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10 Relationship Tips That Couples Often Forget

10 Relationship Tips That Couples Often Forget

Once a couple of people have settled into a relationship, things can fall into a bit of a rut. Routines form, the attentiveness that was present at the beginning of the courtship might be replaced by content complacency, and ultimately tensions arise. These simple tips may seem like common sense, but you may be surprised at how often people forget about their importance.

Communication is Vital

Very few of us are able to read one another’s minds, so it’s important to express things that weigh on us, whether they’re positive or negative. Little behaviors that bother us can become more irksome over time, so it’s good to address them early, before the irritation accumulates to the point of anger. Similarly, miscommunications can lead to some pretty ugly arguments, so if you’re uncertain about something, try to discuss it calmly so you can sort things out: you may have misheard or misread something your partner said/did and taken it totally out of context, so clarify before freaking out about anything. Even though we may feel that we know our partners well after being with them for several years, remember that we all grow and change over time, and methods of communication must change along with us as needed.

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Never Take Each Other for Granted

Be aware of every wonderful thing that your partner does for you, and express your gratitude whenever possible. This might be as simple as thanking them for doing the dishes after you’ve eaten dinner, or telling them how much it means to you that they make your coffee/tea exactly the way you like it. They’ll feel appreciated for the love and kindness they show you, and will express their appreciation to you in turn, so no one ever feels like their actions aren’t being acknowledged.

Respect Each Other’s Alone Time

Togetherness is important, but just as important (if not more so) is the ability to spend time alone. Too much time spent together can make you irritable, especially if you feel like your personal space is always being invaded. Time alone is necessary for personal reflection, growth, meditation, or even just quiet contemplation. Remember that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and you’ll appreciate your partner a lot more after having some space away from them. If you live together, it might be a good idea to have personal spaces that you can retreat to: either individual offices, or a garage workshop for one person and an attic library for another, etc.

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Don’t “Let Yourself Go”

It’s inevitable that once certain comfort levels have been reached and closeness wins out over early awkwardness, some behavioral patterns will change. You might not spend an hour prepping before dinner to make sure that your hair is perfect, or your partner might wear the same pants for two days in a row without worrying about what you might think of their outfit. That’s totally normal, and really quite hilarious. That said, closer comfort levels don’t mean that you should neglect your personal hygiene, or let your living space fall into complete ruin. You know they’re not going to judge you if you leave pizza boxes all over the floor, but that doesn’t mean that you should. Try to keep things tidy and your appearance a step or two above “slovenly,” and your partner will undoubtedly feel that they’re worth making an effort for.

Share Some Hobbies, and Have Solo Pursuits as Well

You might not share your partner’s love of MMORPGs, and they may not be interested in your love of foreign films, and you know what? That’s absolutely okay. While it’s great to pursue some hobbies and interests together, it’s important to have your own social groups and interests as well. Take cooking classes or swing dance lessons together, hook up with friends to go to wine tasting nights, but then split off for your individual pursuits: you’ll have fun things to talk about when you meet up afterwards.

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Admit When You’re Wrong (or When They’re Right)

This may be difficult for some people to do, but it really is important. If you discover that you’ve been wrong about an issue/bit of information/whatnot, own up to it: you’ll gain your partner’s appreciation and respect if you do, and if you don’t, you’re just proving yourself to be an immature, pouty jerk. Additionally, if you’ve been discussing something and your partner turns out to be in the right, acknowledge that fact: they may have been filled with self-doubt, and acknowledging their awareness or knowledge may boost their self-esteem exponentially.

Have Faith In Your Partner

Having trust and faith in another person can be difficult, especially if you’ve been hurt by others in the past. If you’ve been cheated on or otherwise betrayed by another partner, you might worry that the same thing will happen in your current relationship, and this may cause you to imagine things or accuse your partner without just cause. If you find that your own insecurities are poisoning your partnership, talk it out with them and consider seeking therapy: they’re not the person who hurt you, so please don’t assume that just because one person treated you badly, everyone else will too.

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Leave the Past In the Past

If you work through a hardship together and come to a positive resolution, move past it and use the experience as an opportunity to learn and grow. Don’t refer back to it during arguments, don’t bring it up as a means of guilt-tripping your partner, and try not to assume that just because something happened once, that it’ll happen again. What’s passed is past, and rehashing old ugliness will just poison future happiness. Let it go.

Mutual Goals are Important

It’s great to have a goal or a project that you’re both working on together, as that can affect many aspects of your life outside of your actual relationship. You could be working on an art piece, saving up for a trip, building a cottage, or even working on a garden. Determine your strengths for the project so you’re working in harmony, and build something amazing that you can be proud of having achieved as a team.

Be Honest

Some people lie to their partners for years out of fear of hurting or offending them, but that can lead to a whole lot of ugliness on all sides. The one being lied to will know that something is wrong, and the one lying may feel more and more frustration about holding back and the relationship may end up suffering badly as a result. This honesty doesn’t have to deal with outright lies, but rather personal interests or preferences that may have changed over the years. Alternately, there could be some serious issues that really should be dealt with, but are internalized out of fear of hurting the other person. Ultimately, honesty really is the best policy, and a strong couple will be able to work through just about anything together.

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Catherine Winter

Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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