Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Keys to a Happier Relationship

Relationships are difficult. And how could it be any different? It involves two chairless chimps who barely know what they want trying to be happy together.

How can we improve our chances of staying happy in love?

  • Share what makes you difficult. We all have our fair share of flaws that make us challenging to live with. It might be that we avoid conflict, have different views on what’s clean, are rigid about our routines, suffer from mood swings and trust issues, or that we’re a bit needy. If we can explain what’s wrong with us before our difficulties trigger an argument, our partner will be better prepared for setbacks. Making our inevitable squabbles and fights less impactful. 
  • Accept they’re not perfect. It doesn’t matter if our partner is the best person we’ve ever met, they’re still going to substantially ruin our lives. That’s okay, it’s part of the fun. The real trouble arises when we don’t expect our significant other to disrupt our well-being. Because then we’ll feel so disappointed to be living with an idiot that we’ll lash out. Instead of having a relatively tame argument, we’ll call them names and slam doors. But nobody feels motivated to learn when they feel threatened.
  • Treat small things as big things. In most areas of our lives, such as work and friendship, we feel relatively strong and robust. That’s why it’s relatively easy to shrug off feelings of disappointment and irritation. But when it comes to our romantic relationships, we’re incredibly fragile. Even a small thing can deeply wound us. That’s why it’s important we create a safe space with our lover, where everything can be discussed, no matter how immature or ridiculous. Relax that stiff upper lip and communicate what’s wrong.
  • Stop comparing your relationship to those of others. We’re deeply aware of how flawed our own union is, but all that we know about other couples is what they choose to tell us. And that’s a heavily edited picture. We probably only get to see the highlights. And when we see social media updates of them celebrating anniversaries, promoting each other’s achievements, and going on fancy trips—while we’re currently struggling with a lack of sex, communication and quality time—we tend to feel lonely and out of place.
  • Get a more honest view of yourself. As long as we believe we’re amazing and a joy to be with, we’re a danger to everyone around us. Especially our romantic partner. We’ll feel entitled to too much and refuse to acknowledge our contribution to our problems. We only start to be kind and understanding once we know we’re difficult.
By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach