It seems like only yesterday that you were so in love. The endearments kept flowing. The calls were nonstop. You couldn’t spend twenty minutes without texting each other. Then reality set in. The polished image you saw at the club or wherever you met is not the image you are seeing now. He has flaws, and you expected a fairy tale. She is only human, while you expected a goddess. Reality hits with a vengeance. The calls dry up, the texts start coming in a trickle. How do you save what you had and make it grow?
The first thing is to avoid unreasonable expectations. In movies the guy is sweet, funny and oh so romantic in a geeky way. The woman may look ugly and mousy at first sight, but with a new hairdo and contacts, she becomes a beauty queen. The sex is great, the arguments are intense, and the making up is sweet. In real life the cool boys are at times serial cheaters, the sex does not last three minutes and they fall asleep afterwards. And sometimes the partners are demanding, possessive and clingy. It all makes for a cocktail of violent misunderstandings and unfulfilled expectations. Do not idolize your partner or you will be left sorely disappointed.
The second thing is to be honest with each other. No matter how cool you want to be seen, do not stretch the truth. Your partner will find out anyway, and the trust that you were building will be irreparably broken. If you own a 15 year old Toyota Corolla, do not make it out to be a Ferrari. Also, do not make promises you do not intend to keep. Men are especially guilty of this. They promise the sun, the moon and the morning star, while the only thing they want is a “booty call”. Not only are you being an asshole and a jerk, but you are ruining a chance for the next honest guy who might want something serious.
Nothing ruins a relationship more than possessiveness. Being clingy is not showing love, it just shows that you are needy and would never give your partner a chance to breathe, a chance to be themselves. No one wants to baby an adult. So give your partner time and space to chill with his/her friends without you looking over their shoulders. And do not use reverse blackmail like, “I trust you, I know you would never cheat on me”, and other phrases designed to make him/her feel guilty about associating with his/her friends from the opposite sex. Accept them as they are and trust that your love is enough.
Rules are important in a relationship. They set boundaries and give a couple a standard to fall back on when things are going wrong. Guys especially make arbitrary rules that only the girl should obey. Like not chatting to other guys. Or not going out to clubs. The guy goes on enjoying his life without rules, while the poor girl must obey the rules. Don’t fall into that trap, because once you agree, your relationship changes from being a relationship of equals to a relationship between master and servant.
May your relationships last long and prosper…. Live long, love true and do not lose faith in love.
Michael Munika is the Head of Industrial Relations for NANLO based in Walvis Bay.