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Things fall apart. I think that was a book or something, but I don’t read as much as I should. Anyway, sometimes your once great relationship cools off, or the person you’re dating just loses his or her luster. That’s okay, but if you’re with someone you actually see yourself going a good distance with, then you should at least be prepared to work on a few specific parts of a relationship that happen to be a little more brittle than others.
Most divorces happen as a result of money problems. Everyone knows that, so I’m not breaking any new ground here. When you’re dating, money is a lightning rod for a different reason. You aren’t sharing marital assets with your boyfriend or girlfriend, and most smart people don’t start a joint checking account with the person he or she has been Facebook official with for six months. The point is, while money flows differently in a dating scenario, it’s just as important–and as a result, just as a contentious. Chances are, both of you are poor, which means you have to be much more selective about what you choose to spend money on. It was once the case that the guy was expected to pay for a majority of stuff, but most modern relationships seem to be pretty good about both parties paying for their own things. Girls know that if they want the old school “the guy pays for most things, I take care of him in other ways” thing, they should date an older guy. (Hence why a lot of girls date older guys.)
The way the person you’re dating spends his or her money can still be a problem. If a guy buys a stupid car, which means he can’t afford to take his lady out anymore, that’s a problem–just like a girl who will not fucking stop online shopping. You guys owe it to each other to keep your cash flow pretty freed up so you can both afford to do the things together that you want.
2. Other People
This isn’t just about cheating, which is obviously a problem. Well, unless you guys have an open relationship, which sounds simultaneously fun and exhausting. In any case, it’s easy to allow other people to muddy your relationship’s waters. Maybe one of you finds out about the other one’s “work girlfriend/boyfriend.” There’s nothing wrong with having a work date, as long as it stays innocent. It’s impossible to get through the day at some jobs if you don’t have someone you can flirt with a little bit. Sometimes the person in question isn’t even someone you have sexual tension with. Maybe your boyfriend just hates your friends or your girlfriend really doesn’t like your parents. Or vice versa. Or both! Maybe everyone in both of your lives just rubs the other person the wrong way. You’ll have to address this eventually, and ultimately you’ll have to decide whether the other people in your life are more important than the person who shares your bed and your toothbrush.
Just kidding about the toothbrush, guys. That’s fucking gross.
Everyone’s busy these days. When you’re not at work, you have to somehow find the time to hang out with your friends, do your hobbies, and watch sports. Where’s the room for a significant other? There’s not any! It’s a bit easier if the person you’re dating is into the same stuff you are or shares your circle of friends. But if she hates golf, he hates museums, and they have no friends in common, they’re in trouble. Sure, you can make it work depending on your personalities. Certain people are fine with not having constant attention from the person they’re dating, which is cool. But if you’re committing to being with one person, you should probably, you know, hang out with him or her.
This is sort of the secret spice that makes everything else work. Shockingly, you can’t just putt-putt your way through a relationship. When people talk about “putting in the work” into a relationship, it’s not some mystical thing. It’s not even that hard, either. In my opinion, couples therapy is overrated (same with therapy in general for most people, but that’s another story). You know what it takes to keep a relationship healthy or patch one up? Actually doing things. If you’ve been with the person for any reasonable amount of time, you don’t have the excuse that you don’t understand him or her. You know what your person likes, what he or she doesn’t like, what turns him or her on, what makes him or her laugh, what scares the shit out of him or her, and what his or her insecurities are. You have all the information you need. If the other person is actually committed to making everything work, then putting in the effort to do something for your significant other that you know will make him or her happy will go a long way to keeping everything strong.