Relationships are not like cheap hats

I recently received an excellent piece of relationship advice. One of those moments of clarity where it is phrased perfectly. From my wonderful mother-in-law: You have to love someone how they want to be loved.

Relationships are not a one-sized-fits-all proposition. You can not take method that works with one person and assume that it works with every future relationship from there on out. It simply does not work that way.

Every person has unique set of physical, emotional, and intellectual needs. You need to take the right approach to this. Discovering that right combination of methodology and intensity is part of what makes a relationship work.

The first step, as it often is with relationships, is to have an open dialog about it. A lot of problems can be averted simply be discussing them before they occur. This will help avoid assumptions.

Assumptions can be deadly, especially as your experience grows. It is easy to assume that your experience is a universal truth, both for good and for ill. What one partner loves, the next might hate, or vis versa.

Another big assumption to avoid: the idea that everything will stay the same forever. Not only does your partner deserve to be loved as they want to be, they have the right to change how they want to be loved over time. Life stands still for no-one, even those in love. You must constantly be able to adjust and adapt to the changes in your partners desires.

The uniqueness of your relationships is not something to be feared though. Rather, it is what makes each new relationship worth starting, the potential for new and wonderful experiences. With a bit of consideration, and a lot of hard work, every relationship can be a great one.

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