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Below is what I think it takes to have successful and happy relationships of any kind but especially romantic.

I am 28 now so I have a lot to learn still and I genuinely just want to be a nice person and maximize the amount of fun and novel experiences I get to live through in this life. Below list I think maximizes that goal in some broad strokes systematic way. I have some other rules I note down too that help me a lot.

At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.

1. Be honest. Be kind. Be empathetic.

Put above in short because I think it summarizes everything well. You have to be honest and communicate everything.

If you honestly love the person. Find out what they like/enjoy doing. And do it. If your partner mentions something they wanted or thought would be nice, take initiative and do it.

Conflicts are natural too. Important to remember that a conflict is not you fighting with another person. It's you and her/him fighting to solve the issue/conflict whatever it may be. The hardest part is identifying what the issue is and being honest about it.

Most conflicts are solved through thorough and kind communication. Some conflicts can reappear often though and may hint at some deep issues in the relationship. It could be the case that you actually stopped loving a person for some reason. In those cases, it's good to cut the relationship early and not let each other suffer as this lack of love will show in many ways.

It's important to remember that how others feel about you is not a reflection of who you are as a person. People are different. Tastes are different. Time plays a huge role too in how people perceive things. Be kind and talk through things.

Scenes from a Marriage is nice series that showcases how lack of communication can destroy relationships.

You should always remember you are dealing with another human being. Who can be irrational with thoughts and emotions. It's hard to take another point's of view but you can try.

One thing I personally found and try my best to stop doing is when I am hurt/depressed myself, I can project this unhappiness in way I talk or do things too. I don't do this any more as I became self aware of this behavior. What is unfortunate and good to remember is that any real damage you do to another person most likely won't disappear with time. Many wounds take a long of time/work to heal so be very careful with what you say and how you say things.

Some relationships don't work out and there's nothing you can do about it. And that's okay. Cherish the time you spent together and move on. Leaving a relationship does not mean you won't see each other again. It could be the case you met each other at the wrong time in your life.

2. Don't avoid/ignore conflicts. Communicate everything.

Mentioned above briefly but the goal of relationships in my eyes should be to grow and enjoy life together. That's it. Anything less than that is an issue. And sometimes you can't properly enjoy life due to some recurring issues, arguing or bad moods/looks. Talk it out. Speak your mind and show that it's you and her vs this problem. You want this to work out and you are open to everything unless it crosses your personal boundaries/values. Try and fix any issues that arise at their root.

Truly acknowledge and apologize for mistakes made. Don't be cruel. Treat your partner and everyone with respect.

3. Be open to change but respect your own and your partner's personal boundaries.

Everyone has some personal boundary. For some it could be non consensual relationships in whatever form (talking flirtatiously is already breaking boundaries to many). With respect to wanting to pursue a different person, always respect your partner and discuss it but be ready to quit the relationship at this point as many are against any kind of polyamory. It's better than doing something potentially hurtful behind someone's back and then being found out on it. The latter is narcissistic behavior. Narcissistic behavior in general is very important to study. Dr. Ramani is amazing resource on it as she has many videos analyzing narcissistic behavior.

My personal opinion with regards to polyamory is that if someone wants to pursue a relationship with another person whilst in relationship with me, that is completely fine, just take safety precautions. I don't think that if someone loves two or more people at same time, that devalues love in any way. I do think though that eventually people do want to settle down with a person they love as anything will be deemed a waste of time compared to spending time with your one partner. But oppressing the relationship with setting bounds on texting and meeting anyone is unnatural and in some ways enforced to us by society as being the 'right' and ethical way to do relationships.

The only boundary I personally hold is no lying or withholding info. Relationships and especially such intimate ones like one with your partner are built on trust and being able to rely on the person. Everything else is a fair game. Part of this ethos is described well by ethical non-monogamy. Which in my view only works if you value yourself highly irrespective of what anyone thinks or does, including people closest to you.

