If I were to experience my relationship based on the lessons that I learned as a child, I’d spend most days yelling, sobbing and breaking dishes. I didn’t grow up with telenovela actors; although sometimes I wonder if that would have been easier. My mother and father were just bad for each other. They loved each other, but love isn’t enough.
What?! Did I just say that? Yes! The hopeless romantic and Latina love guru said that love is not enough. Relationships take work. When in love, we must put our best foot forward as individuals and as partners.
So what makes a relationship successful? What can we do to have an amazing and healthy romantic relationship always and all ways? I covered this on my SiriusXM show with clinical therapist and relationship coach, Vicky Barrios. Here are the cornerstones of a successful relationship:
That means you need to be self-first. You must be aware of who you are, what you desire and need in love and life, and ultimately what fulfills you. How do you do this? By dating. Dating is practice! Eventually you will know yourself so well that you will be ready to choose the right partner for you.
Speak in your truth.
When you speak in your truth you are transparent. You let your partner or the man or woman you’re dating know what you want. And you communicate without blame. On my show, we talked about using “I” statements instead of “you,” and how effective that is when communicating feelings of hurt or anger. Instead of saying, “you don’t spend enough time with me,” say, “I really miss you and want to spend more time with you.” See what I did there? I expressed my feelings without making it about another persons actions and truth.
This is something that I practice constantly and try to improve on. When my partner tells me that I hurt him or upset him in any way, I apologize. I don’t make excuses. I simply say that I am sorry for hurting him. You do this even if the pain you caused your loved one wasn’t intentional. It isn’t about being right or wrong; it’s about acknoweldging that his or her feelings are valid and important to you.
Have clear expectations and boundaries, and speak on them.
Many times women ask me how to convince their guy to commit. No matter the scenario, what I tell them is always the same: ask him to commit. Often times women don’t speak about expectations. They don’t say, “I want a relationship,” or, “I don’t want to be with someone who still goes clubbing with the boys.” Instead, we nag, or we suck it up and complain to our amigas. Let’s not do that anymore. If you know what you want and how you want your relationship to develop, say so. Set boundaries and state realistic relationship expectations.
Forgive and accept.
To forgive does not mean to forget. It is about letting go of the hurt so you can move forward in your relationship. If you were betrayed by your partner, it’s okay to feel hurt and angry, just don’t live in that pain forever. If you continue to bring up the past and the betrayal, or you cannot accept what happened and move on and, your relationship will never succeed.
When we speak on intimacy, it encompasses sex and connection on an emotional. Being intimate means being vulnerable, and that is one of the most essential components of a successful relationship. So hold hands, kiss, go for a walk and talk about your day. Go to bed at the same time and partake in pillow talk. This is how you remain close to your partner and intimately connected over time.
Your partner has to be your friend! Your BFF, so to speak. He is the one you turn to when you are down, when you have exciting news to share. You should laugh with your partner an enjoy each others company. At the end of the day, your love and lover should be the person you cannot live without.