I'm writing this letter to help shed some light on relationships and what is regular behaviour in them. I recently met up with several guy friends and we began discussing why one or two of them hadn't managed to find a girlfriend and it ended in my conclusion that they had unrealistic expectations of relationships and women.
Just like many men will try to ignore the fact that women poop, so will they believe that there is this perfect woman out there who is everything that they're looking for and why should they settle for less? "But who is perfect?" I would tell them and "if you're not perfect is it fair to expect them to be?". We began to discuss the areas of relationships that they did and didn't like and I found they had quite clear misconceptions of what was good or bad.
To set somewhat of a scene, I have been in a relationship for just over three years now. Although I know I am not always the perfect boyfriend and my girlfriend isn't the perfect girlfriend either, I feel we have several habits that people outside the relationship might see as damaging when they are actually healthy. If other couples introduced some of these into their relationships then perhaps they would be the better for it!
Honesty is the best policy
I don't like to lie to my girlfriend and I appreciate that she will tell me everything too. If she tells me how many guys asked her out when she was walking down the street, it doesn't make me jealous but rather proud of both myself and her. It makes me appreciate her more, reminds me of how lucky I am to have her and see her as those people do on the street.
Of course honesty being the best policy doesn't always result in happiness. Like any woman my girlfriend takes pride in her appearance, she is a beautiful, tall woman and loves to dress well and look good before going out. Obviously I should know after three years that it takes her multiple outfits and several piles of clothes on the floor to get an outfit together, but the mess irritates me. Generally she will get ready and look great, but there are the odd occasions when what she has thrown together doesn't work at all. So when it comes to her asking "how do I look?", the majority of guys in a relationship will mumble a "fine" just to avoid any issues. I however prefer to be honest and say what I feel doesn't go, it usually results in her getting pissy at me and taking an extra long amount of time to get ready but we both feel more comfortable for it when we go out.
Obviously it might seem like a childish example of honesty but what I have realised over the years is that it is better to be honest that to create an illusion of happiness when you aren't happy. This isn't a positive way to be in any relationship and it will usually result in a split.
Being open with one another is a solid foundation to a healthy relationship and you should feel comfortable saying that stuff to your partner and also hearing it from their end too.
Putting things in perspective
As I already mentioned, a lot of younger guys will have distorted views of how a girl will be in a relationship. We've all heard stories from girls that are scared to take their makeup off at night because they worry their guys might not fancy them. There is a definite pressure from our society to look good all the time and this is definitely a hindrance to a healthy relationship. So give each other a break and share your slob days together but don't judge your partner for not wanting to wear a short skirt and heels all the time.
Once again that might sound like a childish example but for me putting things into perspective also means knowing when to let things go and realising that some conflicts are inevitable but how you deal with them are important. For instance, I didn't start arguing with my girlfriend till well into our third year, but those arguments were because I was trying to get her to help out around the house and to adopt more of a 'go-getter' attitude in her career. I could nag her forever about these things but I know when to leave it, her being ignorant to what I am saying does make me mad but it doesn't make me lover her less and she knows that I am saying this stuff because I care about her and want the best for her.
Fancying other people
I like to link this point with honesty. Being attracted to others whilst you are still in a relationship is only natural and neither you or your partner can be expected to ignore the rest of humanity. Having a flirt when you meet new friends or eyeing up someone on the street isn't going to be a deal breaker for your relationship if you chat to your partner about it. For us it keeps things fresh and makes you realise what you've got, which is something a lot of relationships lose track of when they get weighed down with stress etc.
The most important thing about this is whether we act on it or not. I don't mind my girlfriend going to events and meeting good looking guys because she tells me about it and she knows they're just people trying to get in her knickers, the same goes for her with me. As long as you realise that it's just a base attraction and most of the time I think that they'll probably be really weird anyway, so neither of us are missing out on anything.
There are so many little factors that can have an impact on a relationship and for me they always come down to trust and openness. I'm not fretting if my girlfriend has to go away for a week with work. In fact I like the alone time, I trust her to be loyal (as she does with me) and as we're always in touch with each other I don't even miss her much!