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The Things We Do for Love

Hands in the shape of a heart
By , 18, Contributor Originally Published: January 4, 2012 Revised: February 25, 2015

Most people want to be loved—and that’s a very normal desire. But should you have to continually sacrifice who you are to be loved? That is not healthy and—most of all—leaves you unhappy. As human beings, we all want someone to accept us for who we are. If you’re in a relationship where you can’t just be you, maybe it’s time to take another look at that relationship and see if it is really worth the effort and time.

Below is my list of relationship dos and don’ts. Maybe they can help you figure out what you would or wouldn’t do for love:

Don’ts

Don’t give up our identity.
Ever heard of the phrase, “Too much of anything isn’t good for you”? Well, that also applies to relationships. Why abandon all of your friends and hobbies in the name of love? Having a life outside of your relationship is a good thing because you are your own person. If you and your significant other ever part ways, those friends and hobbies may be just what you need to keep you going.

Don’t settle for less than you deserve.
Maybe your partner isn’t treating you well, because you don’t realize you deserve better or perhaps you’re afraid of being alone. Or you may be trying to work with a partner and it is clear that she or he is not worth your effort, time or even love for that matter. It is not enough for your partner to tell you he or she loves you; your partner must show it through his or her actions. Do not let yourself or your relationship be disrespected.

Don’t use sex as a tool to get your partner to stay.
Sex can strengthen a couple’s bond; however, if you and your partner don’t have a lot to talk about, enjoy each other’s company or have similar interests, having sex with no real emotional bond can backfire. Trying to get someone to stay (or trying to win them back) with sex often leads to more problems than it solves.

Don’t ignore warning signs.
If your partner gets upset when you spend time doing things outside of the relationship, like going out with friends or enjoying your own interests, that may be a warning sign. Watch out for isolation and manipulation; your partner should not make you feel guilty for wanting to spend time with your family or friends. Your partner should be supportive of your relationships outside of the one you have with him or her.

Most people want to be loved—and that’s a very normal desire. But should you have to continually sacrifice who you are to be loved?

Dos

Set standards in the relationship.
It’s helpful if both partners sit down and communicate from the beginning of the relationship about what each other’s deal breakers may be. For example, snooping through each other’s phones may be a big deal breaker—something you would not want to tolerate. But we all have our differences, and remember that even though you may not always agree, it is important to respect each other’s boundaries.

Practice healthy communication.
As cliché as it may sound, communication really is key to any successful relationship. Good communication helps eliminate misunderstandings and unnecessary arguments. Wondering why your partner didn’t call you last night? Ask.

Develop trust.
Earn each other’s trust by being honest with each other. If you do what you say you’re going to do when you’ll say you’ll do it, for example, that can help your partner trust you. It is essential that you and your partner take your time and build a trusting bond. Trust is one of the primary foundations of all healthy relationships. Without it, you cannot fully commit yourself or have intimacy.

Practice respect and equality.
Your partner should respect you as an individual and treat you as an equal—each partner’s opinions and desires should be valued. And when you disagree, if both partners handle the situation respectfully and are prepared to compromise, it will be a lot easier to get through those disagreements.

Forgive one another.
Everyone makes mistakes—and plenty of them! Forgiveness is more for you than the other person, because while you are mad about what someone has done to you, they probably have already forgotten about it and moved on. Don’t hold on to that grudge. Trust me, you’ll be much happier. While it’s important for you to forgive each other, it’s just as important to apologize and admit when you’ve made a mistake.

Support each other.
One of the best things about being in a relationship is knowing that you have someone to support you. Your partner should motivate you to be the best you can be.

Being in a relationship can be one of the best things that has ever happened to you. But when relationships don’t work, they can be one of the worst things. Figure out what works for you and your partner and go with it.

Iksaiah Adams is a contributor who lives in Pennsylvania.

Photo by miss.libertine/Flickr

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