[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]From friendship, then dating, then serious dating, how do you now “level-up” your relationship to something that’s more mature, more grown-up? Well, the fact that you’re reading about this says quite a lot about your intentions — you’re ready. You’re ready to quit the games and to finally get serious (and seriously mature!) with your mate.
Before deciding to take a relationship to the next level though, the most important step is choosing the right guy. Choosing the right guy will spare you from the potential headaches and heartbreaks in the future. After all, a relationship is just as unique as the individuals make it — with two good, stable people making up the relationship, it’ll be easier to have a good stable relationship as well.
In addition, you have to understand that the decision to finally have a true, grown-up relationship isn’t just up to you to decide: it’s a mutual decision between you and your beau. Make sure that he’s ready for it, but you also have to know in yourself that you’re ready for it as well.
Once you’ve had that conversation, you can now proceed with this article. Here are 8 ways to have a true, grown-up relationship. Buckle up, it’ll be one heck of a ride!
1. Open up! No more guessing games, missy. If you’re upset with your beau, stop prolonging his agony by giving him the silent treatment. A mature relationship means that you’re ready to have tough and uncomfortable conversations — even if that means hurting your ego. If you were upset about the tone with which he spoke with you, then tell him! If you’re uncomfortable about how sloppy he is, then bring it up. Don’t expect him to read your mind. It doesn’t help him, or you, or the relationship.
2. Be prudent.
Learning to be open to your partner doesn’t mean I’m telling you to have a screaming match with him whenever you bring up your issues. You have to learn that there is a proper time and place for conversations, especially difficult ones. While you have to be open about your issues, you also have to learn how to lay the cards on the table without (or with less) risk of hurting the other person.
Try this: when you feel hurt about something he’s done, give yourself a day or two to cool down. After that, when the raging emotions are out of the way, ask him out for some coffee, and start with, “Hey, Brian. I’m sorry I’ve been a bit cold the past few days. It’s just that, I was hurt when you cancelled our plans the other day, because I wanted to spend time with you.” Be honest, and be patient.
3. Understand that fighting is inevitable, but you can learn to fight smart. You’ll be crazy to think that having a true, grown-up relationship is devoid of fighting and arguments. Arguing is essential in a relationship — it helps you understand each other better. So instead of avoiding friction altogether, learn how to fight smart. Fighting smart, just like point #2, means that you know how to be prudent about your fights. Again, I’m calling on your nerdy side, learn how to be rational about your arguments. Take a step back from the issue, remove your feelings and your emotions, and see the issue for what it is. You’ll be surprised to know that your partner may actually be right, or if you’re convinced you are, then you’ll be able to argue much more thoroughly, without hurting your partner’s feelings.
4. Understand that people change. The sooner you understand this, the better your relationship will be. Human beings are dynamic, not static, beings. This means that your partner (and you, too) will constantly be changing. This could mean either improving, or regressing, but either way, accepting a person means accepting him not just for who he is now, but for who he was, and who he is about to be.
5. Be supportive. While you face the reality of #4, you can also avoid negative changes in your beau by being supportive. This means listening well to him, and being an emotional pillar for him. Our men also have their ups and their downs, so celebrate with them in their ups, and be their shoulder to lean on during their downs. This way, you’ll also be able to show him how to be supportive. In a true, loving relationship, the more love you give, the more love you receive. Give support, and give love.
6. Don’t sweat the small stuff. I know you’ve probably heard this a lot, but in relationships, this is even more important: don’t let the small things get in the way. Do his quirks irk you? Well, if you’ve chosen this guy for all the great qualities he has, small quirks are tiny tradeoffs in this relationship. You should also learn to temper yourself: if you’re sensitive, or easily angered, take a beat and breathe before you react.
7. Understand that relationships are always works in progress. There is no such thing as a perfect relationship, so don’t be so hard on yourself and on him, and most importantly, STOP COMPARING YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO SOMEONE ELSE’S! Everyone’s story is unique, and everyone’s story is just being written. So, instead of focusing your energies on other people’s relationships, focus on writing yours — focus on your boyfriend (or husband), and watch your relationship unfold.
8. Be vulnerable. Learn how to let those walls down, and learn to let love in. Sometimes, especially for us nerds, we tend to shut people out because we often don’t know how to love. The first step in loving is to allow yourself to be loved. Let him hold you, feel it when he says he loves you, tell him you love him, too. It’s a very fulfilling feeling, you know? Loving and being loved in return.
In the end, consider yourself lucky to be seated at the front row of a beautiful love story unfolding. I’m not saying it’ll be a fairytale ending, but it’s a story that’s uniquely yours — embrace it, and watch it closely. This way, you’ll learn to be in the moment, and you’ll learn how to love intentionally and unconditionally. What a ride, right?