What You Need To Know Before Getting Into A Relationship
Forget the dating game, relationships are where you really need to put the work in. They take time, patience, understanding, compassion and are often frustrating but ultimately rewarding; the adult equivalent of learning to read. However accomplished we are in our careers or other essential life skills like driving or barbeques, we’re all slightly clueless when it comes to relationships with the opposite sex. Am I right? Thought so.
Even my ex, who’s had two long-term relationships and countless short-term ones still admitted defeat when it came to understanding my varying degrees of behaviour — behaviour which any of my female friends agree is ‘totally normal.’ And vice versa: I could spend days trying to decipher why he did this or didn’t do that and still would be left in a state of utter confusion. Relationships, whilst ultimately are brilliant, take work. These are a few things I’ve learnt from relationships — and what you need to know before diving into one…
1. Women change
There’s a wonderful rant in Gone Girl, the book everyone was going on about last year, about the Myth of the Cool Girl. That is, the woman you all fancy. And why wouldn’t you? Cool Girl, as the book’s protagonist Amy so deftly defines it, ‘is a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes and burping, drinks cheap beer, loves anal sex and jams hamburgers into her mouth while somehow maintaining a size 2.’ You may have met a Cool Girl and be dating her right now. It’s not that Cool Girl is a myth, but it’s completely unrealistic to expect your girlfriend to be like this all the time. Once we’re committed and invested in a relationship, you’ll see the real her. I’m afraid this includes the occasional rant, nag and moan, but a truly cool girl will still be the funny, dirty, awesome woman who fell for. Manage your expectations when it comes to anal sex though.
2. You will be required to perform Girlfriend Duties
No, not those kinds of duties. Well, maybe those kinds of duties now and again, but what I mean is attending her family dinners and inviting her to yours, going round to her house when she’s hungover — even if you are too — and sacrificing the odd weekend to go away with her. These will make you a great boyfriend. In turn, she’ll thank you like a great girlfriend. This is all rather basic, if you’re not willing to put a bit of time in you have to question how serious you are about the girl.
3. Learn to communicate
This is without a doubt the biggest issue between men and women. Countless studies have been carried out on the different ways we communicate and countless relationships cite a lack of communication for their demise. Don’t sweat the small things, but if she really pisses you off TELL HER. Have it out in the next 24 hours then move on. I learnt very quickly not to expect any flowery, emotionally-charged texts or responses from my boyfriend because men don’t do flowery, they do direct and straightforward. As he plainly puts it; ‘Scarlett, I talk in sentences, you talk in paragraphs.’
4. You’re going to have to work a bit
But it’s worth it, I promise. Compromise is not easy for anyone. Whilst I believe that generally women are more adaptable to change, I know plenty that aren’t. Anyone who has been single for some time is used to doing what they want. Then – boom – you’re in a relationship and have to start thinking about what the other person wants and how they feel? Christ. So, yes, you both need to listen and you both need to adapt. The good news is, you get to spend time and have great sex with your hot, cool, best mate. What’s better than that?