Maintaining relationships: An in-depth guide

February 22, 2019 - 19 minutes read

maintaining relationships

 

My work involves coaching men through the intricate pathways of attraction and talking to women. However, the end game of this process for many people is an enriching, enduring relationship.

While interacting with women, you have to know what you’re looking for at the end of it all.

The newfound confidence you’ll have through taking my 7-Day Programme or attending an Impactful Connections workshop can be a powerful tool in talking to as many women as possible. But what’s your goal? What do you want out of this investment?

As good as you might become at talking to women and carrying confidence at your core, maintaining a relationship requires particular levels of care, attention, and dedication.

I’m a trained relationship counsellor. In this article, I’ll walk you through how to decide on the criteria for a relationship, ways to know whether it the path you want to take with a particular woman, and tips for maintaining that spark.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR  

Relationships are a HUGE investment. Think about the time, energy, and money that goes into even the basic foundations of any relationship.

You have to make sure you are investing in the right woman. There is no perfect person anywhere. Some women will simply be better for you than others.

It’s important to give yourself the best chance of finding a truly sustainable connection.

Go beyond looks 

The best relationships are true friendships and romances that last for decades. It is not a myth: However cynical you may feel about long-term love, you can find examples to prove yourself wrong whichever way you turn.

And even though factors like taste in music or fashion sense can be immensely attractive, it’s the deep-seated values of the person you end up with that propel the relationship to a much deeper place.

On a first date, make sure you’re asking questions that indicate her underlying values. Questions that can indicate personal values include:

  • What was your family like growing up? How did your parents get along? Upbringing and parental atmosphere will often shape how an individual approaches relationships, so getting to the bottom of this will help you form a mental picture of the road ahead.
  • Do you have or would you ever want a pet? This might seem like an innocuous question, but it is, in fact, pretty loaded. It’s a great indicator of compassion – the way a woman talks about a pet she either has or wants will hint at how good she’d be at looking after you or a child in times of sadness or ill health.
  • What would you do if you won the lottery tomorrow? This would indicate how a potential partner would respond to great wealth and power, as well as their sense of responsibility. You need to know that you’re building a relationship with someone who can be sensible and ethical once you construct a life together.
  • Name one thing you’ve done in your life that you will never do again. This will demonstrate her proactivity in life – what once-in-a-lifetime opportunities has she taken? How often does she leave her comfort zone? How curious is she about the world?

You might get along famously with a woman, but your values may not align. While strong sexual chemistry is great, a deep-seated connection is made from more than that. Make sure you understand what you’re getting into so that you can build together from a sturdy foundation.

Know what you’re actually looking for 

While finding out about her values can provide you with necessary information, it’s almost worthless unless you know which values are important to you.

You need to write this down. Put aside an hour or two before heading out on your dating journey to filter through the qualities you seek in a partner.

Would you prefer a homebody or someone with whom to seek adventure? Do you want to build a family, or would you prefer someone who would rather chisel out a career? Does your heart veer more towards sporty people, creative people, intelligent people, funny people?

Who do you want to spend the next 50 years hanging out with, sharing a bed with, and building a home with?

Before you have a conversation with anyone else about values, you need to open a dialogue within yourself and be brutally honest.

Never compromise 

Have your fun. You should be with a number of women before you meet the woman with whom you’re going to spend your life. Don’t deny yourself and the women you meet great experiences just because you’re on the lookout for a relationship with longevity.

However, you should also avoid getting yourself into relationships just to avoid hurting a potential partner’s feelings, or because you think no one better suited will come along.

Plenty of relationships grind to a halt as the result of a hasty decision at the outset. You don’t owe anyone a relationship. It needs to benefit both of you long term, otherwise it’s one-sided or, worse, no-sided.

This is why learning to talk to vast numbers of women is so important in the process of finding true contentment: Confident people know and love themselves better, and people with options do not settle.

The less you settle, the more likely you are to find long-term happiness. This applies to any walk of life but has particular relevance within the sphere of relationships.

Take action 

One of the most popular narratives throughout romantic comedies is the “girl that got away” – or, more accurately, the guy that lost a great opportunity for enduring happiness because they were not assertive enough and did not show intent.

If you frame yourself as a friend first, she will start to see you that way, and it becomes infinitely more difficult to transform that friendship into a promising partner.

If you see a long-term partner in someone, make sure you are proactive in letting her know how you feel and securing a date. If you are unsure as to how, the blog section of this site is dedicated to advice on escalating attraction and developing confidence.

HOW TO START A RELATIONSHIP

Starting a relationship has to be a conscious choice.

If you drift into a long-term arrangement, you have not set the terms of being together.

While establishing the boundaries of a relationship need not be cold or clinical, it’s a conversation that should happen. A messy or unclear start could be the catalyst for a complicated conclusion.

