If you’re my friend and you’re in a relationship and we go out and grab drinks, I will accidentally start to interrogate you about your relationship. Not in a creepy way, but I’m so curious about what makes a relationship successful. It’s like I think I’ll absorb your success by osmosis or something and then I’ll be able to abandon Bumble for good.
The friends I talk to are diverse. Engaged. Married. In a relationship. Their jobs are different. Their backgrounds are different. Their significant others are different. And yet the things they say about their successful relationship have been almost universally the same. So here are the pieces of advice I’ve learned from real life happy couples. Thanks, girls, for letting me pester you with my incessant questioning. This is why you don’t hang out with a journalist:
They didn’t see fireworks on their first date
We’re taught that the first date with the “right” person should leave you feeling like you just got trampled by a unicorn shooting sparklers out of its eyes. The people I know who are in the happiest and most committed relationships all seem to agree that this wasn’t the case for them. They left excited to see the person again, but they certainly didn’t think it was game over. They were just ready to see what happened next.
Their relationship makes them feel calm and secure
We’ve all been in a situation where we’re a little bit obsessed with someone. You stare at your phone waiting for them to text you, and when you don’t hear from them you drive yourself nuts. The right relationship gets rid of this. I know that total infatuation can be fun, but over time it makes you a crazy person and that’s not cool. When you meet the right one, you should feel secure and cared for. You know that they’re going to text you and want to see you again, no panic necessary.
They can be themselves
We’re all a little bit weird. But when you’re dating someone new, sometimes you have to hold that weird back because you don’t want the person sitting across from you to be freaked out. When you get into the right relationship, you can let your weird fly free because your partner is cool with it. From quirky habits to irrational fears, they love it all.
There’s just not a lot of thinking involved
On my podcast, The Margarita Confessionals, and in this article I wrote for Charlotte Five, we talked about how dating involves a lot of strategizing. You’re constantly analyzing what the other person is thinking, and wondering about how you should respond. The thing that separates dating from a real, live relationship is that this incessant need for analysis fades away. There’s no need to hold your cards close to your vest. You just do your thing and be you and it all feels comfortable.
Having a relationship that feels easy and authentic is something I’d definitely sign up for. I shall continue swiping away, keeping these principles in mind.