Being in a relationship is not easy. Because saying those three magical words to someone means you’re giving a piece of your heart to that person, which in turn means that the organ that pumps blood in your body has been divided into two parts, and one part belongs to the SO. So when you’re voluntarily offering another human half of your most important organ, you deserve something in return, right?
Well, philosophies aside, relationships do need time and work. It’s a two-way partnership, and it requires dedication. Here are 7 relationship hacks that people shared that can make your love life as rosy as in fairytales.
1. While the smaller problems need to surface for a healthier bond, the problems that created a mess between you two need clarification, and the unpleasant ones need to be addressed. Fast. Don’t wait till the tension reaches a stage of urgency, because that will lead to more uncomfortable situations.
2. A simple “sorry” can mean a lot of things. Don’t leave you or your SO hanging with that word. Make it obvious. Did it mean “I was bad which harmed you, and I need your forgiveness”? Or was it, “I wish you weren’t feeling negatively the way you are”? Or is it welcoming criticism, saying, “I regret what I did, and I want to do things differently”? Define the sorry.
3. When your partner is verbally letting it fly, give them the space to vent. At that point, they are probably feeling vulnerable, pained or misunderstood. Hitting back is a self-mechanism thing every human experiences when placed in such a situation, but that is not the right time to be defensive. Listen to them, try to understand their cause of distress. Breathe, and let them have their say. And after the situation cools down, converse.
4. If you want to discuss something controversial with your SO, or break the bad news to them, or you need to make any other negative speech or actions, then first make sure that they (and you) have recently eaten. Low blood sugar makes people cranky, irrational and more inclined to anger.
5. Reiterate what you think your partner said and wait to see if you clearly understand before you reply. Do regular kind gestures of appreciation. Admit to yourself when you are unhappy and explore why.
6. If you have to fight, hold hands and go for a walk. It’s very, very, VERY difficult to get angry while holding hands, or while walking together in the same direction.
7. Ego can be the slow poison in any relationship. If he is hurt and not speaking anything, apologize to him and hold him tight. If she is hurt and sobbing uncontrollably, apologize to her and kiss her on her forehead. Remember, being right is much less important than the person that you love.
8. Accept each other’s differences. Maybe you like rock music and she likes EDM. Maybe you like comedy and she likes romance. Sometimes it’s hard to watch a movie that you don’t like but she does, but try accompanying her.
9. Use a silly codeword or phrase to defuse an argument. My wife and I made a pact that we will stop arguing and hug each other if one of us says “red banana”. It can’t just be used to shut someone up, it’s only useful when you’re both angry. Typically someone will calm down enough to remember to say the words, then the other person will laugh and the argument will stop.
10. Remember the adage “never go to bed angry”? I think it’s terrible advice. At night we carry the burden of the day and things tend to get blown out of proportion. Agree to stop fighting. Go to bed. I promise it will look more hopeful in the morning.
Relationships don’t necessarily work on hacks, but adding these small things to your love life can make you and your SO happier.