Love Crash Course

They really should teach this stuff in school, reckons Jessica Martin.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
They really should teach this stuff in school, reckons Jessica Martin. 
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No-one likes to admit that there are things they could be doing better, particularly when it comes to relationships – it implies we’re not perfect (and obviously we are). Although, after a few failed long-term dalliances, I’ve realised there are some things I can work on so that my next relationship stands a chance of lasting longer than a 13-hour House Of Cards marathon. Cue my lessons in love.

Try to have a better relationship with yourself

Some people think the theory that you have to love yourself before you can have a successful relationship is a complete crock, but I say it can’t hurt. Digging who you are, and making it a priority to engage in things you find interesting, will a) go a long way in creating a happy life – coupled up or not, b) make you an attractive prospect to potential suitors, and c) make it much easier for you to tell potential suitors-turned-real-life nightmares to GTFO. Just be sure you don’t get all Kanye about it; no-one likes a narcissist.

Make sure you focus on the positives

This is easy in the beginning because everything they say, do and are is so amazing and I-can’t-even-believe-I’vemet-someone-like-you. 

But fast-forward 12 months to when the shine’s worn off a little and the way they sneeze is so incredibly annoying, you start to plot their slow and painful demise. (No? Just me?)

But! Fun fact: we see more of what we look for, so aim to see more of the good stuff – think acts of kindness or the way they make you laugh – and that’s more of what you’ll get.

Let go of the little things

I used to get super frustrated at an ex because he would toss and turn in bed all night, and kick my beautifully -fitted sheets and blankets to the floor, and then I would have to make the bed again. That’s right, every day I would have to make the bed again. Can you even imagine?!

Anyway, the point is, getting hung up on little things that don’t matter makes for a really painful relationship. I’m all for airing concerns about bad behaviour, but after the whole bed-making fiasco, I’m also a huge fan of picking my battles. Some things just aren’t worth it.

Have amazing sex every single day

Obviously. But seriously, make having what you and your partner deem to be a healthy sex life a priority and your relationship will truly thank you for it later on.

It’s all about fighting fair

All couples fight. Even Bey and Jay do – which just proves all human couples fight and, if done correctly, it doesn’t have to be a big deal. Stick to the issue at hand, critique the behaviour, not the character, and learn to accept an apology so you can move on.

Walk away if it’s not right

Often, we know things without knowing things, if you know what I mean – intuition is a generous signal-giver. But we’re also good at ignoring said signals because, “We can make it if we just try harder/being together is better than being alone”. I’ve used every excuse and wasted years with the wrong people, but no more!

So if we want to get better at relationships, we need to get better at letting go of the ones that aren’t working out. Good luck, fellow lovers!