Relationships can be amazing when they are going well, but let’s face it – they are not always perfect!

Tips for a happy relationship

All relationships are unique and depend on the people involved, but there are a few things that you can do to help make yours as strong as possible.

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• Communicate

Being honest and direct is really important in any relationship. If you feel safe and able to tell the other person how you really feel, and you know that they will listen, that is a sign of a strong relationship. Paying attention to body language is also important, not everything is said with words and you can also use body language to show you are really listening to someone and that you care what they are saying. Learn their emotional cues.

• Giving attention

Everyone likes to feel wanted and cared for, but think carefully about how you show this. You may want to tell them you love them all the time and shower them in kisses, but this may overwhelm some people and drive them away. Think about how they would like to be treated. Maybe send them a note or tell them why you love them, instead of just saying it! Think of things to do together that they enjoy – show you’ve put some thought into it and they’ll feel really special.

• Don’t forget the other people in your life

When you first start seeing someone it can be really exciting and you want to spend all your time with them, but don’t forget your friends and family as well as the things you used to enjoy before you met them. If you expect the other person to be your whole world, that can put a lot of pressure on them and the relationship, as well as potentially upsetting other people in your life who want to see you! Also, having a good social life and outside interests gives you more to talk about and you can both bring more to the relationship.

• Getting through hard times

All relationships have ups and downs and that is normal. The trick is being able to get through disagreements safely and honestly. You should be able to say how you feel without fearing the other person won’t listen or will make fun of you or get annoyed. Some people deal with conflict differently, some shout and scream, some want to be on their own for a while, some want to talk things through. It can be a good idea to find out how each of you likes to deal with disagreements so you can plan for how to get through times that may be tough otherwise. Some good tips are to being statements with ‘I’ to say how you feel, don’t drag old arguments into it and always respect the other person.

• Spend quality time together

If you’ve been together for a while it can sometimes feel like you’ve lost the excitement that you had when you first started dating. Other things start to get in the way, or you just feel like things are not as much fun as they were. Try and get that initial spark back. You can try having regular date nights where you take it in turns to plan something the other person would like, try new things together or just make sure you spend a few minutes each day really talking and being together.

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Long Distance Relationships

If you are at uni you may have a girl or boyfriend back home, or at another uni. That can make it hard on your relationship but it doesn’t have to be the end. In fact, long distance relationships are becoming more common with people meeting online more often. Here are some tips to make them work!

• Try to maintain an emotional connection – check in with each other regularly. Put in the time and effort and show the other person you are thinking about them even if you can’t see them as often as you’d like.

• Set some ground rules – at the beginning of the relationship, talk about how it will work and how you can make each other feel comfortable and happy.

• If you know you are going to be extra busy with work, let the other person know so they don’t feel abandoned or start to worry.

• Phone calls and skyping are great but you need to see each other in person when you can. Think about meeting in the middle sometimes as well as visiting each other where you live. Plan dates and trips away (when you can afford it!) and keep things exciting.

• Be there for them, even if you can’t be there physically. You can still show how much you care.

• Trust is really important in all relationships but especially in long distance relationships. It can be easy for jealousy and worries to creep in. Don’t worry if you don’t always know where the other person is, that’s ok and a little space can be a good thing. If your partner seems worried, try to reassure them, don’t give them any reason to doubt you or the relationship. You will each have a social life individually and that is a good thing!

• Do the same thing, at the same time. You could watch a tv show at the same time together (even if you are apart),read the same book, cook the same meal, learn a new hobby or language and then talk about it together.

• Meet the other person’s friends and family. If things work out, one day one of you may move to be nearer the other one – it will work better if you know more than just them and it will be more fun when you visit.

• Be positive! Long distance relationships can be fun and they can definitely work if you are prepared to put the effort in. Try not to listen to people who may tell you it won’t work.

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