Thought Catalog
September 14, 2011

Things To Remember When You’re In A Relationship

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Remember your friends. Friendship is not a vase you can stick in a corner and dust off when you’re ready to use it—it’s a live thing that must be cared for, nourished. Whether you’re in a relationship for the next few months or the rest of your life, your friendships are important and necessary. They will keep you from spinning out of control in ways that your relationship can’t. Don’t neglect them or take advantage of them.

Don’t neglect or take advantage of your partner, either. Remember that they are a person with a family, a dream, a past. Let them be human and make the mistakes you’re both bound to repeat over and over again. Pick your battles. Let them have a bad day at work. Let them call you when they’re drunk. Let them pursue what’s important to them, even when it doesn’t include you.

Pursue what’s important to you. Remember that you’re an individual; that your personal success matters. Have something other than ‘Really awesome girlfriend! :D’ on your resume. Take pride in something. Keep tucked away in the back of your mind that, should there be a breakup, your partner will not be able to take custody of the things you’ve accomplished.

Remember to keep your balance. Remember that your friendships and your family and your job and your alone-time predate your relationship. Consider the ebb and flow of your life: sometimes one thing may need to take precedence for a stretch of time, but it’s up to you to maintain equilibrium when possible. Be fair when divvying up your time—to others, and definitely to yourself.

Take care of your body. Biology doesn’t brake for monogamous relationships. Go to the doctor. Protect yourself. Proceed with caution.

Take care of your mind. If you’re hoping the relationship will fix your broken parts, look forward to being disappointed. No matter how many years you spend with someone, you’re still the sole proprietor of your happiness. Don’t sit around waiting for someone to change how you feel about yourself or your situation.

Notice the way your partner treats people: friends, colleagues, waitstaff. You’re probably getting them at their best, but if you’re appalled by their worst, remember that you might one day find yourself getting the brunt of it. Remember that you are not immune to anything.

You can’t control the course of your relationship or the actions of your partner, but remember that you’re welcome to exercise free will and make the changes you find necessary. If you’re not happy, leave. Someone loved you once and someone will love you again.

Remember that someone loves you. Maybe it’s one or both of your parents, maybe it’s your friends, maybe it’s your partner. If it’s all three, consider yourself lucky. Remember to love back. TC mark

image – Neal Fowler