Have we all not grown up reading fairy tales, daydreaming of our very own happily ever afters?
Hey there, Delilah
Don't you worry about the distance
I'm right here if you get lonely
Give this song another listen.
Have we all not grown up reading fairy tales, daydreaming of our very own happily ever afters? But how often have we reflected upon what a happily ever after costs us, and more importantly, what lies beyond the perfection?
A romantic relationship gets established when two individuals based on their feelings, compatibility, desire for union and mutual affiliation decide to develop a bond. These relationships often occupy one of the most critical aspects of our lives.
Involving profound human emotions that come out of love, these bonds bring a deep sense of fulfilment in our lives.
While each romantic relationship has its unique equation and purpose, there are certain factors which only enhance the sense of fulfilment we seek, thus making it more meaningful. Due to the advancement of technology and the availability of resources, these factors have rapidly changed over the years.
However, there remain individual standard bases upon which a relationship is based and require to get strengthened.
Some key factors that can solidify the foundation are as follows:
1. Self Love:
While without mutual expression of love a relationship ceases to exist, the age-old concept of loving oneself first, then the other is not a myth. It is also required for you to be yourself and not someone else to fit into your partner's expectations at your discomfort.
2. A good listen:
It is essential not to let one's voice drown to keep up with the other, but what is also important is to pay equal attention to the other. We have often felt unheard in different scenarios that have made us feel less important or misunderstood. Thus, it is crucial, especially to maintain a healthy romantic relationship not to let the other person deal with the same.
3. Agree to Disagree:
To keep a relationship going, it is also essential to let go of the fear of conflict. It is acceptable to differ from your partner and have a separate viewpoint that might lead to disagreement. The idea is not to avoid conflict but face it sensibly with maturity.
4. Stay in Love:
As they say, falling in love is easy; staying in love is not. In order to keep the spark alive, it is necessary to take note of mutual interests and keep working on getting it going.
5. Equal importance to own interests and other equations:
It's critical to support your development outside of the relationship, safeguard associations with loved ones, and keep up your distractions and interests.
The basis of any existence gets built on Communication. Without Communication, the entire structure of being would collapse. More so for human beings who inherently are social beings. It is not only essential for us to communicate to create our space in society, but also to maintain a healthy relationship with any individual, be it in the workspace or personal.
When it comes to romantic relationships, couples need to discover a method of expression that is customized according to their relationship. Any process of successful and healthy Communication requires practice and hard work. It is futile to expect flawless Communication that does not involve conflict ever; conflicts are an essential part of youthful expression.
However, there are other factors like active listening involved as well.
Communication is always based on expressing and receiving. Expressing is absolutely essential to make oneself feel heard, but, at the same time reception is equally important to bring the process to a complete circle.
As an active listener, you can enable your partner to discover her/his emotions about a specific issue she/he is having.
With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of unforeseen adverse situations have popped up that have lagged active participation and Communication in relationships. These adversities have not only hampered new connections but equations at different stages.
It might be extremely overwhelming for some to be spending all the time together, without any scope for personal space while for others months of not being able to see each other are mentally dilapidating.
It is crucial to make this time apart or together beneficial for one's own as well as mutual growth.
To make it easier for you to relate, we have studied a few cases that would act as instances of different stages of a relationship:
1. Rahul (25), and Sneha (23) met online on a dating app during the initial stages of the pandemic. It hit off well and quickly between them, however, with progressing difficulties of being able to meet each other in person has led to fading out of the initial sparks. In today's fast-paced world and changing definitions of relationships, youngsters often come across numerous options that enable them to replace the "other" almost instantly. Thus, making it difficult for one particular link to take shape as it requires patience, Communication and time. It is essential to bridge this gap and take the progress ahead slow.
2. Avishek (30) is an investment banker based in the UK while his long-term partner Avantika (29) is a fashion designer based in New Delhi, India. Owing to their busy schedules and distances that keep them apart, the pandemic has only further stalled any chances of reunion any time soon. They were planning to get hitched in the coming year, plans of which as well has been delayed and now they have been left wondering about even the essential chances of getting to meet each other. In such cases, couples alike need to improvise ways of Communication and keeping the spark alive tailored uniquely to their equation.
