The Stock Exchange: Taking Inventory Of Your Relationship – Are You On Track?
So you’re cruising along in an amicable relationship, and you’re wondering if, at 6 months or a year into it, your man has long-term relationship potential. After all, if a long-term relationship or marriage is what you’re ultimately looking for, you might have to take stock of your relationship early on before you get too far in – involved, in love, in debt or in denial. After putting in work getting to know someone and spending time with them, you want to believe that your current boo could be your “happily ever after” guy – not just a distraction or someone taking up space. If you want to make sure you’re on the right track, or spinning your wheels, here are some things to take inventory of to make sure you’re headed in the right direction and not wasting your precious time.
1. Do You Still Appreciate Each Other?
Even 6 months into a relationship, it’s easy to get very comfortable and take each other for granted. As day-to-day life starts to take over, your attention may shift from your partner to work, bills, and other life challenges that can destroy your relationship if you’re not handling those issues as a couple. It’s imperative to the longevity of your relationship that you take time to appreciate your partner in your life, even if it’s simply saying ‘I love you daily’, complimenting each other, or thanking each other for the little things you do for each other that might otherwise go unnoticed – like doing the dishes or cooking dinner. Don’t forget the reasons why you fell in love with each other in the first place, and if you feel that one of you is slipping in this area, address it head on. Talk about it, or make changes in your own behavior so that your partner can follow suit. Take a moment – or 10 – every day to let your partner know that you see him, and appreciate all the amazing things he does to make you smile, love and respect him.
2. Do You Accept Him As He Is?
Some men and women get into a relationship with their toolkits in hand, hoping to hammer their partner into shape – trying to shape him or her into what YOU want them to be. Everyone puts their best foot forward at first when getting to know someone, but once the comfort level sets in, the REAL person begins to surface. If after 6 months to a year, you can truly say that you are still in love with your partner, even with all of his faults and vice versa, then you may be headed towards a long-term relationship. However, if there are major things you want to change about your partner’s personality or character that are deal breakers, then you aren’t with the right person. You have to love each other for who you are, not who you MIGHT be one day.
3. Do You Share the Same Vision?
This is a question that most couples avoid early on, because it seems premature to bring up marriage, children, religion and other heavy topics that make people uncomfortable. But after six months or so of dating, you should know where your partner stands on these issues. Do you both want to be married one day? Want children? Believe in God, or how children should be raised? It’s quite possible to find yourself in relationship with someone that you get along with quite well; who also never wants to get married or have children. Be honest with yourself. You can’t change a person’s core beliefs, values and convictions, no matter how much you love each other. If you find that you differ on your vision for your future, you may have to go your separate ways. But if you agree that you still want the same things and are actively working towards those goals, then chances are you’ll grow with your partner in a mutually desired direction.
4. Do You Understand Your Partner Sexually?
I’m not saying sex is the end all, be all to a relationship, but it’s definitely important. Understanding each other sexually is a way to keep you connected intimately, because after a few months of dating, the sex may be the first thing to cool off. All of the outside influences of life can creep into the bedroom, and if your libidos are out of sync, it’s important to work to keep the fire burning to keep the relationship hot. Even if you have to schedule time, pencil each other in for love-making. No one should ever feel like they should get their needs met elsewhere, or that their partner doesn’t desire them anymore. I don’t care how busy your schedule is, it’s worth it to squeeze in a night of passion to keep your Hot coupledom in check!
5. Do You Still Laugh Together?
Some couples simply forget how to have fun after settling into a relationship. Remember all those fun dates you used to have in the beginning? Why not plan a night of roller skating, or go to an amusement park together? Or simply entertain each other. You fell in love with him for his sarcastic wit, and he loves you because your cute laugh lights up his world. Couples need their playtime too – so get out and enjoy each other; be silly together. Life isn’t so serious all the time – sometimes escapism is necessary.
6. Do You Fight Fair?
All couples fight. It’s a fact…and a part of life. If you and your partner never argue, then you haven’t been dating long enough. Having debates and little arguments are nothing to worry about. What you SHOULD worry about, though, is how you handle conflict. Do you really listen to each other, or are you both simply concerned with being “right.” Do you respect each other’s feelings and differences in a disagreement, or are you hurtful and mean? Do you bring up past mistakes or push buttons? These are all things you need to ask yourself, and be honest with the answers. Both partners must always respect each other, and be kind even when you don’t agree. Disagreements are inevitable the longer you stay together, but how you argue can make all of the difference in whether or not your relationship is built to last.
7. Do You Have a Life Outside of Your Partner?
For some, the honeymoon stage lasts well into 6 months to a year, and being inseparable is adorable…at first. But if you don’t have any interests, hobbies or other friends outside of each other, then your relationship could crash and burn. Just as quality time together is important, so is the time you spend outside of the relationship. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a little breathing room from your partner. It allows each of you space to grow individually and to nurture friendships, or simply to enjoy some needed alone time to re-energize. Being up under each other day after day can wear on even the strongest of relationships, so make sure you balance quality time with YOU time.