Updated: Oct 18, 2021
There you are, sitting beside your girlfriend. You’ve just had another disagreement, that just seems to go nowhere. She’s fine now, and although things are calm, the tension in the air seems to fester like an infection.
Although your bodies are close, you’re feeling more and more disconnected as the weeks and months go by. Your sexual confidence has been taking a shot lately because the sex hasn’t been the greatest, if it even happens at all.
A couple minutes pass, and she receives a text message......
.....You can’t see the name on the message, but she looks at it and smiles a smile you haven’t seen in too long. “What’s happening?” You think. “Is this the beginning of the end? How can I stop it?”
You think to yourself, “When did this happen? We used to be so much happier and close. I still love her, but I don’t know how much longer I can take this.”
Or, maybe you’re thinking to yourself, “Damn. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m making the same mistakes I was in my last relationship. I don’t want this one to end like the last ones. I don’t want to fuck this up. How can I make sure this lasts and I do this right?”
You got into a relationship for connection, intimacy, love, companionship and affection. Whether you’re in the middle of a challenging dynamic, or simply afraid of repeating past mistakes, you can still salvage, and fail-proof your relationship.
How To Define A Successful Relationship
But first, let’s define a fail-proof relationship. Let’s look at 2 options:
Option 1: A relationship lasts 30 years, but it’s full of arguments, contempt, passive-aggressiveness, little or no sex (due to sexual dysfunction, or lack of desire), anger, resentment and a lack of fulfillment.
Option 2: A relationship that lasts any length of time, and although there are disagreements and arguments, it’s mostly full of love, kindness, affection, support, trust, respect, fulfillment and amazing sex.
To me, option 1 is a failed relationship. And option 2, no matter how long it lasts, is a success.
All relationships have their challenges. And the longer the relationship, the more effort they often require.
No relationship is guaranteed to last and be positive. But, you can certainly stack the odds in your favour to create a fail-proof relationship.
4 principles (by no means a comprehensive list) you can do to create a successful relationship
Have your own life that you stand for
Emotionally mature women don’t want dependent relationships. They have their own lives going on, and they don’t want to “lose” themselves. Obviously, they have needs, and want to be in a relationship, otherwise they wouldn’t be dating you.
But they don’t want to feel obligated to you.
Women want to date men who add value into their lives, not be an emotional chore or time sink. And a dependent partner is someone who has little identity of their own, outside of the relationship.
Here are some signals that you’re dependent in your relationship:
You have the same friend group,
You only ever hang out with your girlfriend, and you like all the same things she does,
You’re not happy unless she’s happy,
You have none of your own interests or hobbies,
You find yourself sacrificing all or most of your needs and wants just to make her happy,
She makes all (or most) of the money (ie you wouldn’t survive financially without her),
You’re not happy if she’s not around. In fact, you’re jealous or resentful when she’s not around,
You don’t know who you’d be without her.
If most of these things are ringing true, and they’re not just a temporary situation, then you’re likely leaning a little (or a lot) too much on your partner. She’s suffocating.
With this kind of dynamic, she’s going to feel like she’s losing her own sense of identity. And she knows that if she leaves, you’ll crumble as a “man.”
She’s going to start feeling like a surrogate mother to you. And unless you have an Oedipus complex (ie you want to fuck your mother), there’s nothing sexy about this kind of dynamic.
With this kind of pressure on a girlfriend, and the thought of being your mother, it’s no wonder she’ll try to run away or find some other sense of identity outside of the relationship. Of course she’s going to want to fuck someone else.
How do you prevent this dynamic and being dependent? Here’s how:
Have your own friends,
Have your own life,
Have your own interests and hobbies,
Have your own career path or purpose or mission in life,
Have time in your week that you dedicate to yourself, without your partner,
Be your own sense of happiness and fulfillment,
Know what you want (sexually, emotionally, etc) and communicate it clearly,
Be your own man, so that if she disappeared, although there’d be pain from a loss, you’d still know who you are, what you want, what’s important to you, and what you’re doing in your life.
By doing this, you become your own man, separate from your relationship. You become an individual, who’s able to stand on your own two feet.
Your partner is meant to add to your life; not be everything in it.
Don’t be a dick
Simple, right? Yet men and women alike still struggle with being jerks in relationships.
