What You Do And Don’t Need To Agree On In A Relationship

February 16, 2012  |  
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“Everything is great, but…” You or a friend has probably started a sentence about their relationship like that before. We’re all slight perfectionists when it comes to relationships. Differences between a partner and us stick out to us like a sore thumb. But, you need to stop and ask yourself, is our difference in opinion over this issue worth ending the relationship over? Or will it actually not affect our ability to lead a stable, happy relationship? Here is a list of things you do, and don’t, need to agree on with your partner.

Fidelity

Fidelity means different things to different people. The majority of couples will say that any physical encounter—from as little as a kiss to as much as sleeping with someone—constitutes some sort of cheating. But, beyond that, it can become more complicated. Has someone “cheated” if they hang out with someone of the opposite sex without telling you? Or if they went to a party where they knew their ex would be without telling you? Is a kiss something to break up over? If you don’t agree on these matters, you could get terribly hurt, or at the very least find yourself often arguing or feeling paranoid any time your partner goes out.

How much time you spend with friends

Some couples want to be one another’s lives. Personally, I don’t find this very healthy, but if both people want to spend all their time together, at least it won’t cause a problem between them. However, if one person thinks it completely normal and even necessary to spend a few nights apart every week, and do things with their friends without inviting the significant other, meanwhile the other thinks a couple is a couple is a couple and shouldn’t be separated, you’ll have a major problem.

What is shared with friends

There are those extremely open and sexually liberated couples that will tell you every detail about their sex life right at a dinner party. If both people are that comfortable sharing those things, great. You also have the couples that don’t mind fighting in front of people, letting all their dirty laundry show. Once again, if both are fine with that, so be it. But, if one person thinks that what happens in the bedroom, or in an argument, should be highly confidential, only to discover the other one has been yammering on to their friends about it, the more private person will feel deeply betrayed and embarrassed.

Communication with exes
Do you have an absolutely no friendship with any exes, no matter how long ago, policy? Better hope your partner adheres to the same idea. What about exes from the distant past—are they okay to talk to? What about recent exes who you ended things amicably with—can you still talk to them and even see them as a friend? You need to agree with your partner on when and in what capacity it is okay to communicate with or see exes, or else major jealousy problems will arise.

You DON’T need to agree on…

The nature of friendships
For the most part, men and women do friendships differently. Men can compartmentalize friendships. Your partner can have a friend who is a total douchebag to women, but he is the friend that your man always goes to Lakers games with, and the two never hang out around women so to your boyfriend, it doesn’t matter. Women can’t really do that. They prefer their friends more well rounded. They like to have mostly similar values and perspectives on most things with their girlfriends, regardless of what activities they partake in with that girlfriend. As tough as it is, you can’t harass or criticize your boyfriend about his douchebag friend. Going to Lakers games, playing video games, going out for rounds of golf—whatever the two do together—makes him happy. And the fact that that friend isn’t the best of people doesn’t technically affect your relationship.

Diet & Exercise
If you look at any dating site, you’ll find a lot of people who say they must have someone who is “fit” “active” “athletic” “health-minded” and so on. And honestly, that’s a shame because, your love of vegan recipes or rock climbing is not going to be what keeps a relationship together. If you share similar values with someone, if they make you laugh, if they are kind, keep them around, and go eat your vegan meals with your vegan club.

Fighting style

Some people need time to think, go for a walk, and just be alone when an argument arises, before resolving it. Others just want to yell and talk and get it all out right then—they just let their raw emotions take over and want to say what’s on their mind, whether or not they’ll regret it later. If you love each other enough, you can learn to understand the other person just fights differently. It might drive you nuts but, if the other person wants to take a walk, you just have to have patience and wait for them to get back. Or, if the other person wants to vent out all their anger, you might just have to give a listening ear, and recognize that you’ll sort out what they really meant later. You just have to recognize that that is their style of fighting, and not a reflection of their respect for you.

How they talk to their parents

Not everyone is best friends with their parents. Every family has drama, baggage, and unspoken tension. Maybe you wish your partner had a better relationship with his parents. Maybe you notice his phone calls with them to be brief and awkward. But, so long as he is kind and communicative with you, don’t be freaked out because his relationship is less than perfect with his parents.

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