In Part 1 of this “Relationship” series, I wrote about “How to chase a girl.” I hope that the tips I gave have been helpful. Now that you have successfully chased a girl (or a guy; or have been successfully chased), what now? This part of the series will discuss on how to be a better boyfriend (or girlfriend) in order to maintain your relationship, and make it more meaningful and long-lasting.
Your relationship means little if you can’t keep it
Maintaining a relationship is important. Just like you have now managed to save a lot of money – you have to learn how to maintain it. Money means little if you’re going to lose it all. The same goes for romantic relationships. Unless you are looking for a fling, you are probably looking for a potential long-term partner. You want to develop the skills to make the relationship last (and ultimately, a lifetime).
You can’t be the best, but can always be better
I say you should be a better boyfriend (or girlfriend), and not best. You can probably never be the very “best” (unless you mean doing your subjective best) because being the “best” usually entails that there only one best in the world. It’s difficult to be the best in anything (e.g. an Olympic Champion). But if you can simply be a little better everyday, your relationship will be much, more meaningful in the long run.
Put yourself in that the other’s shoes
You hear this all the time – put yourself and his or her shoes. But what does this really mean? You can never be your girlfriend. Heck, you’re not even a girl! How the heck will you know what your girlfriend feels like when she complains about menstrual pains! You won’t, and you never will. But you can imagine that it can hurt a lot. Try imagining how annoyed you will feel when you already have to deal with this pain once a month, whilst your annoying boyfriend keeps talking nonsense. Hard to be patient, right?
Make emotional payments
I discussed on making “emotional payments” in my previous post. But how to apply this? Say, your girlfriend wants to eat at a fancy Italian restaurant tonight. But you just want to eat pizza. You think fancy restaurants are expensive and you just want to save money (because Valentine’s day is coming up… *cough*). But maybe your girlfriend wants to go to that fancy restaurant not for the food, but for the experience (to be spent with you). She wants to have a special evening with you! This isn’t about food, but about emotions. Say “yes,” on the condition that you get to eat pizza next time. Both will be happy.
When argument arises, do role play
Couples argue all the time. When two people care about each other, they are doomed to argue. They argue because they care (and expect) a lot! If a couple never argue, they should be worried – it might mean they aren’t expressing themselves. So, when argument arises, what to do? One way is to do a role play in your mind. Usually, after doing a role play, you would probably think your girlfriend as being less unreasonable than initially thought.
- First, ask yourself, “If you were your girlfriend, how would you react?“
- Second, ask yourself, “What are my girlfriend’s real concerns?”
- Third, ask yourself, “What can you do to address those concerns?“
Your girlfriend’s real concerns are almost never what she says. If she wants you to pick her up from work everyday (but you are busy and get off work late), her real concerns might be wanting to be cared for, and not just the act of picking her up from work. If that’s the case, you can explain that you cannot guarantee you can pick her up everyday, but what you can do is to have a quick dinner with her, before you head back to office for OT. This might satisfy her needs.
Acknowledge her feelings
Women, of all people, have a lot of emotions. Their actions might sometimes be irrational, because they are motivated by their emotions. What they say might be irrational, but their feelings are indisputable. There is no dispute that your girlfriend is upset about something. It does not matter whether you think they are legitimate reasons or not. What matters is that she’s upset, and you should probably do something about it.
So, if your girlfriend is upset, you have to be understanding. You have to acknowledge that she has a right to be upset (even if you disagree whether she should be upset)! You can try telling her, “I understand you must be really upset about this, and I will always be here to listen if you want to talk about it.” Give her a hug. That’s really all you have to do most of the time. She doesn’t want you to tell her she’s wrong to be upset. She wants you to tell her that you care about her.
In conclusion, I believe that it takes a lot of understanding and respect for each other to maintain a relationship. This applies not just in romantic relationships, but any kind of relationship for that matter. The question is never who’s “right” and who’s “wrong.” Maintaining a relationship requires a lot of patience, time and love. You have to be understanding even if the other person is “wrong.” Because none of us are always “right.”