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When you just start your relationship

I was at a hair salon the other day. My hairdresser and I stroke a conversation about life in general, about the fact that sometimes her salon clients confide in her and tell her their stories. I mentioned that I was a marriage and family therapist and we mused about the similarities between her job and mine.

How to stay in loveAs we were finishing up, one of the girls who worked in the salon asked me what advice I could give her in order to improve the new relationship with her boyfriend. I thought for a minute: what would be the one piece of helpful advice to give to somebody who has just started a new relationship?

I thought, so many things can go wrong, so many chances can be lost.
One of the main things: do not expect other person to make you happy, learn to be happy by yourself, if you’re not already. We often enter a new relationship hoping that it will give us everything we are lacking, thinking that the other person will make us complete. Well, I have news for you, this is an illusion. Relationships are a life to be shared, not a contract to make us happy or complete. This is your job and your opportunity to grow. Give each of you plenty of space, don’t crowd the other person. Love needs space to survive and grow. Kahlil Jibran, a wonderful Lebanese-American poet, put it beautifully in the following words:

“Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you

Have your own friends and your own interests. As a rule, people who are boring probably bore other people too. If you have many varied interests and a full life outside of the new relationship, you’ll have something to share when you are together. This way you will remain interesting to each other.

Of course, building and maintaining any relationship takes much more than just these few things. However, remembering that happiness is your own “job” will set you on the right track from the very beginning.

I wish you love and happiness for many years to come.

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