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Nine rules for a happy, strong and loving relationship

Learning how to be in a relationship can have its challenges.

Here are some rules to love by that can guide you to bliss and beyond.

1. When someone you love hurts you, never lash out or let your anger get the better of you. Instead, let your partner know you’re feeling hurt and would like them to apologize. Your love life will be better for it.

2. Minimize the drama in your life. Not every little thing is worth getting upset over. When you spend most of your emotional energy on other things, you won’t have much left over for the one you love. Keep small matters in perspective.

3. If you make a mistake, admit it. We have all done and said dumb things; it’s part of being human. Accept that neither you nor your partner can be perfect. You’ll both benefit by not taking each other’s mistakes personally or too seriously.

4. If your love life has slowed down, check in with your partner about it. It’s fine if you’re both OK with where things are, but if one of you needs more physical attention, you should address it. Without talking, resentment can build over time and keep you from being as close.

5. Spend an evening on the couch just cuddling. Maybe put on some background music, but don’t just sit there watching a movie. Settle down in each other’s arms and enjoy the closeness. Cuddling is a great form of intimacy.

6. Value the good times and each other. This will provide a buffer for difficult moments or little daily problems that come up. When you have a strong bond, traffic jams can be laughed off rather than make you stew.

7. Accepting that you are each trying your best to be there for each other will reinforce the love between you. Feeling accepted by your mate is life enhancing and gives you the strength you need to tackle new or difficult issues.

8. Never shut out your partner or put them down. Withdrawing from or saying something degrading to the person you’re sharing your life with takes away from your bond. There is no reason why two people who love each other can’t work through the normal upsets of life in a positive way.

9. Trust that your partner has your back. Over time, your mutual respect and your knowledge of each other will grow. If you’ve been hurt in past relationships, don’t let that rob you of your joy today. Put yourself into the relationship 100%.

It is never too late to have a happy, strong and loving relationship. Couples go through all kinds of ups and downs. As long as you continue to be open to learning new things about each other and how to be great mates, you have the ability to keep your relationship moving forward.

Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is an award-winning psychotherapist and humanitarian. He is also a columnist, the author of eight books and a blogger for PsychologyToday.com with nearly 35 million readers. You can reach him at Barton@BartonGoldsmith.com

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