In a healthy relationship, you're confident, cheerful and everything seems just perfect … but only if you put in the effort. Surprise, surprise — relationships aren't going to be effortless. Be careful though; working hard in the wrong areas can completely ruin your happily ever after.
If you are focusing on these 11 things, you are kissing happiness goodbye.
1. Loving his resume
Fall in love with the person, not what he's like on paper. Only caring about the fact that he's a doctor, he's well traveled and was top of his class won't matter if he doesn't treat you right. Falling in love should be about the person, not just what they've accomplished.
2. Pressing "Panic"
Forget the idea that you need to be married by a certain age. Don't buy into social pressure no matter how many "save the date" invites you got this week. Dating should be a decision you make because you want to be with a person, not because you need someone to go to all those weddings with.
3. Taking advice
Friends and families can give some great insights on what your Mr. Wonderful should be like … but keep their suggestions on the back burner. What your mom wants for you isn't necessarily going to match up with what you want for yourself. Don't get locked into a relationship that isn't good for you just because it makes your parents proud.
4. Keeping score
Dating tells you a lot about yourself; heartbreak is best soothed with gelato, and you know without a doubt you're not into the "boy next door" type. But be careful not to invest too much into what you've learned. Don't bank your happiness on an impossible composite of all the good traits of boyfriend A, B, C, D, E, F and G. You won't ever be happy if you are looking for perfection, because you won't find it.
5. Being happy in a relationship
Obviously, you want to be happy in a relationship. But don't base your happiness on the wrong reasons. If you are at your happiest only when you have a hot date, you're not truly happy. It's sounds sappy, but learning to love yourself is going to be your greatest asset in any relationship. It shows confidence, self-worth, and independence; or, in other words, all things attractive.
It puts a lot of pressure on your partner if he's expected to be the boyfriend, the husband, the best friend, the motivational speaker and the voice of reason in your life. While he should have aspects of those qualities, you are setting yourself up for unhappiness if you think one person can do everything alone. Relationships are a team effort.
7. Keeping quiet
How are you supposed to be happy in a relationship if the person you are with doesn't know what you want out of it all? Communication (even in the early stages of dating) is going to avoid heartache throughout a relationship.
8. Holding onto "The List"
Having a list of what you want in a relationship can be good, depending on what's actually on the list. If you are stuck on finicky qualities (must be over six foot and blonde) you're weeding out someone who can make you happy despite the fact that he's got dark hair.
9. Looking for the adventurer
While a little excitement and spontaneity is going to keep you on your toes, real life isn't made up of constant surprise trips to Europe. Being happy with someone as you sprint to catch a picture of the sunrise over the pier isn't as important as being with someone whom you love being with when you're both watching Netflix for the night.
10. Finding someone who "should be"
Don't get caught up with finding someone who "should be" a certain way, because you think that's what would be best for you. Being with someone who "should be" this, or "should be" that is going to be dramatic and stressful.
Dating is fun, but it doesn't compare to being in a committed relationship … especially if you end up being more involved than you had planned. Date for keeps, not just for a little fling. Wouldn't it be nice to be excited, not anxious, when you get a second date?
Every relationship might not work out, but you can be happier in any relationship by focusing on the right things.
Emily is putting her English and Humanities degree to use editing and writing all over the world. Trying to see all 7 world wonders (while visiting as many countries as she can in between), Emily loves wandering alleyways, beautifully photographed food, stumbling upon impromptu flea and food markets. She can usually be found camera in hand, munching on a street food and never has her headphones out of reach.