Patience, Understanding, Kindness, Respect, Determination
Let me preface this by saying that I am by NO means a “relationship expert”, I am simply a woman, with experience, a therapist, and what I would consider a healthy relationship at the moment –no, I am not bragging…it hasn’t been easy…as a matter of fact its been very very hard to get here.
While I am no certified expert, I think that these five pillars that I am going to share with you today will support you in finding and creating a healthy, happy relationship. Here are my 5 things that make a relationship work.
I am a cisgender female, 24 years young *cringe*, 24-years-old, living in Northern British Columbia, Canada. When I decided to make my move from Langley, B.C. (LOWER MAINLAND REPRESENT!) to Northern B.C., I was dating my high school sweetheart. I was also very much my mother’s daughter. Living with your parents–especially living with opinionated parents–means that you really aren’t your own person until you experience the world on your own for the first time. (This is just based on my personal experience)
Moving an 8-hour drive away, and not knowing anyone meant that I had a lot of time alone. While it meant I cried a lot…it also meant I got to do more of the things that made me happy! And finally…it meant my experiences were mine alone, and I had no one else’s opinions in my ear but my own.
My high school sweetheart and I were not the best match, and honestly…I am not sure how we’d managed to stay together for 4 years (on and off). We were so different (at the time), and I still had my mother’s influence. I love my mom, don’t get me wrong…but when it comes to relationships…we just view things very differently, which is fine because she’s reacting based on her experiences…but her experiences aren’t necessarily going to be mine.
I used to take her words like they were gold, and applied them to my life…but the thing is…they were based on her experiences…how could I go the rest of my life leading it through my MOM’s experiences and not mine?
When I went down to visit my parents for the first time since moving to Prince George, and my high school sweetheart didn’t come bid me adieu the night before I was due to leave…I decided that that was my last straw – only it wouldn’t be because letting go of the known for the unknown, can be really hard.
My reasoning to break it off with him right then and there was because my mom and dad could not believe that he hadn’t come over to say goodbye the night before my 5 am flight. To my parents it was simple, he was being disrespectful, and didn’t deserve my time. For my parents, it was expected that their daughter’s boyfriend would love her enough to say goodbye before leaving for who knows how long.
Now, after three years of living on my own, I agree with my parents. Although this is an expectation…it is also something that is kind, and respectful to me…and I would do it for my Significant Other (SO), so naturally, I would want it reciprocated.
I confronted him and told him how much my feelings had been hurt that he
hadn’t come to say goodbye before I left. I tried to break up with him…but he wanted another chance, so I gave him one.
Another month of him half-assing our relationship (IMO) and I’d had enough. I decided that I finally had to rip the gosh darn bandaid off, and MOVE ON! So in January 2019 I broke up with him for good.
And 3 weeks later I met the man of my dreams.
Divine Timing, baby!
Looking back I see that my parents had a lot of expectations on how I should be treated…and you know what, I get it…I am their daughter and they wanted the BEST for me, naturally! The thing is though…I am my own person and I get to decide what I am okay with, and what I am not okay with.
Looking back I realize I was not my own person, and that relationship really didn’t stand a chance because I was not self-aware. I was fully in my ego, and being fully in my ego had a lot to do with my environment.
Moving away made me humble-the-fuck back down.
My lover’s name is Jake, and he is literally the replica of my dream man I’d dreamt up for myself when I was a young tween. Have you seen twilight? Yeah? Picture Taylor Lautner… but hotter…that’s the man I wanted. *insert drool emoji here* And the man I got ;)
The thing about the 5 things that make a relationship work is that they’re not
about your partner…they’re about you. At least my five healthy relationship tips are! I find that a lot of the time we are so quick to blame others for their faults…but what about our own? It’s easy to judge and tear someone else down when they aren’t meeting our expectations…but are our expectations reasonable? I now know that unreasonable expectations can be detrimental to a relationship.
Okay, enough about my past, here is tip number 1 in my 5 things that make a relationship work.
1 Relationships Require Patience
You know how the saying goes. “Patience is a virtue.” And so it is. My boyfriend is a hothead, and so am I. We are two Scorpios in love…this, allegedly comes with a lot of emotion, passion, and negativity (according to astrology). At the end of the day, what the stars say does not define who I am, I get to define myself.
While I am a hothead, and fully acknowledge it, I grew up in a home where learning to be patient was praised. Which is why for me patience is something I am constantly working on. I know I can lose my temper easily…but is there really a benefit to that for anyone?
Right off the bat I knew patience with my new relationship was going to have to be something I had plenty of because bad habits don’t die easy, and there were quite a few habits that we needed to work on collectively to make our relationship work.
Patience is one of the many pillars of a successful relationship. When you have an argument, it takes patience to understand where the other person is coming from, it takes patience to explain where you are coming from. It takes patience to not get upset when something is spoken into existence that bothers you, and instead handle it in a proactive way.
I began manifesting patience into my life over a year ago. I knew I needed more of it to make my relationship work, I knew I needed more in general. So I asked the universe for it, and have received and continue to.
