Relationships are the fastest way to personally evolve, if you are prepared to stay a continuous student. Any relationship will, sooner or later, bring up and highlight areas in which you can learn more about yourself, your partner and your ability to truly relate to what is.
What is a long term relationship?
In order to find out how we can stay happy in a long term relationship we need to first clarify the meaning of ‘long term relationship’. Personally I would consider a relationship to be long term somewhere around the time when it passed the two to three years mark. The reason for that time frame is that the initial honeymoon period, in which we start out as a couple, lasts anywhere from 6 to 18 months, at the most – and if you are lucky – 3 years. For more information on the different stages in relationships refer to my most popular article called ‘Stages of a Relationship’.
‘Staying happy’ means that you mostly feel comfortable in your relationship without having to deal with any major crisis on a regular basis. Staying happy should also include a healthy attitude and acceptance towards arguments with your partner. If, on the other hand, you expect that you will never be upset at your partner or that there will never be a negative feeling between you, then you are either denying human reality and/or should probably stay single.
Relationships change over time
Relationships will inevitably change with time. Initially most couples experience a high level of passion, arousal and loving feelings towards their partner. After the honeymoon period, and when differentiation sets in, we perceive our partner with a more realistic eye, which also means that we come to realise that our previous ‘perfect partner’ might not be that perfect after all. That is the time when you are required to face up to reality and you can choose to continue with your relationship with more true openness to what is, accepting its change and grow with it.
Love and connection beyond the effect of hormones
Staying happy in a long term relationship means that you are willing to accept and work with those changes. It means that you find a love and connection deeper than the one powered by hormones. Dealing with differences and accepting disagreeing with your partner are part of any long term relationship.
Communication and openness
A long term relationship will eventually bring out your true self and that of your partner. This can be an uncomfortable evolution as you are being faced with your own, as well as your partner’s, less pleasant parts. That is when open communication, about self, others and the relationship, and acceptance of self and others become major milestones and achievements in your self-development!