Among the ups, the downs, the way, way ups, and the oh-no-do-we-need-to-break-up downs, it’s no secret that relationships are tough. But the sweet reward of being loved and getting to love someone in return is what inspires all of us to navigate these choppy waters. Sometimes, though, we need help figuring it out. We asked the Cut’s readers to anonymously share the best relationship advice they’ve ever received. Below, their pearls of wisdom.
2. That I cannot choose to prioritize the desires, whims, or life choices of a significant other at the expense of losing my sense of self. If I become the best version of who my partner wants me to be (or who I think he wants me to be), I’m camouflaging all those wonderful parts of me that exist with or without that person.
3. When you get married, make sure the person you choose is someone you’d not only want to marry but also to divorce. For me, it highlights the importance of choosing someone who is gentle, caring, and good-hearted not only in the good times but also in the bad times.
4. A good friend once told me that you have to “fit your own oxygen mask first.” I was in a really bad place with depression and anxiety and trying to make a relationship work that was never going to work, fixing all of his issues and neglecting my own. It was the most intense wake-up-call piece of advice I’ve ever received, and I now repeat it like a parrot to anyone asking for advice. You can’t help anyone else until your own oxygen mask is firmly fitted.
5. Relationships are not 50/50. They’re 100/100. You have to give all that you’re capable of giving to your partner (love, understanding, forgiveness, acceptance), and expect that in return.
6. Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want to be loved doesn’t mean they don’t love you. That really opened me up to thinking about new ways of appreciating people, and made me less angry. I was always expecting people to act how I wanted them to, but that is impossible 90 percent of the time.
7. When I got married, everyone told me, “Never go to sleep angry!” Well, I found the exact opposite to be true. Sometimes, it’s really good to step away from a heated conversation or disagreement and, you know, sleep on it. Wake up fresh, renewed, and maybe with a different perspective.
8. “When people show you who they are, believe them.” This advice is perfectly captured in this slumber-party video of Oprah and Maya Angelou. Everyone needs this in their life.
9. When there’s conflict, turn inward to the relationship rather than outward to others. Not sure where I heard this, but it’s affected my relationships so positively. When something comes up, rather than talking shit about my partner to my friends, I try to talk directly with him to hash it out. It increases intimacy and prevents your friends from permanently thinking poorly of your partner over what was likely a temporary problem.
10. Before starting an argument or getting upset over something small, ask yourself, Do I want to choose intimacy or anger? It may seem like a no-brainer, but checking in with myself that way has helped me recognize when my emotions might be getting the better of me in any given situation with my partner, and reminds me that most things are not worth fighting over. There is usually a better way to communicate or understand where my partner is coming from.
11. “Fuck happiness.” This advice stuck with me because it’s so to the point and so opposite of what we’re taught to think. We are so sold on “happily ever after,” but relationships are at their deepest when you can deal with and support each other through the stupid days, the downtrodden days, the boring days. Happiness isn’t the goal; it’s the result.
13. “Don’t go into it thinking they’re the one.” This was super important because I feel like if you go through betrayal at a young age (21 for me, at the time) you just want to find your person and enjoy and grow with them and live happily ever after. Oftentimes, by wanting this so badly, you push other people into boxes that they don’t want to be in, instead of taking things at face value, and the situation blows up in your face fairly quickly.
14. The best relationship advice I’ve received is something I literally found on a therapy website: Be honest, with your partner AND with yourself. This seriously helped me through a rough patch in my relationship, and reminds me that I can only be honest with my partner if I’m honest about how I’m feeling on my own first.
15. Best piece of advice was oddly from a film … in the Richard Curtis film About Time, Bill Nighy’s character tells anyone looking for love to find someone kind. It is such an underrated but essential trait in any partner, and one that isn’t put high enough on “the list.” It struck such a chord with me and I think about it daily in how I approach both romantic, platonic, and professional relationships.
16. My mom told me when I was 15, “Boys are like buses, a new one comes around every 15 minutes, so there’s no point of crying when you miss the first one.” It made me realize that life goes on after a breakup, even when it feels like the end of the world. There will be plenty of opportunities to find love, and you can’t take rejection so seriously, especially when you’re young.
17. “Staying is a choice.” My mom told me this when my marriage was clearly over and I felt powerless, terrified, hopeless, all those dark places you go when you know that it’s over but you stay and stay and stay, and try and try some more, only to come to the same heartbreaking conclusions. I learned to love myself above all else and to love myself enough to leave.
18. As women, we tend to want to nest and nurture and love. Sometimes it means we try to fit a square peg into a round hole. When they’re not right for you, let them go. I watched my mom do it for 20 years and then I did it for 4 years. Thankfully, I learned my mother’s lesson.
19. Your partner is not a mind reader, whether it’s flowers or sex positions. You can’t expect them to know your needs and desires unless you tell them.
20. It’s not about finding the person you want to share one life with. It’s about finding the person you want to live your life with, like two separate lanes going in the same direction. It’s the kind of relationship you have with your sisters, your best friends, and hopefully one day, a partner.
Source: The Cut
Don’t let petty fights ruin your relationships
It might be true that an argument here and a misunderstanding helps a relationship get stronger, if you have been getting into regular fights over trivial issues such as not answering the phone, leaving the TV?on, and the like, there’s time for a long and hard think.
Constant squabbles about things that mostly don’t matter can end up hurting a relationship.
Address your resentment
“There is a variety of reasons why couples end up fighting with each other often. Most common reason is some resentment that has been lingering in the past and there was no proper communication about that, and it ends up being discussed in a form of a petty fight,” says Dr Harsheen Arora.
Which is why it is important to communicate your hidden resentments and frustrations that you have towards your partner. When you communicate properly, explaining what upset or hurt you, more often than not, the partner will try to solve it.
Increased Work Pressure
“People vent out their work related frustrations on their partners, thinking that since they love them, they will understand their frustration,” says Dr Anil Sethi, a psychologist. That is a very irrational assumption to harbour. Your partner may be your safe place and even offer a welcoming space to express yourselves, they are not your punching bag. Ask for time to gather yourself or devise activities to chill out together.
Learn to say sorry
“One of the best ways to avoid any fight is to say sorry. Even if it’s not your mistake, and your partner is at fault, saying a sorry goes a long way to calm both of you down in a fight.”
“A person who accepts his mistake by saying sorry is a good human being, but a person who says sorry, even when it’s not their mistake is a better human being,” adds
Don’t respond in anger
If one of the partners in a relationship is short-tempered, the other partner should try to avoid reacting in a similar way.
Even if it’s a small issue, the partner should be able to tackle that complaint in the most tactful of ways.
For example, consider saying ‘I know you care but I was upset when you did this’, instead of ‘You hurt me’.
Relationship tips: Most couples understand each other after 40 years
I am a 25-year-old woman and I have been in a relationship for the last three years. I want him to propose to me and take things even further. However, I first want to know if he is on the same page as I am. How should I go about it without making it shocking for him? – JK
JK, speaking of shocking, I’m writing this answer to you, on the occasion of Holi. And unfortunately, I’m stained with colour. Not because of Holi, but because my fountain pen has leaked all over my sleeve. Yes, I’m one of three people left in the world who still use fountain pens. The other two being Kim Jong Un and basketballer Kareem Abdul Jabbar. You asking him to propose to you is actually not him proposing you. In truth it’s you, proposing to him, to propose to you. Why not just send him a text, suggesting the proposal. Sign it with your initials J.K. If he reacts awkwardly, you can always just point of it’s a case of J.K. That is, just kidding. But after 3 years can’t you tell if he’s keen or not? These answers are generally pretty obvious. Now thanks to the ink, my shirt looks like the Delhi Capital teams uniform. Makes you wonder if it’s worth paying so much money to fancy fashion designers in the first place, JK!