4. Don't be narcissistic. Us, not just you.

If you do make a mistake. Genuinely apologize and learn from it so as to not repeat it again. Never be cruel. And always treat your partner with respect. Speaking of narcissistic abuse, this testimony by Johnny Depp portraying alleged abuse of Amber Heard is a good read of how being with a narcissist can be catastrophic to your own self worth. It's best to detect narcissistic behavior early from either side of the relationship. Talk it out and try to fix it and become a better person not just for your partner but for yourself. I personally was narcissistic in many ways in my relationship. For example when I felt sad or depressed, I would ignore my partner and not listen to her because I 'have bigger problems' or I want to show my unhappiness to get comfort. This applied when I had depression (from uni days, hated many of uni courses, being super poor and not believing in myself or my ability to actually earn money in this world), now I don't do this. Don't ignore the feelings and hurt of your partner.

If your partner wants comfort, show it. If your partner wants to talk, talk it out. Show love.

5. Show love.

Should actually be the first point as it is the most important thing in successful and happy relationships I think. Everyone should feel loved. What's the point of a relationship otherwise?

Showing love implies you actually genuinely love the other person. If you don't, just leave. Life is too short for this.

Showing love means trying your best to bring the other person up. Show happiness and gratitude for spending life together. Compliment her/him. Take walks. Go on dates, short and big. My favorite activity with my partner is to simply go for a walk and take a coffee together in some place outside. Discuss the day and your plans. You are a team after all.

I once thought flowers were useless but I learned with time. Flowers as an act of love is amazing in itself but also once you do buy flowers for your partner, you then put them in your home. This improves the atmosphere at home as flowers are lovely but it's also a subtle reminder to your partner that you are loved and cared for.

6. Smell nice. Look after yourself.

As relationship progresses, you can sometimes take your partner and love for granted. The more obvious example of such disregard is stopping putting effort into making yourself look great and looking after yourself in more broad terms. Solution here is not taking your partner for granted. And genuinely trying to be the best version of yourself at no cost of anyone. This applies for men especially but don't be afraid to share how you really feel with your partner. The worst thing you can do is suppressing your emotions out of fear of something. If you are in this position, remember the above, go from the position of love always. Be honest and communicate it all. Be kind and if something doesn't work out, first try to make it work. If nothing works out, move on. No such thing as lost time. There is only time well lived, your lessons, the ever present moment you are in and your thoughts of what the future holds. Nothing else matters as much. Your emotions are transitory. You are just an observer. Even to your own thoughts. It's what you act on that matters. And how it makes you feel.

7. Be interested and fascinated by your partner genuinely. Be happier together.

Direct consequence of being in love with a person is being genuinely fascinated by how your partner thinks and lives. And showing and sharing this fascination.


With respect to talking to new people and continuing and maintaining interest in conversation. Asking good questions is key. Being honest and humble in your replies to her/his questions. Be lighthearted and high spirited. You are happy to be here right now and talking about whatever the thing is. I met many people with whom I can really talk about anything and enjoy it. Listening to various podcasts is amazing for practicing asking interesting questions and maintaining conversations.

I also share my thoughts on finding romantic partners. One fun thing to do with your partner is to do a fictional character test and guess who got who for a show.

The grass is greener where you water it. Say and show love to people you love. However if you don't feel amazing when spending time with your partner and/or you fight for same reasons, it's time to move on. People and interests change. It will be better for both of you in the end. Let past go. No such thing as wasted time, just lessons learned. Just never burn your bridges! Try leave on good terms, as much as possible.

The Proust Questionnaire has nice questions to get to know a person.

For long time relationships I think key things to look for are:

  1. Actually living together.
  2. See how they handle setbacks/failure.
  3. How attentive they are especially long distance.
  4. How you feel together and how you feel separate. Good relationship should make you feel better.

There’s many more points like how they treat others including animals but I think that’s more ‘good/bad person’ qualities rather than can you vibe together.

Once in a relationship, it's important to have some kind of date nights once a week where you spend time together with the goal of doing nothing but enjoying time in each other’s company.

Empathy vs Sympathy is nice watch.