Are you a free spirit, but your partner is on the more conservative side or vice versa? This is not uncommon because opposites attract. The question is how to maintain a life long relationship when likes and dislikes may be so different? You can have a fulfilling, caring and happy relationship, by understanding each others needs and accepting the unique differences, which is probably what appealed to you in the first place.
Please read on for some general tips to happiness when Opposites Attract:
- Know your limits: Your partner may take more risks in his/her life, than you are willing to in your own or vice versa. Know your own limits and what you can and simply put, cannot tolerate. On the other hand, you may want a partner that will follow you to the heights of Mount Everest or drop all responsibilities at a moments notice for a weekend escape. Is this something your partner is willing to do? Having clear boundaries and expectations in your mind and communicating them with your partner is first and foremost in navigating your relationship and deciding if this person is the one that you can make a lasting commitment to.
- Acceptance: You must accept your partner for who he/she truly is. No matter how hard we try we cannot change anyone into something that they are not. Most of the time these personality traits are hard wired from birth or childhood.
- Something Different: Try something different. If you are a conservative person you may want to push yourself a little and share some of the experiences of the adventurous soul you chose for a partner. Go for it; as long as it does not devalue your morals and self. If you are the free spirited one, share in the enjoyment of your partners planning and stability.
- Keep the doors of communication open: Make sure that you are communicating effectively. If you have a disagreement; ask clarifying questions and try to come to a compromise. You and your partner can problem solve together in order to come up with a solution that can meet both of your needs at some level. If a compromise is not possible, just talking things through will leave you and your partner feeling like you have gained an understanding of each others views and needs.
- Fly solo: So your partner wants to go rock climbing and you prefer to sit near a quiet lake and read a book, that’s okay! Come together later and talk about what you did with your day. Discuss what you heard, saw and felt. It is sometimes more powerful to share the details of your wonderful day with your partner, rather than drag him/her along to something they really do not want to do. You may be surprised at how interested and engaged your partner can be in you sharing your thoughts. And, of course, listening to your partner talk about something meaningful is always wonderful. After all, we all want to live a happy and full life.
- Intimacy: Create true intimacy based on trust and understanding. True intimacy can only be achieved if you and your partner truly trust each other. Trust is a gift that we give and needs to be earned over time. Once trust is established in your relationship, intimacy on all levels will flourish.
- Financials: Set common goals and set boundaries if you and your partner will be sharing bank accounts or expenses. Both you and your partner may need to give a little in order for both parties feel a sense of financial fairness.
- Raising children: Discuss your ideation of how you see your children being raised. Do you or your partner or both have strong religious beliefs? Are you able to compromise in this area? What if your beliefs and your partners do not line up? What about discipline? Is this an area of compromise to you? Education expectations? Day Care? Raising children is difficult when both partners are in agreement and an area that for some there is no comprising in certain or all areas. Make sure that you and your partner are able to freely communicate you ideas and thoughts on this topic freely.
- Friends: Keep your friends! Too often when a relationship begins, friends are pushed to the way side. Do not isolate yourself from your friends. Introduce your friends to your partner. Include your partner in your friendships. But, also continue to nurture your friendships and have your time out with friends away from your partner. It is important maintain a strong sense of self and independence.
- Be Happy: In relationships it is important that you feel happiness and joy. If something is not working, make the changes in your life or relationship without devaluing your life’s purpose, hopes, dreams, goals or desires. Stay true to YOURSELF and this will bring you true joy and lasting happiness.
Live in the moment with a smile on your face and an awareness of the greatness that is happening around you!