The Phoenix Editorial Board gives their advice on love and relationships.
STAFF EDITORIAL: Relationship Advice
This week’s issue is the last published before Valentine’s Day. Whether you see the holiday as a money grab by the Hallmark company, a day for spitefully cutting up roses or the perfect time to spend with loved ones, The Phoenix Editorial Staff is here to offer their own relationship advice for those in love or still searching for it.
Growing up, it seems as if we all imagine that true love is easy. Two people fall for each other and live happily ever after. But what fairytales often fail to mention are the hard parts of love — the conflict, the compromise and the sacrifice.
Strong relationships cause us to face our most vulnerable selves and make the difficult decision to continuously work on our own insecurities and flaws for the betterment of the relationship. Being in love doesn’t equate to marriage, sex or sharing a home with another. Love is the measurement of patience, understanding, genuine care and work.
Time after time, I watch as couples pass their honeymoon phase of six months and then break up. It’s almost as if, as soon as the lust comes to an end, and they are forced to face their own imperfections, they run.
So my advice for all those out there looking for a long-term relationship is be prepared for the work that comes with true love and make sure the work that you are putting into the relationship is equal to that of your partner.
Life is all about balance and time. And so are relationships.
The word “relationship” has been perverted to have an exclusively non-platonic connotation but really refers to all the people we interact with on a daily basis — our friends, our roommates and our coworkers. And any overlap between those three that may occur.
When entering into a romantic endeavor, the prevailing philosophy is often to give your all to that person. To an extent, you should. To be loved, you need to give love. At the same time, we need to reserve some love for the other people around us.
In a relationship, you should feel free to make a late night food run with your friends, watch a show with your roommates and just make time for what makes you happy, because if you aren’t happy in every aspect of your life, it’s hard to be happy in any relationship.
The greatest gift in life is love — the ability to love and be loved in return. But with this gift comes the risk of having that love taken away from you. This is, in my opinion, a risk well worth taking. Breakups are part of most relationships, and they can be scary and overwhelming. After a breakup, life can feel so empty and tiring, but it’s important to remember to be bold and brave.
Being bold and brave doesn’t have to mean doing something scary and life-changing. In the days following a breakup, it could mean being brave enough to cook yourself dinner and talk about what you’re feeling with your friends, or being bold enough to go to class and keep a cool head for the afternoon.
As time goes on, it will become easier to do bolder and braver things, but that doesn’t have to come right away. Even when the power of love seems to be working against you, that darkness will only last a short time and your sparkle will shine even brighter than it did before. So listen to some music, cry it out, try to laugh when you can and trust that time will make it all better.
In any relationship, particularly romantic relationships, it’s easy to get caught up in trying to give another person everything you have. Showing boundless love, time and energy to someone else can be fulfilling. However, when you care deeply for someone, the desire to overstep your own boundaries can be overwhelming, and sometimes you don’t even realize you’re doing it.
You have the capacity to show immeasurable, genuine love to others — and you should. But in doing that, don’t forget to prioritize the love you show yourself. The most important relationship you’ll ever have is with yourself, and when you start neglecting that relationship, you start neglecting others, too. So, even when you’re in a relationship, remember to show yourself the same love you readily give to others.
Fernando Molina Bier
I can tell you with certainty you deserve the best if you’re giving your best. I can say with confidence that a commitment to love doesn’t just mean a fun time — it means compromise, tough conversations and vulnerability. I can also say that if you weren’t the best in a relationship, that’s alright, as long as you hold yourself accountable and learn from it.
Relationships are experiences. We learn from each other and make each other better, even if there’s pain involved. Nobody is born with all the answers. Love has many faces, relationships have many phases. We’re still young and have lots to live and learn. But life moves quickly, and it’s important to slow down to take a minute and look around, breathe and reflect. You deserve to feel happy, safe, heard, elevated and appreciated in an environment of trust. Take the time to learn how to love yourself, what you love and how you love before entering a relationship and never lose sight of it.
Featured image by Austin Hojdar | The Phoenix