There is a scarcity of research on friendship compared to the obsession with romantic relationship advice and research. I think my generation (if I can speak to that) has a certain fear of attachment. The new trend of hook-up culture will inevitably change relationships at some level. While it is too early to know what the effects might be, I am curious how it might play out.
A huge part of long-term dating is learning about your partner; learning their values, quirks, ambitions. So much of that simply requires time. Everyone has different ways of expressing love or addressing disagreement. Some people need time to cool off, whereas other people want to immediately discuss the issue and find a solution. Obviously these two people can still be compatible, but they need to find a happy medium.
I highly value giving in relationships, and often feel that I express friendship by inviting friends to events, including them in plans, or sending them a gratitude letter. If you are interested in learning more about what matters most to you in relationships, I recommend you check out Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages site and take the free quiz. I can’t vouch for the scientific support behind all of his work, but I have found it useful in my own life.
While relationships are complex, I’ll echo what I said in a previous post about family, we all want happiness. Take a breath. Try and empathize, which means trying to understand where your partner is coming from.
What’s your love language? What tools to you use to create happiness in your relationships?