How To Make A Relationship Last

Dan Gold via unsplash

Those are not the secret

Many people struggle with emotional boundaries — what’s theirs, what’s their partner’s — and think “sharing” is the same as “solving,” as though “talking about it” means it’ll be “fixed.” They then struggle with anxiety and passive-aggressiveness — especially when, shocker, “communication” alone doesn’t work. So, I know many say that “communication” is the solution, but it’s not.


Of yourself, your feelings, your responsibilities, and your partner.

Relationship Option 1: stay together “as long as it lasts”

This is you if: you’re not set on forever. People change, couples change, and (either upfront or deep down) you’re okay with that.

Relationship Option 2: stay together “forever”

This is what most of us say we want, but most of us don’t actually know how to make it happen.

Step 1. Develop (Your Own) Emotional Maturity

Being kind, respectful, trustworthy, honest, “reasonable and rational and not selfish or petty”… all of these mean: “emotionally mature.”

  • Honesty
  • Respect (and self respect, without subjugation) — Loving others means first loving ourselves, which necessitates self-respect. Don’t bury your self-worth in others, or “love” through subjugation
  • Responsibility —for our own emotions, wants, needs
  • Emotional Boundaries — take ownership of our own happiness (or unhappiness), and don’t hang it on our partner
  • Compromise — neither person “wins” a “fight,” because mature couples have discussions, not verbal boxing matches.
  • Conflict resolutionboth seek to understand before being understood, hear their partner’s side, know how to have a mature discussion, and how to apologize. (“I’m sorry that you — ” and “I’m sorry, but — ” are not apologies. Those are bullshit, emotionally immature statements.)
  • etc.

Step 2. Reset Expectations Of “Love” & “Feelings”

I am continually amazed at the number of people who end things because of their “feelings” — for their partner, or others. Because, look:

People are messy, imperfect human beings.


Feelings change.

Hard Reality #1: Our feelings for our partners will ebb and flow

When I was 18, I attended a 50th wedding anniversary party. After dinner, the couple stood up and said:

Hard Reality #2: We will feel attracted to others

As Winton from Five Year Engagement put it:

Step 3. Commit (Yourself, To Your Partner)

If you want to be together forever, you have to deliberately choose. Every day.


This is a huge wake-up call to a lot of people. But successful couples know…

Love so damn hard

Not hot and cold, though. Love warm. Love consistent. Love everyday. Love is a choice and an action. Make that decision every day.

Keep choosing (and dating) your partner

If you’re not actively growing and building your relationship and your love, then you’re actively letting it die.

Writer — reach me at krisgagemedium (at) gmail (dot) com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store