When it comes to my career, I’ve always been extremely practical and level-headed, but wherever relationships are concerned, I’ve tended to be impulsive and totally ruled by my emotions. But recently I started treated my relationship the way I approach my professional life, and everything changed for the better.
I stopped wasting time on minor details I didn’t need to worry about.
I tend to fixate on small stuff and turn them into crises, which really overcomplicates things and makes life more difficult. If my boyfriend forgot to leave me a note one morning or got home late from work, I interpreted it as an indication that everything was falling apart. But sometimes little things are just what they seem: totally inconsequential and not worth wasting time analyzing them.
I maintained strict boundaries.
Sometimes it’s hard to set boundaries in relationships for fear of pushing the other person away, but if you want a healthy partnership, you need your significant other to know where they stand. Be clear about how you want the relationship to work and what you aren’t willing to put up with, and there will be no hard feelings or miscommunication.
I started taking vacation time.
No matter how much you love someone, you need breaks sometimes. Going on a weekend getaway with some friends, visiting family in another state, or simply having a week where you’re on your own can do wonders for a relationship. Don’t feel guilty for needing a break every once in a while. It’s actually a sign of a healthy relationship.
I used my work ethic.
Relationships aren’t perfect all the time. They require work and determination. This is obvious in a business setting when effort and focus are par for the course, but when it comes to romantic relationships, it seems as though people are often more inclined to bail when the going gets tough. But if you’re prepared to stick it out through the tough times and put the work in, you’ll be one step closer to having a long-lasting partnership with someone you love.
I started viewing it as an investment.
A relationship can be one of the best investments you ever make–far more valuable than any financial investment you could make. If you want to stay with the person you’re with for a long time, plan ahead and focus your energy and ambitions on it. If you treat your relationship like a temporary possession, it’s not going to go anywhere.
I set aside time for it.
You need to make time for the things that matter. If you’re going through a busy time in your life and your relationship hits a plateau, it’s probably because you simply aren’t making it enough of a priority. If it’s worth keeping, it’s worth as much energy and time as any of your other commitments. If you make it take a backseat, it will be never be strong enough to be worth it.
I took things less personally.
Not everything that comes out of your partner’s mouth is about you, and not every decision they make is about you. If you find yourself interpreting everything they do as a reflection on how you are as a partner, you need to be a little easier on yourself. Pretend your relationship is a business and treat it with the level-headed distance you would use to approach a stack of tricky paperwork.
I set goals.
You don’t have to decide if you want to marry someone on your first date, but setting goals can make a committed relationship stronger. Have a conversation about the future, whether it’s moving in together, moving states, or expanding your careers side by side. Make your plans for your future intertwined with your relationship and your hopes for a life together will become a reality.
I used setbacks as information.
It’s easy to let arguments and mistakes drag you down, but they can be the most valuable tools you have to improve your relationship. Instead of letting the issue go the instant you resolve it, analyze it for information. You and your partner can learn from every misstep and turn it into a lesson for the future.
I appraised its value every so often.
Relationships have a tendency to take on lives of their own, but try to remember that they are what you want them to be. Take the time to evaluate yours once every few months the way you would a business. Is it what you want? Are you with the person you want to be with? Is it improving your life? If the answer to these questions is anything less than a resounding “yes,” you might need to consider a life change.
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