Have you ever wondered who, exactly, is writing relationship advice columns? Most of the time, the tips are such trash I imagine they were written by someone even older and more out of touch than my grandmother, and she's 92. I've talked to a few actual humans under the age of 103, and these are the real-life, actually-work tips they've shared.
1. Go to Bed Angry!
We've all heard that you're not supposed to go to bed angry, but this is the real world, when arguments aren't always resolved and feelings can still be hurt on a school night, when we've all got to be up early the next day.
2. Take ME Time
If you want your relationship to succeed, you need to still be you. That's what (who) attracted your person to you in the first place, right? So don't be afraid to take me time.
3. Try Something New, Together
You've got you hobbies, and he has his. But when was the last time you tried something new, for both of you, together? Make it a point to do something completely new at least every few months.
4. Set Time Aside for Each Other
Date. I'm not kidding. Even if you've been together forever, act like you haven't once in a while. Go on an actual date. Dress nicely, and go do something together.
5. Speak up
Those petty annoyances that just seem to pile up each week? Share them. Not unkindly of course, but let him know if something he's doing is annoying you.
I know this is true: touch is important! It doesn't have to be sexual, or lead to sex, but touch each other, often.Hold hands. Rub his back. Let him (make him?) play with your hair.
7. Don't Gossip
If you and your SigOth have a fight, don't share the details with your friends, because once you kiss and make up, things could get awkward around your bestie.
8. Little Things Matter
Those little things? They matter. Do them. Pack his lunch one day. Warm up his car. Bring home his favorite sushi for no reason at all.
9. Ask for Help
If you need help, don't be afraid to ask for it. He's your partner, and that's what partners are for, right?
10. Say I'm Sorry
When you've made a mistake, own up to it, and apologize, then ask forgiveness and if possible, try to make it right.
11. Say Thank You
If you partner does something kind, or does more than you expected, take the time to thank them for it.
12. Avoid "always"
Nothing puts up a defensive wall quicker than hearing "you always" or "you never," so try to avoid using these. Instead, try to point out specific instances of the behavior you're having a hard time accepting.
13. Skip the Small Talk
Once in a while, don't talk about work, or the kids, or the house, or Facebook. Talk about real life, your passions, the things you love about the world.
14. Put the Phones down
It's hard to feel important when your partner has his face stuck in his phone. I'm sure he feels the same way! So at a certain time each night, agree to put the phones away and find something else to do, together if possible.
15. Make Decisions Together
Even making small decisions together than help strengthen a relationship. Granted, you don't care which quarterback he picked for his fantasy football draft, and he doesn't care about where you decide to buy your cute fall boots, but decisions that impact you both ought to be made together.
16. Don't do It!
I'm not sure why this is a thing, but a lot of women (and men) will withhold affection (and sex) from a partner as some sort of passive-aggressive punishment. Don't do that!
17. Stop Wondering
Nothing can kill a perfectly healthy relationship faster than wondering if he's the one. There's really only one way to tell, and that's to see if you guys can actually function as a healthy couple together in the long term. Before then, setting expectations of what The One is like could damage what could be the right real-life relationship for you.
Do you have any other real-world relationship advice to share?