The question I mostly get asked is “what makes an intimate relationship work?”

Let’s first define what we mean when we say “Intimate relationship”. Many people think it is the sum of 2 people who are in love and committed together. I would argue that an intimate relationship is not the sum of the two, but the sum of the interactions between the two.

We all come with some sort of fantasy and expectation into our relationships and when our fantasies crash and our expectations not fulfilled, with a sense of an entitlement, we demand to be given what is our god given right from our partner, or feel disappointed and leave to find it elsewhere.

So what do the couples who work through the crashing fantasies and unfulfilled expectations do to pass through the disappointment phase and keep generating a workable and fulfilling relationship?

5 Key Factors that Makes a Relationship Work

1. It takes a full adult “you” to be in a workable and healthy intimate relationship.
So, evaluate yourself. What are your capacity to love, have empathy, be comfortable with intimacy, be loyal, be honest, be committed? Be honest with yourself, are you as good a mate that you expect your mate to be? Would you be satisfied to be your own mate, or you need to upgrade some of your behaviors to have a workable relationship. Remember whatever you expect from your partner, you also better be able to deliver.

2. Communicate and agree on the vision of the relationship that you will be committed to.
Share your fantasies and expectations with each other and understand to the core of what your partner is yearning and expecting. To know, understand, agree and then commit to a mutual vision is an important start.

3. Be emotionally present and safe for yourself and your partner.
Intimate relationships are mostly emotionally based, so it is important to feel safe, open, secure, loving and happy within our self and with our partner. To feel safe to be who we are with no pretense beside our partner and to be safe for our partner to come to us in time of distress and re-energize. The purpose of an intimate relationship could be generating happiness, and you can be committed to the purpose of being happy.

4. Be generous with your words, understanding, and your expression of love.
Appreciation and gratitude goes a long way. Expressing your love in multiple ways, and learning how your mate likes to receive love creates a fast track toward your intimacy. Your feeling of empathy and understanding your mate’s thoughts, feelings and behavior is essential to create safety and love.

5. Learn how to resolve conflicts by listening with your heart and be committed to resolve in a win –win approach.
Disagreements are part of being different and unique, however acknowledging and honoring these differences are important. No hitting below the belt comments, no attempt to humiliate, degrade, or make wrong. Begin with appreciation of all that your mate is, then the issue that bothers you, and then a request for the way you like it to be resolved. Now, listen to his reasoning and request, and attempt to negotiate a solution that works for both of you. Reconnect lovingly after resolution.

Your intimate relationship is a place for play. Your mate is your playmate, so have fun, enjoy and keep generating excitement, fun and love.

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