Romantic relationships come in all shapes and sizes these days. That creates more opportunities for finding true love, but it can also make talking about your connection more complicated. As you've probably noticed, cohabitation is on the rise. More couples are living together before marriage or as an alternative to becoming married.
In fact, by the time they're 30, three out of four American women have lived with a man, according to the National Survey Of Family Growth. Whatever arrangement you choose, you're likely to enjoy more success when you communicate openly and respectfully. Try these suggestions for developing the courage and skill to define your relationship, and plan for your future.
1Proceed With The Relationship Slowly
Rushing into revealing personal information or wanting to see each other exclusively could sabotage your budding relationship if you are still in the early stages of dating. Pace yourself. This way, you can grow accustomed to each other gradually.
2Give Advance Notice
You may take your partner by surprise if they've been content to let nature take its course. Give advance notice. Ask them if it's a good time to talk about where your relationship is headed.
3Calculate Your Risks
You'll be better prepared if you evaluate the full range of the likely outcomes. Your partner may be less committed than you are, or there may be stressful negotiations ahead. Remind yourself that being informed empowers you.
4Think Before Deciding
It's easy to drift from sharing an apartment to walking down the aisle. Examine your reasons for staying together. Are you motivated by love or concerned about how you would cover the mortgage on your own?
5Consider External Pressures
Weddings and holidays can skew your vision. Consider external pressures such as these. It's usually a good idea to postpone any relationship talk until a quieter moment.
6Make Contingency Plans
You'll feel stronger and more resilient if you prove to yourself that you can thrive, regardless of your relationship status. Make contingency plans. Lead a fulfilling life while you're looking to meet your future partner.
7Check In Regularly
Speak up promptly when something is bothering you. Doing so will prevent conflicts from growing. Make heart-to-heart talks part of your daily routine.
8Be Positive About Your Relationship
It's easy to take each other for granted as the years go by. Remind yourself of the things that you like about your spouse. Tell them that they're a great dancer or pastry chef.
9Share Parenting Responsibilities
Having children can change a romantic relationship dramatically. Hash out a parenting philosophy that you can both feel comfortable with. Decide on issues like discipline and homework.
10Divide Your Chores
Divvying up the vacuuming and yard work plays a big role in maintaining marital harmony. Pick the chores that you excel at, or you can take turns. Encourage your partner to let you know if they feel that you're not doing your fair share.
11Take Charge Of Your Finances
Even if one spouse is more experienced with managing money, you both need to understand your income and expenses. Share financial information with each other. Ask questions about anything that's unclear.
12Look Ahead Into The Future
One delightful thing about a long-term relationship is having someone to share your hopes and dreams with. Look ahead into the future together. Brainstorm about making your golden years extra special.
13Live Up To Your Word
Actions still speak louder than words, especially when you're talking with someone you see up close seven days a week. Treating each other with love and kindness will strengthen your marriage more than any eloquent speech. So live up to your word.
Maybe you're eager to start planning your wedding day. Perhaps, you just want to clarify how your partner feels about you. Talking about your relationship with your partner will help you figure out where you stand.