7 Everyday Habits That Save Relationships

While you may know that love is a choice, what you may not know is how to make that choice — especially when you feel completely drained, and it feels almost impossible to keep moving on. If someone matters enough to you, you'll realize this is a time when you must persevere, as it is not love that's painful — but everything else that gets in the way.

So how do we do the emotional housekeeping of managing and being mindful of those things before they get the best of us? Fortunately, the answer is simpler than it may seem. It begins with maintaining your sense of individualism — over-identifying with a relationship is always an emotional nightmare — and then taking each day as it comes, communicating beyond what seems initially necessary, being transparent about your feelings and opinions, being unassuming at all times, and of course, continuing to learn about the many people they evolve into over time. You may begin a relationship with one person, but they'll transform a thousand times throughout the course of your time together, and the key determinant in whether or not you'll last is whether or not you also learn to love that version of themselves, or keep expecting them to be someone they only once were.

Here, the habits and mindsets that save relationships before they actually have to be saved, because when it comes to making love last, it's all about not getting to the ultimatums in the first place:

As Much As Humanly Possible, Identify As An Individual First

Always think of yourself as a person who is also in a relationship, not a person whose most defining characteristic is that they are with somebody else. There's a very important reason for doing this, and it's that when we over-attach our idea of self to someone else, we subconsciously raise our expectations, get angrier, more controlling, aggressive and ultimately begin to resent them for not being who we want ourselves to be.

Communicate The Obvious

Do. Not. Assume. They. Can. Mind. Read. Communicate what you would otherwise assume would be obvious, but do it lovingly, for the sake of them understanding you and your situation better. Communication isn't just what you do when it's convenient, it's how you open your life up to truly integrate someone else into it.

... But Don't Condescend

Never "communicate the obvious" with a high pitch and raised eyebrows, as though your partner is an idiot to whom things must always be explained. Respect them enough to share what you are thinking as well as maintain the assumption that they are intelligent enough to intuit some things, but still human enough to need explicit explanations of that which they couldn't possibly know.

Choose Your Battles, But Never Suppress Or Hide What You're Really Feeling

If you do the latter, you'll find that it's rare it erupts to the point of battle. Regardless, you don't have to fight over everything, but you do have to be transparent about how you feel. The reason for this is that as you let the "little things" go, over time, they accumulate into a huge, smoking ball of resentment, and talking about one issue devolves into a complete meltdown about everything else you've been feeling.

Do Things By Yourself

Take day trips on your own, have friends of your own, go for walks on your own, even just take an afternoon to read in a coffee shop by yourself. Make sure you communicate to your partner that your desire to do this is not to be away from them, but to reconnect to yourself. You want to make sure they don't take it personally, but you also need to be sure that you're giving yourself the time you need apart.

Never Assume Anything — From Gifts To Timelines To Opinions

Ask, be surprised, and never just assume that anything is yours or is going to be. Instead of an engagement in 9 months from now, one that would be joyous and beautifully timed, if you get irrationally attached to being engaged in 6 months, it's only going to feel bittersweet and slightly annoying, and really for no good reason at all.

Give Them Space To Grow — You Continue Learning About Them By Not Assuming They're Remaining The Same

Ask them what they think about current events, how they feel about a family situation, what they're dreaming about doing next in life, and so on. Getting to know your partner is not a once-and-done kind of situation. It's an evolution, and if you don't keep up with it, you'll eventually just grow apart.

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