A Few Thoughts on Successful Relationships

A Few Thoughts on Successful Relationships - questions and answers

  • What do you think are the most important elements of a successful relationship?

Two important qualities of successful relationships are to be able to actively listen and to act creatively! Too many couples pay lip service to each other. They fall into the trap of thinking they know what the other wants. They also believe they can ‘read their lover’s mind’ or think they know best. These all too typical attitudes mean they don’t actively listen to their lover.

A couple keys to active listening includes giving your partner time to express them self. You then should also be given this time. Then repeat back to them what you think they mean. For example, if you two have fallen out over how you spend your leisure time and your lover says what they think you two should do, you’d repeat back, ‘So you feel you’d like to spend more time doing things together and less time with our friends?’ They can then confirm or deny that you’ve understood.

The second important quality of acting creatively means finding different types of solutions to everyday hurdles. Try to act flexibly when you two come unstuck over something. Realising that there are always more than one way of doing something and of relating to each other means you’re less likely to become stuck in negative relationship patterns.

* How important is it to feel sexually attracted to one another over time?

The importance of maintaining sexual attraction to each other varies considerably between couples. No couple should feel they have to reach some sort of norm of bedding each other, e.g., three times a week. What’s most important is what works for them. Some couples are more than happy to have less and less sex as other parts of their lives become more important, e.g., raising children or career challenges. Others would feel deeply rejected if their sex life took a back seat. The obvious thing is to talk about your sexual needs with each other in a non-threatening way. Again you should never guess what your partner’s needs are. The key is to negotiate compromises where necessary between, e.g., your sex drives or your desire to be more adventurous. This is much more easy to do when you build in quality one-on-one time with each other where you take the trouble to simply enjoy each other’s company with out distractions. For couples that want to maintain a reasonable level of sexual activity a key consideration is being willing to experiment without feeling threatened or not good enough by the other’s suggestions.

  •  Can a relationship ever survive if one of you is unfaithful?

About 60% of couples who’ve experienced infidelity stay together. And about half of those find that after working through what’s happened their relationship can become stronger! The others sometimes stick with a second-best relationship because they don’t see any option or they stick together despite the fact they never get past the infidelity. The other 40% of couples face either immediate break-up or one that occurs over a period of time where attempts to heal the damage are not successful. Each couple must decide whether it’s worth giving their relationship a shot after infidelity.


  •  What problems are presented if you have to spend a lot of time apart?  

I’ve found the four biggest problems couples face in long-distance relationships are a lack of trust, feeling neglected, placing too high expectations on their time together or finding their time together is eaten up by the mundane, but necessary, things of life like DIY, paying bills, shopping for household things, etc.


Trust is hard enough to build in a relationship where you see each other regularly but even harder where there’s distance. Many in long distance relationships feel their lover could ‘do more’ to make them feel loved and missed– and so neglect plays a big part. The third problem of placing high expectations on their time together means that they can feel let down when things go wrong, e.g., on their weekend together, one has a headache so sex is off the agenda, their plans backfire etc. So they need to keep a grip on the fact that just because they haven’t seen each other for a fortnight it doesn’t mean it’s going to be all ‘hearts, flowers and moonlight’. The fourth problem of facing things that need to be done in any long term relationship, e.g., they have a flat together, and the weekend the man is home they need to spend fixing some problems can make it feel like their small amount of time is a chore.

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