5 Golden Rules To Make Your Relationship Last

How to make your (budding) affair endure past your stereotypical, ephemeral encounter.


I am not a certified “love guru.” I’m quite emotional and can be rash if I don’t check in with myself (meditation helps with that). While I’m sure there are plenty of women out there who have no problem keeping a cool head 99.8% of the time, I—unfortunately—am not one of them. Nevertheless, as someone who has only ever been in long-term relationships (casual hookups are really not my thing), I’d like to think I know a bit about what it takes to make a romance last much longer than a fling.

Read on for five (and a half! . . .ish) golden rules I feel you should follow, if you wish to make your (budding) affair endure past your stereotypical, ephemeral encounter.

5 Golden Rules To Make Your Relationship Last

#1: Be clear, be mature, and be honest when communicating

Generally, men and women express themselves in two very different ways, which makes establishing a crystal clear line of communication no easy feat. That said, take note, ladies: Men are not mind readers. 99% of the time they won’t figure out why you’re upset unless you explicitly tell them (and that’s presuming they even successfully recognize the fact that you’re not okay!).

If something’s on your mind, don’t try to engage your guy in a guessing game that involves you becoming increasingly angry as he repeatedly fails to deduce the reason behind your annoyance. It’ll ultimately end in both of you becoming upset, as he’s sure to get frustrated and irritated at your use of such a childish, scowl-ridden tactic (and he likely won’t be any more inclined to figuring out what offended you in the first place).

Instead, take a few breaths and pony up the courage to calmly tell him what’s bothering you, no matter how trivial it may be. This is much easier said than done, as more often than not the fumes steaming from the top of your head when you’re mad mess with your ability to express yourself articulately. In case said fumes do appear, take a few moments to cool down and sort your thoughts before telling your man (in a proper, non-whiny tone) what’s the matter. Chances are he probably didn’t even realize he did whatever it is you were irked by until you mentioned it, and even if he did, he didn’t realize it would make you mad. Do all of the above, and perhaps you’ll receive a sincere apology instead of a fed-up, deep-sigh-and-eye-roll-type of response!

5 Golden Rules To Make Your Relationship Last

#1.5: Be conscious of his feelings, too

You should also make sure your man is comfortable telling you when he’s not okay. Guys are notorious for bottling up their emotions — many think that spilling their innards is an emasculating act, so they opt to withhold their feelings instead. Though this practice might buoy your guy’s masculinity, it’ll also create a dangerous breeding ground for secrecy and resentment in the long run — a death sentence for any relationship.

The take away: Always be upfront and honest with your man, and don’t be afraid to speak up whenever you sense a disconnect developing between you two. Make the effort to ensure that you and your significant other are always on the same page, and that no emotion is ever suppressed and left to rot in dank corners, as it is guaranteed to fester at an exponential rate and wreak havoc in the future.

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Avatar of Kristin Tablang

Kristin started her career at Marie Claire and is now an editor / staff writer at Forbes. Born and raised in the Big Apple, Kristin's biggest pet peeves are run-on sentences, unwittingly published typos, and public transportation delays. A fervent shutterbug, arts-and-crafts enthusiast, and bona fide gourmand with an insatiable wanderlust, she's been fortunate enough to have already journeyed to over a dozen foreign countries (including Hungary, Spain, Bermuda, and most recently, Costa Rica!).

Reader Discussion: 136 Comments

  1. Avatar of Whitney Berry

    Relationships take work. We all know that. But knowing how to make a relationship work and go the distance is something we’ve all wondered. This article is really a big help for my partner and I. Thank you!

  2. Avatar of Tammy Monsten

    Make the mutual choice to maintain a positive attitude. Being positive may be the key to keeping harmony bec you can control your behaviors and even your moods when necessary, and having a loving partner who is willing to be ther for you, even when you are struggling, can’t help but make your relationship more positive.

  3. Avatar of Ella Rodriguez

    Ella Rodriguez

    I’ve been with my boyfriend for over 14 years and the answer to what makes a relationship last is simple: there is no one answer. Everyone is different, and everyone will have their own ideas on what they want in the last relationship. The trick, with all relationships, not just romantic ones, is to remember that the other party is only human – just like you. Mistakes will be made, arguments will happen, you’ll question your feelings more than once – all that bad stuff that people say ‘never happens in a real relationship’ is what makes a ‘real’ relationship strong. It’s not about ‘oh, how could I ever live without you?’ (ie. infatuation), it’s about ‘we’ve been through good and bad, we’ve seen each other and ourselves completely for what we are, and we’re still here together’ (ie. love).

