Every relationship has high points and low points. Some of the most smitten kittens disagree about major issues like money and religion. The significant challenge of sharing our personal space, our fridge, our weekends, our toilet, and our paycheck make building a successful relationship the most difficult task on earth.
If even the best relationships are a challenge, how are we supposed to know when we are in the right relationship? Before you decide, ask yourself 3 very important questions:
Do the good times outweigh the bad?
Do I let him influence my daily life? Do I influence his?
Can I deal with our differences in opinion forever?
Let’s take a closer look at each:
1. If you’re in a lasting relationship, the good outweighs the bad. By a whole hell of a lot. Statistically speaking, partners that stay happily together share twenty positive interactions for every one negative interaction. No joke! But, here’s the clincher: happy couples do not experience less negative emotion, they simply experience a lot more good times. In other words, bad times are not a problem. But, if you and your boo fight a lot and laugh a little, it may be time to start packing your bags.
2. Besides having more good times than bad, successful relationships depend upon both partners willingness to accept influence from one another. Beyond the sex, your romantic relationship is different from all other friendships because you invite this person to influence your life. Perhaps you change your plans when this person has an important request, or decide to eat at a Chinese restaurant instead of having Thai. Hell, maybe you’re even willing to change your religion…or your last name. In order for a relationship to succeed both partners need to be willing to accept influence from one another.
If you have zero desire to change anything about your daily habits, your future plans, or your attitude…chances are, that you can find a man that you like better than the one you’ve got. On the other hand, if you think you’ve found Mr.Right, and up until now you’ve been Little Miss Set-In-Her-Ways, get over it, before he gets over you! As for your man, if he never seems willing to budge on issues that are important to you – like where to eat dinner tonight, or what to wear to your parent’s house for Christmas – he’s either not that into you, or too immature for a real relationship.
3. Here’s the final secret you should know when picking your life partner: there are two types of problems that you and your partner will face, solvable problems and perpetual problems. Studies on thousands of couples reveal that 69% of relationship problems are perpetual. In other words, if you disagreed about it when you were twenty, you will probably still disagree when you’re seventy. When you pick your partner, you are picking your set of perpetual problems. So make sure the issues that you and your partner argue about are disagreements that you can live with for the rest of your life. Perpetual problems are not all made equal. For example, it is easier to live happily with someone who has different spending habits than with someone who has different beliefs about the meaning of life. Decide what you can live with, and what you can’t.
So, should you stay or should you go?
SPECIAL THANKS to Sara Oliveri for this great post!
Sara specializes in relationship, family, and quality of life consulting. Sara is one of less than 300 people in the world to earn her Master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology – the scientific study of optimal human functioning.
With her powerful background as a wellness coach and positive psychology practitioner, Sara equips individuals to build resilient families & relationships and to achieve their highest quality of life. Sara also coaches managers and executives to create an environment where employees work at peak productivity while building strong relationships.
Described by her clients as wise, practical, and inspirational, Sara empowers clients to create satisfying lives and strong relationships. Visit www.saraoliveri.com for more!