There are a lot of different factors that go into whether or not your relationship lasts. For instance, compatible values or right timing can mean a lot. But according to experts, one of the best ways to ensure that you and your partner will make it, is to build a solid foundation for your relationship. But what does that even mean?
As Vikki Louise, certified life and relationship coach, tells Bustle, "A solid foundation in a relationship is one of honesty, communication and trust, which all come together."
When you build a solid foundation in your relationship, Louise says a number of things will happen. You will talk to each other with respect and kindness, you will be patient with each other, you can trust your partner, and most importantly, any secrets you may have will be out in the open. Again, it's all about honesty, trust, and communication. If those three major elements aren't present in your relationship, you may not have built a solid foundation from the very beginning.
The good news is, you can turn it around right now. According to Louise, "All you have to do is stop the bad habits and start the good ones." So here are some signs that you might not have built a solid foundation in your relationship and what you can do to fix it.
1. You Like To Vent About Your Partner To Other People
"A solid foundation is when two people feel like they get to be each other's first-point-of-contact," Yue Xu, host and creator of the Dateable Podcast, tells Bustle. For instance, when you're having a rough day, your partner is the very first person you want to talk to. But if you're complaining about your partner to all of your friends and your partner is the last person to hear about your complaints, that's not a great sign. If you want to turn things around, establish your partner as your go-to person. "Address your issues with your partner before you blab to other people," she says. "Nobody else will know your relationship as well as you and your partner. So give [them] the opportunity to address your issues before anybody else."
2. Your Love Comes With Conditions
Loving someone unconditionally means that your feelings for your partner will never change no matter what life throws at you. It's a type of love that doesn't happen overnight but develops over time. As Louise says, in order to establish unconditional and build a more solid foundation for your relationship, be sure to love your partner for who they really are. "The truth is, we are all human and we are all imperfect," she says. "Love them no matter what."
3. You're Not Completely Comfortable Expressing Yourself
Honesty and communication are two key elements for having a truly stable relationship. But it's impossible to say that you have a solid foundation if you aren't comfortable being yourself and expressing your true feelings. According to Louise, being your authentic self will help you build a strong foundation. But this can only happen if you're willing to open up and be vulnerable. As scary as it can be for some, Louise says it's important to give your partner the opportunity to love you unconditionally as well.
4. Your Fights Center Around The Same One Or Two Issues
Rehashing the same issues over and over again will only build walls in your relationship. So leave the past where it belongs — the past. "Maybe your relationship didn’t start off exactly as you wanted and maybe there were things to improve," Louise says. "That's OK. Focus less about what you both did in the past and give your energy to the partner you want to become in the future." It's important if you truly want to move towards a more stable future.
5. You Don't Feel Like Your Partner Truly Gets You
When you haven't built a solid foundation in your relationship, you may feel like you can't express yourself without being judged or belittled. You may also feel like your partner doesn't actually listen to you when you're trying to express your feelings. In order to have a solid foundation, relationship expert and writer Jaala Thomas, tells Bustle, "Both parties must begin with mutual respect for each other or a healthy relationship cannot exist." If your partner isn't showing you respect, which is pretty basic for any healthy relationship, you may need to reconsider whether this is right person for you.
6. The Person You've Gotten To Know Isn't The Same Person You Initially Fell For
Chemistry and physical attraction will only get you so far. "Oftentimes a couple enters into a relationship without asking enough questions," John Wilder, relationship coach and author of Sex Education for Adults, tells Bustle. When this happens, you may find yourself celebrating your one-year anniversary with a person who doesn't ever see themselves getting married or having kids in the future when that's always been your ultimate dream. If you haven't discovered your partner's values early on, it's important to do so as soon as possible. "The best way to deal with these problems is to ask all of those questions before you go any further and get satisfactory answers or you may need to consider ditching the relationship," he says.
7. You Have Trouble Compromising
If the relationship feels completely one-sided, or you and your partner think of "me" before "we," you may not have built a solid foundation for your relationship. Compromise is key and having the ability to compromise in a way that satisfies the both of you takes time and development. "Forget what you were told in movies," Louise says. "Great relationships don’t happen by chance. They take work." It's pretty necessary if you want a long-term future with your partner.
Although both you and your partner should put in the work to make things change, Louise says it takes just one of you to intiate that change. "Often in relationships, we become mirrors of each other and our behaviour is the biggest signal of how we expect to be treated," she says. "For instance, if I expect you to hang out with my friends, I will spend time with yours. If I don’t want you to spend time with my friends, then I won’t push to spend time with yours."
In other words, lead by example. If you show your partner that you want a more solid foundation that's filled with trust, honesty, and communication, they will follow suit. With a little bit of time and work, you can have the solid relationship that you want.