I am a 34-year-old unmarried man. My family has been searching for a suitable alliance for me. However, nothing has worked out so far. I am planning on trying out a few dating applications to see if anything works out. Just in case, if it works, how should I present it to my parents? — UM
You can stage a play in a big auditorium, and have the gal of your choice play the lead role. And at the curtain call, she can introduce herself to your parents. By saying “I am UM’s chosen one, dear parents”! Or you can just share the link. Magadheesha the Sinhalese Saint of lesser virtue, once went hunting for a deer. However, he got distracted by a tapeworm. So caught up with the tapeworm was he, that during this time all the deer migrated. Hence today, Deer are hard to find in Sri Lanka, but tapeworms are available at all general provision stores, except on Sundays. UM, the morale of this story is when you get distracted by something else, you may lose the main thing. Your focus should not be your parents. It should be on finding your deer. Sorry, your female companion. Stop worrying about the tapeworm, and channelize all energies on the girl
I am a 26-year-old woman. I have been in a relationship for the last year but I am not really sure if I want to spend the rest of my life with him. How can I get that secure feeling and if it doesn’t work, how should I pass on the message to him in a subtle manner? — VC
VC, here’s a foolproof method, poke him in the ribs with your hardest fingers. (You could also use an implement like a comb or pen). If he gets angry and pulls your hair, or stamp on your feet, get rid of him. If he, instead, laughs and asks you to do it again, but this time with a harder implement like a hockey stick, or a cricket bat, he’s the one for you. No!!! VC, VC, VC. If you look forward to meeting him, if you think about him all the time, if you want to share all your thoughts and feelings, and if he’s comfortable around you, and by that I mean he’s happy to dig his nose in your presence, then you guys are good to go. I’m not a huge fan of this I rest of the life nonsense. Let’s get to know each other one day at a time. And by each other, I mean you and him. Not you or me. And definitely not him and me.
I am a 29-year-old man. I am getting married within the next two months. It is an arranged marriage and hence, I have not got much time to know my partner. Is there any way I can get to know more about her in less time? Please help. — GK
First the bad news. Arranged marriages cost the same as love marriages. Sometimes more. But never less. You still have to pay for the venue, the caterers, the entertainment, the flowers, the licenses, valet parking security, mother-in-law’s lengthy make-up etc. But yes 60 days is less time. Most couples only really understand each other after 40 years. And that’s generally when one discovers the other had a separate bank account on the sly. Or a family in another state. The obvious answer, is spend every waking hour together. But, GK, by now you should know, I hate the obvious. In fact, the biggest grouse heard by married couples, is how do I keep my marriage fresh? How do we keep it novel? Exciting? Why not try not knowing too much? It’s a bit of a lottery, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. No pre-judgements, just fresh news every day, going forward. Ultimately human beings always disappoint each other. So less knowledge, is a pretty positive gamble.
Six millennial women get together and discuss love in the time of the dating app revolution.
Is loving someone and being in love the same thing? It might sound like an unnecessary technicality, but allow me a few more words to explain. The one who says those ‘three beautiful words’ aka “I love you” doesn’t necessarily have to be in love with you. No, Mills & Boon classics’ elements, Bollywood songs on snow-capped peaks, violins in the background and other similar things don’t happen, at least not in real life. If you, however, are experiencing something similar, you need to speak with someone and soon. Jokes apart, though. In today’s day and age, love is becoming practical, and it probably is not such a bad thing. Unless you choose a different path of finding your plus one in your time, no rush or pressure or stress.
One of Imtiaz Ali’s films a few years ago spoke about love in the practical age and how it’s the most impractical concept. Perhaps. What’s heartwarming is that love as a concept or the idea of it is a topic that never loses meaning, depth and the people making stories on it inevitably circle back to it in one way or another.
So can you find love on a dating app? We know we use it, and it’s only right to be open about it. We met six great women ahead of International Women’s Day 2019 to know their dating patterns; if they use apps to find love; if they’ve found someone whom they’ve spent quality time with; and how do they ensure their safety when meeting someone off their phones and in their real lives.
Taru Kapoor, GM India, Tinder & Match Group says, “Conversations about dating are still relatively nascent in India. Women, in particular, are seeking out ways to take charge of their romantic and social experiences – a phenomenon we see both across India’s cities and towns. This opportunity has made life easier for both men and women, especially for women in the Indian context, for whom it is empowering.”
She adds, “Given the nature of our society, where women have historically had restricted access to technology, limited control over their lives and great moral scrutiny of their judgement and their choices – particularly romantically, features like My Move give women the ability to exclusively send the first message, if and when they want to. This creates a safe, non-judgmental platform where women are free to choose, discover and interact with like-minded people, and use the platform in a way they are most comfortable with.”
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