Every couple goes through bumps in their relationship. So what’s the secret of those happy couples you see kissing and cuddling their way through life? It’s not that difficult. Relationship expert Dr Pam Spurr reveals the easy, everyday things you can do to be happy in your relationship.
‘I really believe that happy couples are made up of people who are happy in themselves’ says Dr Pam. ‘So let’s start with that all-important you. To be a happy couple, think about how these three things in yourself might affect your relationship:’
1. Identify your ‘script’
All of us live by a life-long ‘script’. This is like a film script, where we each play a particular ‘role’ in relating to others. We don’t even realise we’re doing it.
Your ‘role’ begins when you were a child and your family came to expect certain things of you and your personality. For example, if you’re the first child, your parents have many hopes for you and expect you to behave a certain way – like being responsible and acting grown-up.
Or maybe you’re the youngest and when speaking about you, family members call you ‘the little one’ or ‘the baby’. All the expectations that go with being the baby – like needing loads of attention – are heaped on you.
We carry our roles into our romantic relationships – as the baby you always demand attention from your partner. Or as the first-born you expect to be listened to.
Think how this might apply to your relationship. Could the role you always play – like being the baby – be damaging it? Armed with this knowledge you can break free of any damaging things in the role you play.
2. Identify your ‘fallback position’
Next identify what is your ‘fallback position’ in relationships. This is when you always react the same way in certain situations. Like when you’re angry, you always go off in a huff. You simply can’t stay put and face your differences with your partner.
Or when you feel neglected, you always create a drama to get attention. Your fallback position can be very damaging because you do it automatically and never think about the consequences. Try identifying when you do this and fight the urge to use this fallback position. Don’t react in the same, damaging way when faced with the hurdles that every couple faces.
3. Identify your rose-coloured expectations
One of the most common problems people have in their love-life is overly high expectations. Yes, of course you want him to be romantic, but do you really expect him to send you flirty, loving texts every day? Or always surprise you with little gifts or flowers? And even to remember the anniversary of the first time you kissed?!
Always expect to be treated well, but don’t ruin your relationship because he can’t give you some Hollywood-style, romantic dream.