How To Be An Adult In Relationships
It’s no secret that relationships are not easy. In addition to affection, intimacy, and time, relationships require constant work and effort to ensure the longevity of the relationship and the happiness of each partner.
Firstly, what exactly does it mean to be an adult in a relationship?
Being an adult in a relationship can be defined as the maturity in knowing what the relationship needs to work.
And for any relationship to work, there are things that each partner needs to try to be mindful of as much as possible.
So, in this guide, we offer seven tips on how to be an adult in relationships.
If you think your relationship needs work, is going through a rough patch, or you just want guidance and advice before starting a relationship, make sure to keep reading.
Trust is the foundation of any relationship, including friendships.
Without trust, there is a potential for suspicions, false accusations, controlling behavior, privacy invasion, and resentment – all of which can further damage trust and the relationship itself.
What is trust in a relationship? The trust that your partner is devoted to you. They have chosen you for a reason, and that is important to remember.
Of course, having trust is easier said than done. It can be harder if you have been lied to or cheated in the past, or suffer from low self-esteem or trauma.
Unfortunately, however, trust is something that every relationship needs to have from the start. It is a bond and a bedrock that keeps both partners in sync and on the same page.
And it is something that, in addition to your devotion, should be given automatically. After all, relationships are a commitment, and that includes accepting the risk of getting hurt.
Give Time And Attention
Like anything that we become accustomed to, we tend to begin to take it for granted. This includes relationships, which do not always continue as they begin. This is natural, but it does mean that we have to be mindful of it.
Giving your partner your time and attention on a daily basis is vital for both your partner and your relationship. It is a simple gesture that comforts, reassures, and satisfies your partner while keeping the relationship alive.
This includes paying attention to your work-life balance.
There is nothing with working, hobbies, or seeing friends, but allocating time for your partner is equally important – whether it’s relaxing together in the evening or spending some time messaging or talking.
Surprises and new experiences to show gratitude and appreciation are also important. Just like a burning fire, a relationship must be nurtured and tended to.
Arguments are inevitable in relationships. And sometimes they are a way to learn from one another and resolve problems that have to be addressed.
Arguments do not have to be intense, however. And what this comes down to is how you react to your partner and the argument as it happens.
Anger and resentment can quickly develop during an intense argument. So it is important to de-escalate arguments at the earliest possible moment – even if you feel your partner is acting irrationally or inappropriately.
When you feel an argument happening or start to feel angry, learn to recognize these signals so that you can take a deep breath and step back, before continuing in a calm manner.
You should avoid blaming or strong language, as well as be mindful of how you express yourself. Instead of directly blaming or criticizing your partner, try to phrase your message along the lines of “when X happens, it makes me feel X”.
Everyone has needs and, in a relationship, it’s a partner’s responsibility to be aware of these needs and take care of them as best as they can.
As their partner, you should know and understand their needs more than most other people.
Needs might include space and time, seeing their friends and family, goals and ambitions, general help around the house and with the kids, or simply a moment to hear what’s on their mind.
If your partner is introverted/extroverted, has a condition – such as depression, bipolar disorder, or social anxiety – or past trauma, these also need to be recognized and managed within the relationship as a whole.
No one is perfect. And seeking perfection can lead to questioning your partner and the relationship overall, or unhealthily considering/fantasizing about other partners on a regular basis.
It’s important to accept your partner’s flaws, or, if applicable, understand the reason behind them. Flaws are not always identifiable at the beginning, and you will discover flaws about your partner during the relationship.
This is understandable, however, and applies to both partners.
Of course, there are flaws that are problematic and should be addressed and helped, such as addictions or problems that are affecting your partner’s day-to-day life in a negative way.
However, common and often unhelpful things like forgetfulness, snoring, or having low EQ should not be viewed as flaws that you should endeavor to change.
As with accepting flaws, you should also listen to your partner to hear their general concerns as well as understand your own flaws.
External criticism is always useful as we tend not to fully realize what we are doing wrong, inefficiently, or to our partner’s disliking.
Listening to your partner and recognizing these things is the only way to be mindful and aware of in the future. It might be something big or small but, regardless, it works both ways to ensure the happiness and success of the relationship.
Like trust, communication is a relationship foundation that should be actively practiced.
When communication is neglected, it can lead to distrust, feeling unneeded or helpless, misunderstandings, and arguments.
Communication is the key to understanding one another and learning from another. And by trusting your partner, you should have no issue opening up to them and expressing what you feel.
Even if your partner is shutting themselves off, it’s important to try to encourage communication. In the event of an argument, we tend to distance ourselves out of pride or pain.
Being an adult, however, is always making ourselves available to communicate.
Relationships are a commitment, so it is crucial to be always mindful of the care and attention that they need to work – but not just so that the relationship works, but so that you and your partner remain constantly happy and in sync.
Whether you are currently in a relationship or just want relationship advice before starting a relationship, we hope you found these tips helpful.
And if you think it will help your relationship, you can try sharing these tips with your partner.
Author: Michelle Landeros, LMFT
Michelle Landeros is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT). She is passionate about helping individuals, couples and families thrive.
Last updated: September 24, 2023