3. Shamit (46) and Dhruti (37) decided to part ways after 11 years of marriage right before the lockdown, due to personal differences. However, the lockdown has only made them realise how important the other was in each of their lives and recollect years of living together. Owing to the ego and differences, on the other hand, both have been left contemplating whether it would be logical enough to get back in touch or reconcile. It acts as an example of how it is essential to put across authentic emotions and thoughts actively, that might make vast differences.
4. Punit (32) and Roshni (30) met through their parents and married earlier this year. However, pandemic and staying together for months has made them realize how different they are as human beings. It has become more of an obligation to be together due to social constructs and like two strangers living under one roof. Roshni has been left thinking whether she should take a final decision instead of just dragging things unnecessarily.
1. Identify your and your partner's communication style:
If we have to keep healthy Communication going, the focus should get shifted to a mutual communication style that comprises both the individual's requirements.
2. Be present in a relationship:
Differences are inevitable. However, it is essential to be active in the contact not to make the partner feel like the only person involved. Avoid multitasking or being on your phone while the other person is talking.
3. Draw Boundaries:
As mentioned before, while it is essential to keep mutual interests alive, it is also necessary to maintain certain personal boundaries that are for yourself. Boundaries help to strengthen the bond between the couple as the expectations are set in a healthy and apt manner.
4. Focus on individual goals and support each other:
Most important factor in a relationship is that the partners focus on their individual growth and help one another achieve their respective goals. Too much interference in each other's life can impact the sanctity of communication and trust.
5. Listening in a relationship:
Focused listening with compassion is vital in a relationship. One should listen to understand the other and not just merely respond.
6. Express authentic feelings & emotions:
Authenticity is key. Avoid racketing of emotions. It is extremely important to maintain transparency regarding one’s own thought and emotions.
7. Admit mistakes and take responsibility:
The natural human tendency is to focus on the flaws in the other above oneself. It is crucial to equally concentrate on one's negatives and lacking to deal with an adverse situation maturely.
8. Use the 48-hour rule & start over:
In times of extreme adversities where no conclusion and solution can be made, one can take the 48-hour method to cool down and then start again with a non-heated mind.
9. Respect for each other:
There must be mutual respect for each other in order to nourish the relationship. Respect is one of the greatest expressions of love.
1. Schedule your time as per each other's convenience:
Hectic schedules, work pressure and stress can override the decided time which you wished to connect each other at. Similarly, living across different parts of the world is a tough job. It might be the other's time to call it a night while you wake up in another time zone. Pick a time suitable to both to at least talk once every day.
2. Prefer voice/video calls over text:
Texting might be more convenient to keep going amidst your busy schedule. However, voice or video calls enable you with at least a virtual physical presence of the other, making it a more effective way of Communication.
3. Do things together online & have a discussion about it:
It is not always impossible to share mutual activities and interests while living apart. There are multiple platforms and devices through which you can stream a movie in real-time and watch it simultaneously. You could also enroll in similar online courses or activities together.
4. Add the element of surprise through gifts:
Sending gifts can lead to strengthening of the bond. It is one excellent way to appreciate the other person’s presence in your life. You can choose a gift that can be affordable and sends out the right message.
5. Don't give up on each other; remember why you started?
Remember when things were new, and you could not have asked for anything more? How special and different the other person made you feel? There must have been something that made you choose him/her above others. Believe. Do not let go.
6. Plan to meet each other:
Take the flight and surprise your partner with a visit. There’s nothing better than being physically present with your partner.
1. Check-in daily (Developing the habit of communication):
Being apart paves a plethora of ways to regularly check on your partner. Keeping a tab everyday makes the other feel cared for. A regular check-in nurtures the bond. It is one of the simple ways to let your partner know, you are there for each other.
E.g., How was your day?
How are you feeling today?
2. Don't assume (clarity in expression /understanding is a must):
Do not hesitate to clarify a doubt or ask a question. Assumption may lead to misunderstandings that are uncalled for. It is always preferable to ask a second time.
E.g., I'm slightly confused; please tell me more about it.
3. Listen well (Be in the moment with your partner, Listen well):
Active listening yet again, especially when apart can gap huge differences and make your partner feel acknowledged.
