Keeping your standards high and making love last might sound like two opposing concepts, but I’m here to tell you that you can have both. Whatever your situation — whether you’re still single, dating, married with children, divorced with children, or widowed — it’s always important to remember exactly what you want and deserve out of a relationship.
In some of these steps, you’ll examine the relationship as a whole, which will require patience and cooperation from your partner. Other steps will suggest you turn your attention inward and ask yourself what you expect and what you desire from them. These two things should always match up.
If you expect your partner to behave or treat you in a way that you don’t desire, your standards are too low. If you desire something you never expect or receive, the love probably won’t last. In fact, it might be dead already.
If you’re in a long-term relationship, it’s possible that you’ve simply forgotten the aspects of your relationship that made it successful, to begin with. It’s also possible that you’ve both lost sight of the attributes that attracted you to each other in the first place.
Whether you’re trying to improve your current relationship or find a new one that will truly last, here are ten ways to keep your standards high and make love last.
1. Love yourself first.
Clichés are cliché for a reason. They’re true. You can’t sustain a functional, happy relationship if you yourself are unhappy.
If you don’t accept and respect yourself, your low standards in a potential partner won’t serve you or your self-esteem. This is often what leads insecure individuals into toxic, abusive relationships.
Whether you’re in a long-term relationship, or just diving into something new, you should ask yourself the following questions. What do you expect from your partner? Does he or she fulfill those expectations overall? Does your partner bring out the best in you, or give you reasons to love yourself?
2. Don’t lose yourself — or — rediscover the things both you and your partner once loved about you.
Confidence is often what attracts a person to us. When we lose the light within, the spark in our relationship often follows suit. Don’t desert the aspects of yourself that made your partner fall in love with you, because those are probably the same parts that you once loved about yourself.
If you’re unhappy with the person you’ve become, chances are you’ll find it difficult to seek happiness in your relationship.
3. Be realistic.
Let’s face it. Nobody’s perfect but, if you choose wisely or have chosen wisely, your partner will be pretty darn close to perfect for you. Still, you have to be realistic, whether this is in regards to your husband or wife, your mother-in-law or father-in-law, or your children. Most of us are trying to do our best.
Go easy on them and yourself.
4. Put in the work.
Do you feel like your partner is constantly letting you down? Maybe your partner doesn’t understand your needs, or else they’re just not fulfilling them. Before you point a finger, ask yourself this. Is it possible that your needs are impractical? While it’s important to keep your standards high, unrealistic expectations can sour a sweet relationship.
Expecting too much out of a relationship might be a case of co-dependency or insecurity. If this is the case, it often turns to self-sabotage. As soon as you start expecting your partner to let you down, they probably will. If you find yourself arguing daily or holding grudges, you might want to consider viewing the situation from the other side.
Selflessness is the most difficult aspect of any relationship, but it’s also the saving grace. Sometimes the best thing you can do is drop your ego and take some accountability for your own unhappiness.
5. Accept that sometimes you are the problem.
“It’s not you, it’s me.” We’ve all heard it before. Some of us have even said it… more than once. The phrase typically comes during a breakup, but maybe it’s time we try it out during the relationship and before it’s too late. If you’re continuously having issues, despite your partner’s willingness and attempts to change, maybe the problem really is you.
We often blame others for the mishaps or complications in our relationships. It’s usually not our first instinct to investigate our own insecurities or our own stubbornness as being the root of the problem.
Keeping your standards high doesn’t just apply to the relationship. You should keep the standards you have for yourself high too. This might require a bit of inward reflection to ask yourself what you can do differently to avoid the same problem in the future.
6. Forgive the forgivable mistakes.
Everyone makes mistakes. You get to decide which mistakes are forgivable and which ones aren’t.
Forgiving your partner for a mistake they’re owning up to doesn’t mean you’re lowering your standards. It means you understand and accept that they’re flawed and that you’re able and willing to work through it and move forward.
With that said, once you formally declare that you’re forgiving your partner, you shouldn’t allow that mistake to hold any power in the relationship. Rehashing old mistakes when they’re convenient for you will only introduce tension and distrust into a relationship that you’re trying to amend.
7. Keep the spark alive.
Take ownership of the excitement in your love life. Do a little brainstorming and switch things up. Not only will this keep the spark alive, but it’ll inspire your partner to start thinking unconventionally too.
8. Communicate effectively.
Open communication helps paint a picture of what both you and your partner want out of the relationship. The only thing worse than arguing all the time is never communicating at all. You can’t blame your partner for lacking in an area he doesn’t even know you expect him to excel at. Effective communication is key to staying on the same page and making love last.
9. Understand that everyone’s different.
Once you’ve begun effectively communicating with your partner, you might find that you want and expect very different things out of the relationship. Maybe one of you desires more physical attention, while the other is looking for more quality time. You might not always agree on what’s lacking in the relationship and what will improve it overall.
This is where compromises come into play. It’s important to accept your differences, respect one another’s feelings, and meet in the middle.
10. Compromise (only) when necessary.
Sometimes, love means compromise. You’re not always going to get what you want; however, you should never allow yourself less than you deserve. Still, as time goes on and people evolve, things change. It’s easy to over-compromise to the point of no return. If your standards have been lowered as result, you should reevaluate what’s non-negotiable to you.
If you’re with the right person, you’ll probably find that this isn’t a problem as you’ll both want the same end goal of keeping your expectations of one another high and making your love last.
Previously Published on medium
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