presentable, including casual clothes.

9. Do activities you enjoy.

Whether it is reading a book, playing a musical instrument, riding your bicycle or going fishing, do what you really enjoy and what makes you truly happy often. It will boost your self-esteem, soothe your ego and allow you to identify with your gifts and talents. That will in turn bolster your self-belief and grow your confidence exponentially.

You might not become popular for doing what you love, but you might not even want to be popular at all. Being popular doesn’t make you happy; doing what you love does.

10. Prepare for the possibility of rejection / setback.

Late World No. 1 professional tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation.” You need to prepare for the possibility of rejection and setback.

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Why?

Everybody suffers rejection and setback at one point or another. You are not exempted. The question on your mind, therefore, should not be if you will be rejected, but how you will handle rejection when it comes.

Prepare yourself adequately in every situation to minimize the risk and effect of rejection and so that your confidence is not broken. For example, learn public speaking and rehearse what you are going to say beforehand if you have landed a public speaking engagement. That way, you are sure of yourself and confident you have what it takes to hack it. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally.

Rejection and setbacks happen to the best of us. Take it as a learning experience. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

11. Face uncomfortable situations square in the face.

Don’t run away from uncomfortable situations. Running away from people or situations because you feel scared, shy or timid only confirms and reinforces your shyness. Instead, face the situation that makes you uneasy square in the face. For example, go ahead and talk to that person you are afraid to approach, or go straight to the front of your yoga class! What’s the worst that can happen?

Prepare and be ready for any eventuality. The more you face your fears, the more you realize you are stronger than you thought and the more confident you get. This simple, yet admittedly courageous, act makes you unstoppable. You get comfortable being uncomfortable and begin to feel like you can take on the world. And that is the hallmark of someone destined for great things.

12. Sit up straight and walk tall—you are awesome!

Yes, sit up straight and believe you are awesome. Don’t slump in your chair or slouch your shoulders. Experts say the right stance can not only keep your self-esteem and mood lifted, but also lead to more confidence in your own thoughts.[4]

The way to sit is to open up your chest and keep your head level so that you look and feel poised and assured. And when you get up, stand tall and walk like you’re on a mission. People who sit up straight and walk tall are more attractive and instantly feel more confident. Try it now: you’ll feel fierce and confident just by sitting up straight and walking tall.

Featured photo credit: Freshh Connection via unsplash.com

Reference

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