Successful Relationships

2011/07/05 in Relationships

Has your steady boyfriend or girlfriend just broken up with you? Perhaps your steady is dropping hints that they want to cool the relationship.


If having a relationship succeed has been a problem, then this tape may be helpful. We will discuss some of the most important qualities in a successful relationship and how to achieve some of these things in your relationships.

First, it’s important to show the other person that you care with words and behaviors. Everyone likes a compliment, a thank you, or any words that make us feel special. Your behavior must also show you care — doing what you said you would, listening, remembering to acknowledge times that are special to them like birthdays, anniversaries, or accomplishments.

Second, keep your sense of humor. Work on developing one if you need to. Don’t take everything seriously; Learn to laugh at certain situations and certain things about yourself. Third, communication, or the lack of it, is a big problem in most relationships and something both people have to work at. Sometimes people do a lot of talking but not much listening. This often leads to a lot of words but an inability to resolve problems or disagreements. Although not all of this information applies, there are a lot of general communication skills discussed.

Similar values about some of the more important things in life can be critical to a successful relationship. If you have vastly different beliefs about religion, education, honesty, morality, drug or alcohol use, money, to name a few, you will find a lot of problems. You can both examine, discuss and think about your values, but if you remain widely different in a number of areas perhaps it is not a good relationship for you to pursue. Don’t settle for less than the person you want to be. Realize that you should nor change some of your values and goals for anyone. Compromising on things such as your further education, sex before you’re ready, drinking or drug use, will reduce your sense of self worth and cause you to feel resentful. Anyone who loves and cares about you in a positive way would want you to be all you can be and would not encourage you to do things that are risky or possibly self-destructive.

Common interests or enjoyment of the same activities or people is also important. Be willing to expose yourself to the other person’s favorite activities, hobbies, or meeting his friends. However, if they are not for you, don’t force yourself to participate . . . you’ll be miserable and your resentment will show. Do, however, encourage your partner to continue to enjoy those things or people. Keep communication open about your common and uncommon interests and activities. If you both have independent activities and friendships, it will relieve a lot of pressure on the relationship. Expecting the other person to be everything to you is an impossible task and when expected, it results in a lot of disappointment, frustration and anger. It is important that you both have other friends, as well as sharing friends. Try to learn to appreciate privacy and the enjoyment of being alone and respect each other’s need for those things.

Learn to accept minor quirks and irritations as well as tiredness, irritability, clumsiness, disagreements and opposing views. Be aware that families do things a lot differently so we all have different habits and rituals.

One good way to look at the other person’s behavior is to figure out if what they do upsets you in a concrete way or only in an emotional way. For example, being regularly late for dates is a real waste of your time. On the other hand, wearing a sweater you don’t like or nail biting has a psychological effect — it doesn’t interfere with your time, energy or money — it only affects you emotionally. People are more willing to change things that affect you in some concrete way. If the other person’s bothersome behavior is a big issue for you — such as alcohol or drug use, irresponsibility, reckless behavior, etc., you should think seriously about ending the relationship. It is very unlikely that the other person will change those behaviors for you.

Sharing tasks is another important factor in good relationships. Most of the opportunity to share tasks occurs when you are living together, but even before then there are chances to share. Each of you can take responsibility for arrangements if you’re going on a picnic. Or if one of you is having a party the other can equally share the work.

And now a few words about jealousy and dependency. These two seem to be major issues in relationships. Most of the time jealousy is caused by insecurity. It is not a sign of mutual love. When someone is very unsure of their own worth. they are afraid their loved one will find someone who is better. Sometimes jealousy may occur because the other one wants you to be totally dependent and will be jealous of anything or anyone who has any importance in your life. Jealousy and dependency can be very destructive and will cause long term serious problems in a relationship. If these problems cannot be resolved, the relationship is sure to fail.

We have talked about important qualities in a good relationship: show you care, keep a sense of humor, communicate, look for common values, goals and interests. Have separate as well as mutual friends, don’t compromise yourself. Both parties need to be accepting, tolerant and willing to share tasks. Jealousy and excessive dependency will destroy a relationship even if all the other points are present. As you think about the qualities of a good relationship, remember that problems may be primarily with your partner or primarily with you, but more commonly both of you share some responsibility for problems. Most importantly, you both share responsibility for building a successful relationship. Thank you.

For additional support and resources please call our 24-hour Teen Hotline by dialing 2-1-1 or 954-567-8336 (TEEN.)

Teen Tapes is produced by the University of Wisconsin