Tips and advice going from short to medium to long term relationships
Different and difficult challenges can lay ahead as your dating or relationship moves from short term to medium and long term. A relationship can be one of the most satisfying things in life but can also be one of what sometimes feels like hard work!
So what kind of problems can lay ahead? How do you move on from problems and how do you make it consistently work over the long term? Read on and we'll try explore some of the relationship problems you may have to deal with and provide some insight as to how to handle the issues.
Arguing in a relationship? Is the honeymoon period over?
Arguing can be a healthy thing for a relationship as it can mean you are comfortable in each others' company and confident to express your feelings. However as always there is a balance to be struck especially as although arguing can bring out what's really important to you, it can often be an unpleasant experience and also thoughts and feelings can be irrational, meaning that you might not quite act yourself!
Spending less time with your friends and more time with your boyfriend or girlfriend
Obviously there are only so many hours in a day to do everything we want to do. Becoming closer to someone can mean you like them and want to spend more time with them. As with most things in life the more you like something the more you want to spend time doing it. So naturally if there's only so much spare time we have then there may be less time for us to spend with friends. This can be a hard situation to balance as friends will want to see you and you want to catch up with them. Having some time set aside for this is important and it can be an idea for you both to arrange to see your friends at the same time as one another (if you can fit it around your work hours especially if your work irregular hours or work a shift pattern) so that you both still have enough spare time to spend with one another.
Moving in together
Merging your lives together and putting up with each others' bad habits can be seen as an important stage in a relationship, as well as the fact that moving in together with your boyfriend or girlfriend can be absolutely amazing as you can get to see a lot more of one another! Moving in inevitably has it's advantages and disadvantages, ups and downs from finding out how amazing a cook your partner is to realising you can never find any spare socks! However it may be a help and worthwhile highlighting that some people and in some cultures prefer and put an emphasis on the fact that you should be married before living together and moving in together.
As time goes on we can be in a situation where yourself or your boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, etc. changes their job or career. This can impact on the relationship ranging from changes in income or salary, to work location where there may be some working away from home, to changes in work hours, work odd hours or having to work a shift pattern. This change in job or employment can mean more support and compromises are needed from the relationship at the start of the new job. This is to allow the job change to be less stressful and successful.
Getting to know each others' families
"You can choose your friends but not your family" and "blood is thicker than water" are two common mentioned phrases that can sum up some of the difficulties when it comes to getting to know each others' families. It can be difficult because we can sometimes act differently when we are with our own families from when it's just the two of you. For example this could range from knowing your dad is in a bad mood to your brother or sister annoying you to worrying that your mum is stressed trying to make a good impression. Again we can also act differently when with our partner's family when we are also trying to make a good impression, maybe not being as open with our opinions to misunderstanding our partner since they maybe acting differently as mentioned before. However this is not all to say that meeting and getting to know each other's family is a bad thing as it can be really enjoyable to learn more about your partner, may be more about your boyfriend or girlfriend growing up, or how they interact in a family situation and you gaining an extended family, but it was more to highlight potential challenges that you may come across.
Considering marriage and getting engaged
As you get to know your partner you may realise that you really love them, you don't ever want to be with anyone else and you decide you want to be together forever. You may start thinking about marriage, about if your girlfriend or boyfriend thinks the same way, if they have the same aspirations for the future. Taking a relationship to this next stage can be different depending on different cultures, and therefore what you or your partner expects can be different. Some cultures are very open about marriage, when it should happen in a relationship, the protocols to follow, financial arrangements, etc. and some cultures are more shy about marriage, with it being unclear if you should ask the permission of your potential father-in-law and mother-in-law to marry, how long to be in the relationship before getting married. Thinking about what the influences are from you and your partner's culture can help to make this a less stressful and more enjoyable process. The article about proposing marriage may be a help for more information.
Exploring if children is something you both want
In a longer term relationship this can be very important to understand you and your partner's aspirations and feelings about having children. Having children is not something you can easily compromise on together. However at the same time as a relationship goes on we move through different levels of maturity, what we want out of life can change, and the maturity to decide whether or not we want to start a family and have children can change.
Buying a car/home together
The emphasis here is on the fact that you are making a large financial purchase together. This can mean that you're financially bound together. Money can take a long time to save up to buy a car or put a deposit down on a house and doing this with someone else can be a difficult decision. For some this can be a large step with regard to the relationship as it may be the first large decision to make together.
Getting to know someone and building a relationship can be difficult with some of the areas talked about in this article but can also be an amazing feeling and as always there is not necessarily a right answer, but compromise and both communicating your thoughts and feelings together is important.