2 Understanding Makes You Sympathetic To Your Partner
If you can’t be understanding…I honestly am not sure how you can go through life, let alone have a prosperous relationship…
There’s always a reason for everything, whether we know it or not. This is why we can’t rush to anger before fully knowing what our partners are saying to us. A great mindset to have is to pretend you’re a journalist! Be curious and get hungry to understand your partner’s concept.
Being understanding allows for fewer misunderstandings to occur, therefore allowing more time to love, laugh, and be happy.
Something to keep in mind is that you’ll never know another person’s full story…even if they are your partner and you’ve been together for 50 years…there are things that have happened to them that you might not hear about for years or ever, which is why equipping your relationship toolbox with Understanding is so important. Being understanding allows you to have sympathy for the person’s past while giving you a clear picture of why x, y, and z bothered them.
Understanding gives you the power to correct yourself and not do whatever it is that bothered them again.
3 Without Kindness Can There Be Love In A Relationship?
I say no. When you love something you should be kind with it.
Kindness in a relationship is more than bringing your SO coffee in bed with they’re sick, or picking up extra soy milk for them at the grocery store because you saw they were running out. Kindness extends to things such as allowing them to express their worries or fears with you. Having this type of kindness isn’t always innate. It takes a lot of personal training *not the gym kind* to be able to be self-aware and catch yourself at times when you aren’t being kind to your partner’s wants or needs.
A lot of the time in my relationship I want to be right, no matter the cost…I am still trying to figure out exactly where that stems from…ego definitely plays a HUGE role…but I know that there is more to it. Anyway, back to being right…it has cost me a lot of restless nights, yelling, and slammed doors…all because I wasn’t actively being understanding or showing kindness to his experience.
As someone who spent a lot of time listening to other people for my career as a journalist…I realized my listening skills were very poor with the people that mattered most. I know I am not alone though. Listening is not an easy skill to learn. As a matter of fact…a lot of us think we’re great listeners…but the reality is you’re probably not. Unless you’ve gone through extensive personal training (not at the gym with a trainer) or are just extremely self-aware…I don’t think you are.
It takes kindness to want to understand and hear your partner to get a better picture of where they’re coming from and come to a resolution.
4 A Relationship Must Maintain Respect
It’s easy to get comfortable with those that you love…so comfortable you might begin to treat them poorly because you begin to take them for granted. Don’t
worry, we’ve all done it. Catching yourself and correcting yourself is the trick.
Respect will differ from person to person, for example, some people are okay with their children calling them by their first name…while others may not be, your partner might think interrupting them is disrespectful…while for you interruption is not.
How someone respects you should be one of the first things you notice about them, it plays a HUGE deciding factor on whether you continue a relationship with them, or nip the bud. My go-to reminder when I feel like I need to check in on my respectometer* is “Am I treating others the way I would want to be treated?” * Respectometer: Meter of respect for others
When your partner points something out that they may have found disrespectful, be kind and listen, understand, and respect how they feel. I do want to point out that this should be within reason...and shouldn't be something possibly dangerous.
I know, it’s SO simple, and we’ve heard it a BILLION times…but it’s true…why would you treat the person you LOVE THE MOST with less respect than you would want for yourself?
In my personal relationship, it took patience, understanding, and kindness to fully wrap my head around why some things I’d said or done were disrespectful to my partner. I reflected and asked myself how I would feel if the same had been done to me. Once I understood, I knew that in order to continue having a healthy relationship with my dream man, I would have to not do/say what I’d done/said ever again.
See, it all comes down to self-awareness, understanding, and kindness. Becoming a better person isn’t easy, but it’s something your partner should keep you striving for. If you feel yourself becoming angry or sad a lot, it’s time to reflect on why. I believe everyone in our life is a mirror and they’re here to show us the things about ourselves that need work. Every day is a new day to be better than the last.
5 It’s Determination That Keeps You Going
We all have aspirations of living with our SO in our dream home while loving our jobs, having babies, travelling together, retiring, moving to the suburbs, and loving each other until our last breath.
If you want that, you need to be determined.
Not determined on correcting your partner…but determined on correcting yourself. Here’s another cliche quote for ya… “Nothing good ever comes easy.” It’s so true though! It’s not easy to call yourself out…it’s NOT easy to be your OWN coach and catch your bullshit when you’re bullshitin’. But that’s the beauty of becoming a self-aware individual. That’s the beauty of life.
I want to highlight something that I mentioned earlier. Earlier we spoke of the expectations I had for my high school sweetheart, and how they were influenced by my parent’s wants for me. Expectations are not bad, they’re great to have–in a balanced way.
I am a believer that everything in moderation isn’t bad, which is why I believe even our negative emotions aren’t bad. For example, when you feel a negative emotion it really should be a red alert to your brain that triggers self-reflection.
Having expectations keeps us from allowing bad apples into our lives, having unreasonable expectations is your 1-way ticket to “lose a man in 10 days” ;)
I hope my 5 things that make a relationship work, work for you. Feel free to give me a shout on Instagram if you have any questions.
Veronica Beltran -Veronica joined the Modern Match Lingerie Team in 2020. She has been a vegan for five years and has a passion to help inspire others through her social media to take the leap into the #plantbased world. While advocating for animal rights, she also advocates for the environment. Veronica was previously a news reporter, anchor and weather woman.
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