Setting the stage for a good relationship means being honest from the start. Do you have to put it all out there on date 1? No. But, as things come up they should be discussed with honesty.
What does a good relationship look like?
- If something bothers you let the person know at that time. Don’t bottle it up and wait to share it later.
- If you have a major dream or goal make sure they’re on board with it. And don’t agree to major dreams or goals you won’t be able to follow through on.
- Be honest about your desires and beliefs around high stakes issues like monogamy, children, sex, and money.
- Imagine your life with the current person rather than what you believe they can become later.
- Protect a sense of “me” by maintaining hobbies, rituals, and friends. And offer flexibility by creating new hobbies, friends, and rituals with your partner.
- Make sure you use the word “us” when making a tough decision together. “That is not good for us” or “we decided we can’t come”.
- Avoid criticism, defensiveness, and stonewalling. This means don’t make your partner the problem, take responsibility for your part, and learn to soothe yourself so you’re not shutting them out.
- Accept influence by allowing yourself to compromise.
- When things get tough don’t advertise it to every friend and family member out there. Keep your relationship sacred. Choose a few trusted people to confide it. But only after you’ve tried to work it out with your partner.
- Build good memories! Have a lot of fun in the beginning! This will be your foundation of memories when things get tough.
- Dream together. Talk about your future life. Get excited.
- Learn to connect with each other’s friends. Learn to love each other’s friends – even for their differences. Long term partnership takes a community of people surrounding you with love.
How else do you think people set the tone for a good relationship?
*would like to add, it’s never too late to start being authentic. If you didn’t start this way, try now. It’ll uncover the true relationship.
Elizabeth Earnshaw, LMFT is the founder and Clinical Director of A Better Life Therapy. She supports individuals and couples to develop healthy and fulfilling relationships. She is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, right next to City Hall!