Here are some important things to remember when setting the terms for long-term love:

  • Represent what you really want: There is no point in shying away from your truth in the name of good relations. If you prefer open relationships or see the connection moving at a certain pace, make this clear. Immediately folding to your partner’s requirements might set you up for resentment further down the line.
  • Relationships do not stay still: While you might find boundaries that work for a while, either of your situations might change. And while you should be 100% authentic in laying out what you see as possible, that might also change. Any amount of location changes, life events, work arrangements, and shifts in perspective can alter what either of you need from the relationship. Be adaptable, but always make sure you communicate your needs and desires with clarity. If you’re trying to make a relationship work long-distance, this becomes even more important, as the relationship needs to be flexible.
  • Present your perspective in an exciting and positive way: You don’t need to be stern or imposing when it comes to showing what you want for the relationship. Let’s say you’d rather see other people – this can be a difficult arrangement for some folk to swallow. Therefore, be clear in describing what you seek from the situation and explaining why you feel this way.
  • Discuss when to tell others: While labels are not always necessary, if the two of you are becoming an item, people are eventually going to know. A relationship status on Facebook can achieve this, or, if you’d rather be a little more discreet, tell friends and family in direct contact. However you’re wired, your relationship will eventually have to evolve from meeting up for fun and casual sex to bringing her to weddings and moving in together. You need to talk about this together to know where you stand.

My key piece of advice, however, is that the progression to a relationship should be natural. Never rush into it, and always take the time to sit back and enjoy each other rather than stressing about labels.

If you have a good time hanging out and communicate well, you’re most of the way there. 

MAKING IT WORK

making relationships work

One thing you should know before seeking out a relationship: They are hard. Relationships require a heavy investment and more often than not lead to an eventual split.

It is also important to note that a finished relationship does not necessarily mean a failed relationship – as long as you learn from past connections and mistakes. Many people forgo a relationship due to previous heartbreak, but no purpose is served in denying yourself emotional connection and contentment.

If a relationship is something you truly desire, you are not protecting yourself from heartbreak by avoiding one. You are just preventing yourself from being happy in the meantime.

While every relationship is different, there are some absolute fundamentals that apply across the board.

Here are my essential tips for providing a strong foundation to a relationship:

  • Make sacrifices: While you shouldn’t willfully make yourself unhappy to preserve or prolong a relationship (because it won’t work), a successful relationship involves two people making adjustments in their lives to accommodate the other. It could be as large as moving to another country or as small as putting aside time to watch a TV show with her that you wouldn’t normally follow. You also need to balance this between you – if one person is making all of the sacrifices, resentment will eventually stand in the way of a healthy relationship.
  • Communicate: Merely conveying information when it’s needed is not enough. You need to go above and beyond. Be sure to have regular conversations about future plans, daily chores, and personal commitments. An “oh, you never told me you were going there” can be the start of a trust problem. If her behaviour is not meeting your values, let her know. If you appreciate something she has done for you, show her gratitude, and make her feel good.
  • Support each other: This does not apply only to deep, emotional situations, although you need to be on hand for those also. If you live together, and she does most of the chores, see what you can regularly take off her plate to allow her some more personal time. If she is a performer or sportsperson, go and watch her play and help her prep. If she’s starting a new diet or gym regimen, work out with her and assist her in maintaining focus.
  • Spend time together: This might seem obvious to mention for people who are in the honeymoon phase of a relationship. However, later on, when life gets in the way or the relationship lacks that immediacy and excitement that it used to have, make sure you’re going on dates. Have at least one evening a week that you dedicate to each other. Try and visit new places at least once a month and make sure that whatever you do together allows you to talk and share where you’re at.
  • Stay sexually active: While sex is not the be-all and end-all in a relationship, it helps keep the connection exciting. Sex with one person indefinitely might seem like it could get boring. However, you’re intimately learning each other’s body over time, and mind-blowing sex should not be out of the realm of possibility. This, again, comes down to communication – talk about your desires and hangups, and make sex part of the conversation.
  • Keep an eye on the basics: Both parties have to remain stable and positive if the relationship is to thrive. To achieve this, you have to make sure your essentials are covered – that rent is paid, you are progressing in your career, and looking after your health. Expensive gifts and luxury holidays are all well and good, but make sure you can be a rock when she needs you. If you are both striving for your best, you will be able to cut stress out of the relationship. It’s easy to get comfortable in a relationship and let yourself go, and avoiding this is the key to a happy, healthy connection.
  • Find time for yourself: You might share hobbies or have interests in common, but space is crucial. This is especially important if you cohabit. Make time to read, hang out with friends, play sports you enjoy – whatever passions you have are the very essence of why she’s attracted to you. Make sure you maintain balance and put time aside for yourself. Allow your partner the same breathing space.

A successful relationship should nourish your life, not drain from it. In most cultures, no one is forcing two people to be together. A relationship is a sizeable investment, so make it count.

If the qualifying process is thorough, you communicate clearly from the outset, and you make time for each other while never losing sight of who you are, you’ll be on the right track.

Work hard at it. And let me know how it turns out on the contact page – I love to hear success stories.

For those rockier patches – and all relationships have them – I’m an internationally renowned relationship counsellor and mediator and I’d love to help you navigate that area of your life in a helpful and constructive way.

Get in touch via the contact page.

Good luck,

Johnny