Tuesday, December 12, 2023
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What older men really want

Lasting Relationships Need These Essential Things

Have you ever caught yourself wondering- what is the most important thing in a relationship?

Is it love, is it physical intimacy or maybe it’s something else entirely.

When we are young and in love, physical closeness and love seem like the only things you need to make a relationship work. But with each grey hair, I’ve realised it takes a lot more than love to make a relationship work and thrive.

No matter how close you are to your significant other, there will always be unspoken expectations. While most of us have a decent understanding of what our partners want, we might fall short sometimes (without even realising). Commitment and a conscious effort to work on your relationship, from both partners is what will make your relationship thrive.

Just like we need vitamins and nutrients to survive, our relationship needs the same. These are some of the vital ingredients to make your relationship successful and withstand the test of time

Trust and honesty —

The most important aspect of a relationship is trust. If you have a solid foundation of trust, very few things can make your relationship crumble. Trust works both ways so it’s imperative that both partners trust each other. No one deserves a love that requires you to constantly worry or keep tabs on your significant other. Trust cannot be gained overnight. It is built slowly and overtime by being honest with your partner. Trust, once broken, cannot be rebuilt easily. The truth can hurt but it’s lies and dishonesty that can break the trust you have in your relationship.  No temptation is worth losing a relationship. It feels good when your partner trusts you.

Happiness —

Happiness is key to a lasting relationship. If you aren’t happy in a relationship, it’s time to get out. You are in charge of your own happiness. It’s not up to your partner, and it isn’t fair to put that pressure on someone else. The health of the relationship depends on both people involved. Prioritise your happiness and it will translate in your relationship as well.

Formula: You happy + significant other happy = Total joy

Compromising —

In a relationship, both the partners should give and take to keep the love alive. Its not always 50-50, infact its never 50-50 at all. At all times one always gives more than the other in the relationship. As long as this ratio is constantly changing and mutual, it keeps the pendulum swinging.

Freedom and independence to do your own thing —

Being in a relationship doesn’t mean you have to lose yourself. Your partner is very important but changing who you are for them can lead to resentment.

Be independent.

Be free to do your own thing with being mindful of your partner.

A relationship is when two individuals come together.

A lasting relationship is when two individuals maintain their individuality while being together.

Safety and security —

Feeling safe with your partner is germane in a relationship. No amount of love can excuse abuse (physical or emotional). If you do not feel safe in a relationship, it will not work. Love is not always enough in a relationship that is full of harm and fear.

Humour —

Laughter is the best medicine. Laughing together and being able to have fun with one another after years of being together can help you face any problem, ditch all your inhibitions and be silly together. Humour and laughter keeps things light and even bring you and your partner closer. Don’t forget to laugh a little today!

Friendship and companionship —

This is probably the most underrated but a foundation building aspect of a relationship.  Friendship helps you build an emotional connection with your partner where you feel safe enough to be your authentic self without the fear of being judged. You can be goofy and have fun with one another, with the added bonus of intimacy. You’re together because you enjoy one another’s company.

Spending quality time with each other —

How does a couple move on from being strangers to being inseparable? Its simply spending time with one another. Quality time together helps you understand one another better, be clued into what’s going on in each other’s lives and also improve your communication with one another.

Loyalty and respect —

Respect is a two way street. Once your relationship has respect, loyalty will follow.  Love with loyalty is more important than just love. When you and your partner have agreed on a monogamous relationship, then loyalty becomes a key aspect. Loyalty is when you choose your partner every single time.  Respecting each other, respecting each other’s thoughts, views, opinions and decisions is a basic building block for a healthy relationship. Love and attraction eventually fade, but mutual respect and loyalty keeps the relationship going.

Forgiveness and empathy —

No one is perfect. Relationships require a lot of empathy and forgiveness. We all make mistakes. You need to have the ability to forgive and forget if your partner apologises sincerely. There may be unforgivable things like cheating that are hard to forgive and you don’t have to but a few genuine mistakes do deserve forgiveness. Empathising with your partner can help you understand and appreciate each other better.

Open communication —

If there is one thing that can make anything and everything possible in a relationship, it’s communicating openly. Talk to your partner in a way that they can understand and you feel heard. Communication can move mountains when it comes to resolving conflict, spicing up your relationship or understanding one another. Don’t be afraid to speak up and speak your mind.

Encouragement —

Encouraging and motivating one another to achieve combined and individual goals feels wonderful. There’s nothing like your favourite person being your number one cheerleader.

To be desired —

The difference between a friendship and a relationship is the physical aspect of it. Men want to feel wanted just as much as women do. Don’t forget to let each other know how desirable they are.  Tell each other. Show each other.

Emotional support and meeting each other’s emotional needs —

Meeting each other’s emotional needs is supreme in a happy relationship. Being emotionally engaged and/or putting another’s needs first does not come naturally to everyone. But that doesn’t mean you can’t work on it or you will never have a close relationship with your partner. Be responsive to each others emotions, validate one anothers feelings and most important being supportive. A relationship can take you on a roller coaster of emotions, but its worth it when you have your partner right by your side.

Check in with one another —

This is the magical solution to most relationship problems. Talk about what you’re feeling, what your expectations are, your thoughts on the relationship and what you think can be improved.  Don’t be afraid to be brutally honest. Ask and you shall receive!

Be a team —

We all need our personal space and alone time, but staying united and strong is a cardinal rule of any successful relationship. Being in a relationship often means donning different roles-

the constructive critique,

the empathetic ear,

the patient partner

the unbiased UN.

Your strengths and weaknesses should compliment one another. Work through rough times and challenging situations together. A strong team can fight through anything together. Teamwork makes the dream work!

Conclusion —

Men are more emotional than they often let on. It’s not just women who are packed with emotions. If you want a healthy relationship, it’s vital that you and your partner make an effort to meet each other’s emotional needs, communicate with one another, work on your relationship everyday and fight against all the odds to be together.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes external intervention like counselling or mediation just might be the way to get your relationship back on track.

It isn’t possible to pinpoint the most important thing in a relationship but a combination of all the above criteria is a sure shot way to form a stable and healthy bond.

Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

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