Photo: Susie Malbacias

Relationships are hard. That’s why so many of them don’t work out. That doesn’t mean your relationship can’t be amazing and wonderful. But a healthy relationship takes a certain amount of vigilance and attention. The following rules aren’t set in stone, and they’re by no means complete, but they are mine. And I find that they help keep me on track.

  1. Don’t talk about past relationships. The past is dead. It has no bearing on what you are doing now.
  2. Don’t speak poorly of yourself. Ever. You just might convince her you’re not worth dating. (And she can use that as ammunition against you in an argument, trust me).
  3. Have confidence that you’re a catch. But espouse those virtues–integrity, honesty, confidence, strength, compassion, kindness–that make you that catch. And don’t be an egotistical asshole.
  4. Treat her with respect and expect the same in return.
  5. Be honest even if it’s hard.
  6. Learn to compromise even if you think she’s wrong and try to put her needs first. If she does the same for you, you’re definitely onto something.
  7. Show up to support her in ways you never imagined you could.
  8. Extend yourself emotionally in ways you never knew you could, and that exceed your comfort level.
  9. Feel your feelings and express them in a way that’s not angry or victimized.
  10. Most of all, love her through better or worse because life isn’t perfect and neither is either one of you.

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