4. Avoid Sarcasm:
Who doesn’t like a dash of wit and humour in a conversation? However, it is advisable to not go overboard with it, especially in times of confusion and tender moments. Handle with care.
E.g., Oh! So now I have to wait to talk to you for another day
5. Avoid being Punitive:
Do not unnecessarily punish your partner. Misunderstandings can be cleared with effective communication. If at all a solution cannot be arrived at, take some time off to unwind and cool off. Do not punish.
6. Evaluate the relationship with each other:
Even when together, it is very important to evaluate your mutual standings from time to time. This gives better clarity to where your relationship is headed and what your expectations are from each other.
E.g., How do you feel about us together?
How are we progressing on the relationship front?
7. Nothing is permanent (Have a positive attitude, problems can be solved, build a way out):
While active efforts make a relationship stronger, nothing at times can be enough to keep going. One needs to realize that nothing, no problem lasts forever. Give time, be positive.
8. Be Responsive:
Your partner reaches out to you as he/she wants attention so be it a quick call, message, meeting, the more you are with each other, the stouter the bond is. It is alright to be busy, and to not respond instantly every time. However, do make sure to get back whenever you can.
9. Convey your stress:
Communicate stress and negativity alongside all things positive.
10. Golden words:
Make it a practice to say thank you and sorry when necessary.
11. Compliment each other big time:
Remember the last time that someone special called you beautiful and how it lit up your mood? Practice giving compliments to the other as well. You might just make their day better.
1. Avoid freezing them out during conversation as that can escalate the issue:
Heated arguments are dreaded. However, just in order to avoid further escalation of a matter do not freeze them out. Take the other way round. Where there is a will, there is a way.
Do not overpower, dominate or obstruct your partner’s opinions. Be empathetic and sensible. It can make wonders.
3. Bringing past issues during arguments will only make it bitter if not worse:
Let go of things past. Do not bring up issues already solved during your moment of anger.
4. Trying to improve the other should not be the main motto of life. Accept them as they are and not how you want them to be:
Everyone is flawed. Even you are. It is futile to forcefully change someone to suit your own preferences. Accept the flaws, love will flourish.
5. Constant comparison with other people or ex-flings could create insecurities in the partner:
Again, accept your partner along with their flaws. You cannot forcefully change someone until and unless they themselves want to change. Do not bug the other person by continuously comparing them with something that is better according to you.
6. Taking him/her for granted should be a strict NO!:
With passing time, boredom might arise wanting you to look at more interesting ways of living your life. Do not let this, however, make your partner feel taken for granted, ignored or like a second option.
7. Avoid emotional blackmailing as it does not resolve the matter:
Manipulation can be extremely emotionally abusive. Blackmail being one of them. Do not blackmail to get your own interests fulfilled.
1. Are you defensive in times of disagreement?
Whenever a critical issue pops up, do you find yourself building defense mechanisms in your head to keep responsibilities at bay? Take responsibility for your own actions and do not push them away.
2. Do you recognize your partner’s effort?
Making extraordinary efforts at your end might make you feel like the Robin Hood in your relationship. However, this must not make you focus only on your own efforts but also recognize your partner’s efforts and encouragement. Make them feel acknowledged.
3. Do you use “I” too often?
A relationship flourishes only when it works two ways. Do not make it all about you. Acknowledge and make it about “Us” instead of “I”.
4. Do you overlook personal growth?
While a relationship occupies a chunk of our daily lives and mental build up. While you should not make it all about yourself. Do not at the same time make your relationship the Centre of your world. Do not stress yourself. Sort out your priorities and split your attention, focus on personal growth as well.
5. Are you willing to leave?
While ending a relationship just with any other problem definitely does not speak for a matured equation, realizing when it is time to leave, recognizing when things are a bit too overwhelming, and your threshold of compromise is necessary. Do not force yourself to stay in a relationship that is abusive and hampers your growth and mental health.
Sustaining relationships can only be possible through effective communication, mutual trust and respect for each other. The success of any healthy relationship lies in the hard work that we put in. Most of the time, couples are unaware of each other’s feelings and that creates the misunderstanding.
So practice the trio mantra of listen, speak and understand to benefit mutual ties and create a bond of love and trust.