In a world of easy come, easy go relationships, it should be a relief when you finally do find “the one”. At long last, your search is over, or so you think. Unfortunately, if you spent a lot of time single or going from relationship to relationship, it can be hard to shut off the switch in your brain that constantly urges you to look for a partner. Relationships can seem (even if you only think it subconsciously) like a temporary part of your life if that’s all you’ve ever known. This is the opposite of what you want in a long term relationship!
Here are three ways that you can shift your thinking and enable yourself to view your relationship as a long term investment.
1. Recognize Your Propensity for Emotional Affairs
Sorry if I made you gasp, but please hear me out on this one! Many of us might think we are above the temptation of an affair, but believe me when I say this: many of us have already had one. And in fact, you can have an affair with someone that doesn’t exist.
When you and your partner get into a disagreement, you might tell yourself “If only I had waited until I met my REAL soulmate…” or something similar in times of high stress or conflict. You tell yourself that since things obviously aren’t going the way they would be if you were both madly in love, you must’ve chosen the wrong person.
In doing this, you’ve created an unrealistic man (or woman) in your mind that is even more dangerous on some levels than if you were having an emotional affair with a real person. A real person is going to have flaws, but your imaginary boyfriend won’t! He’s perfect. He says and does all the right things in your fantasies and a real person (your partner) can’t compete with him.
If you want your relationship to last, you need to kick this fantasy dude to the curb, swallow your pride, and confess to your partner about him. If you’ve promised your heart to your partner for forever and always, you need to honor that commitment and problem solve with your partner when things get tough, rather than retreating into a fantasy world with a fantasy man.
2. Maintain Your Relationship Like Your Other Investments
No, there isn’t an equivalent of an oil change on a car that you can do on a woman (though I’m sure many men wish it were that easy), but the idea still stands. You take care of your other investments (house, car, etc.) by tending to their specific needs and doing repairs to make sure nothing is getting out of hand. You need to treat your relationship the same way.
Don’t allow wounds to fester (they’ll only cause a blow out later), change your perspective when necessary and apologize and ask for forgiveness when you’ve caused pain. Don’t avoid doing and saying the hard things because some small part of you thinks it would be easier to walk away. That voice in your head of doubt is trying to separate you and the person you swore to love, don’t let it win based off of a big fat lie.
3. Dream About the Future, Together!
The last bit of advice I have is fun, I promise! In order to view your relationship as an investment, you need to dream together. Dream about vacations you want to take, goals you want to accomplish, and things you want to check off your bucket list together. Then actually do them.
Loving someone can be hard work, made harder by not taking the time to play together and be young in spirit together. I think this is a vital piece in relationships that many miss today, because of our society’s glorification of “busy”. Neglecting important parts of your life due to being “busy” is not admirable.
Protect your relationship from anything that threatens it (whether it be an imaginary boyfriend or being busy) and safeguard it as a longterm investment!