  4. Avatar of Mary Shirley

    Mary Shirley

    Don’t be convinced your relation is soooo long (and dreadful), you should be excited about anniversaries, but if you really want to spend eternity together, don’t celebrate every week or month or year as an accomplishment for having been able to deal with each other for another period of time.

  5. Avatar of Ivelisse Ervin

    Ivelisse Ervin

    I’ve been with my partner for a little over 10 years now. The two things that have helped our relationship the most is 1) being able to apologize when we’re wrong i.e. being able to put our ego aside and 2) actively wanting to be the best partner to each other which means having a real willingness to work on ourselves. There is a quote that is often attributed to Marilyn Monroe that goes like this “I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” – this represents the worst kind of person you can possibly have in a relationship. Someone who has enough insight to recognize their bad qualities but believes that their partner should just put up with them. Fuck that person. No one should have to put up with your shit so work on it to make sure that they don’t have to.

  6. Avatar of Thomas Ramirez

    Thomas Ramirez

    Making a relationship last? I’ll pass. This long-term relationship bullshit looks like a headache. And marriage is completely out of the question. Too dangerous for the MEN in the modern age.

  7. Avatar of Alice Ford

    Alice Ford

    The reason why relationships don’t last is simply that people are not in it for the long haul and they get into relationships for the wrong reasons (i.e. being afraid of being alone, peer pressure, afraid of being a ‘loser’ for not having a BF/GF, etc.). When most people say they want a relationship they really mean “I want the honeymoon phase of the relationship”. However, they don’t want to put in the work required for a long, lasting relationship, especially when everyone wants to fuck like rabbits lol. 

  8. Avatar of Hannah Shaw

    Hannah Shaw

    I’ve never understood couples that fought. If you’re fighting, you are with the wrong person (or at least one of you is immature.) Pick your battles? No. Don’t have battles. Talk and figure it out.

    • Avatar of Loretta Alexander

      Loretta Alexander

      Depends on the relationships. People come in 3 different categories: masculine, feminine and neutral. Their sex doesn’t always factor in that as there are feminine men and masculine women. If you have two masculines together, they will be constantly fighting for dominance. If you have two feminines together, they fight because neither takes the lead and they both want to be the nurturer. Neutrals do fine together, but there is no passion; more like friends than lovers. A masculine and a feminine will have that passionate relationship that most people want. They will still fight once in awhile, but mostly because they don’t quite get where the other is coming from.

  9. Avatar of Imogen Fraire

    Imogen Fraire

    I think there are a lot of things to consider as far as having a long-lasting relationship but the main important ones are, loyalty, honesty, respect, and communication. Then I would say doing fun or new things every once in awhile so it stays fresh/fun and being able to make each other laugh/smile is a good thing as well as affection. As for things not to do, again there are a lot but some of the biggest are; Don’t force a relationship to happen just because you’re lonely. If that other person doesn’t fit you and your too different and just clash don’t start something because more than likely it won’t last and you’ll just argue all the time and have one big fat headache. You want someone you click with and have stuff in common. Another is don’t compare your relationship to others/shows/ society etc… It’s a hard thing to do because other relationships and advice on relationships are/is everywhere but try to ignore it because more than likely it will cause more harm than good. Every relationship is different/every person is different. However, if you feel yourself wishing your partner would do or say a lot of the things you hear or see from relationship advice and your partner does none of those things and seems fine with the way things are, that’s a clear sign that you and your partner are not a good fit for each other and want different things. Last thing is, don’t lose yourself in a relationship, don’t be in a relationship where you do everything for your partner and they do nothing or very little for you in return. Don’t sacrifice your happiness and beliefs for them. Your needs and wants should be just as important as theirs. Every relationship should have a balance of give and take.

  10. Avatar of Philip Thompson

    Philip Thompson

    What’s been making my relationship last is basic lol, having fun with each other playing around and watching TV and cuddling, been going on 3 years and still as in love as when we got together, yes we do fight ever now and then but that’s natural and I would worry if we never did, my and girlfriends thing is never going to bed pissed lol. 

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