Dr John Gottman talks about this in his book The 7 Principles of Making Marriage Work. There’s a lot to his book, but he credits something called the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse to a lot of relationship breakdown. Those horsemen are: contempt, criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling. (Read his book if you want an in-depth description of them.)
You can also add things like gaslighting (ie telling your partner that their concerns are stupid or ridiculous) or being passive-aggressive.
Or maybe you consistently take your anger out on her, or you blame her for most, if not all, the problems of the relationship.
If you do these things to your partner, you’re making her feel guilty, shameful, unworthy of your time, energy and attention. She’s going to feel deflated, and like she’s walking on egg-shells around you. She’s going to feel like she’s not getting her needs met, and that she needs to escape from you.
Who would want to be in a relationship with something that makes their needs, or values, or desires, or wants something shameful?
It’s understandable if you have concerns of your own that aren’t being met, and you’re resentful, emotionally or sexually frustrated, angry, lonely, etc.
What’s unreasonable, however, is vomiting your emotions onto her. Instead, learn to clearly communicate what your concerns, frustrations, needs and desires are, in a way that demonstrates respect for her, and yourself.
Don’t let your partner treat you like crap
Riding on the coat-tails of “Don’t be a dick”, comes this one. Most of the time, the reason why people will treat you like crap (ie be a dick to you), is because you let them.
I’ve heard of so many men saying, “My partner is such a bitch. She’s mean to me. I try to make her happy, but she’s always throwing daggers at me.”
A tribe is only as strong as it’s weakest members. That’s why generally, people have an aversion to, or anxiety around, weakness. Especially women.
A lot (most?) women walk through life never feeling fully safe. So, in relationship, they want that feeling of security. They want a man who’s strong. That doesn’t necessarily mean physical size, but rather strength of character.
If they can push you around, they’re not going to feel safe with you. And that’s going to make them angry because they’re in a relationship with a weak man who they don’t trust or respect.
Like it or not, women value security. So, here are two things you can do to create that for her, and use the conflict in your relationship to deepen intimacy. Keep in mind that these need to be done in tandem:
Ask your partner to treat you differently. Yes, ask. If you haven’t set boundaries before, this is new behaviour you’re asking for. So, you need to ask. If she still doesn’t adjust her behaviour or words to you, don’t be a dick (see Item #2).
Instead, tell her that you don’t want to be treated this way. And then tell her how you want be treated. Something as simple as “Don’t talk to me like that. I want to hear what you have to say, because I care about you, but don’t insult me.”
If after weeks or months of effort, she’s still treating you like crap, then it’s possible you’re in an abusive relationship, and you either need to seek counselling, your leave partner.
Get to the source. Try to understand what’s wrong. If she’s snapping at you about a lot of little things, try to understand what’s underneath that tension. Why is she angry? What’s really bothering her?
This means you have to communicate with her, and hear her out, and do what you can to understand. Even if you disagree, do what you can to understand.
You’ll know you understand, when you describe your partners experience back to her, and she says, “Yes, that’s it.” Once you understand, it’s up to you to decide if her needs are something you’re willing to meet. If not, it’s likely time to leave or re-negotiate the relationship.
Make your partner’s life easier
Show kindness, love, and acts of affection. Ultimately, you can’t give your partner love. She can only feel it herself. But you can still be kind. Kindness has been demonstrated as one of the biggest factors to relationship health (references abound on the interwebs).
And you can do things that show her that you love her, in a way that she best receives it. We all receive love differently. Some people feel loved when you buy them gifts. Others feel loved and cared for when you do nice things for them.
If you haven’t yet, read the book the 5 Love Languages with your partner. Hell, if you don’t have time for that, just do the quiz here. By learning what your girlfriend’s love language is, you can demonstrate your love by doing those things.
And lastly, do what you can to understand her. Women need to feel heard and understood. (Not saying we, as men don’t, but for feminine women, it’s a bit more prevalent). Again, you don’t have to agree with her. She just wants to be understood. She wants to be seen.
So, there you go. Those are four things you can do to really stack the odds in your favour of creating a “fail-proof” relationship, and never losing the "one."
But, you never know. Maybe she has intimacy issues and 6 months in, she sabotages the relationship because she can’t handle how amazing you are. That isn't something you can stop. So keep being a fuckin rad dude.