Obviously, every relationship is different. We all have different boundaries, different personalities. We love differently, and we also accept love differently. Relationships seem to be so full of different rules and grey areas but actually, I think we can make it so much simpler. We naturally complicate them ourselves. So instead of all of these rules and red tape, there are just two things that should act as a foundation for every relationship.
Always Be Honest
Now everyone knows you should never lie to each other but this isn't just about being dishonest in the obvious sense - like if you mess up then you need to tell your other half, just own up. Always. It's not just about being honest about what you have done, but being honest with how you feel about how they are acting or treating you. This is about communication as well, which is such a huge part of any relationship.
So it starts with being honest about how you feel. I hear of people breaking up because they bored, or the other person wasn't making an effort anymore. But they never spoke out to their partner. They just let it go on for a few years and the other half had no idea it was coming until all of a sudden they had enough and ended it completely.
Now imagine if they had sat down and spoken about it. If he had said, "Look I don't want to hurt your feelings, I just want to be honest but I feel like you don't make an effort anymore. You never want to go out and have fun together or you avoid talking to me when I get home from work." More than likely she didn't even notice that she was doing this. But this gives her an opportunity to think about how she has acted and then if she doesn't want to lose him she can move forward with a fresh outlook and start putting in the effort. But also he needs to be prepared that she might open up about how she feels about what he does as well, sometimes it could even be the same thing. So he needs to be ready to also reflect on what he is bringing to the relationship. Then if nothing changes, or after trying it just isn't working anymore, at least you know you have both tried your best but you also haven't wasted years feeling resentment towards your partner and you can just move on. But most of the time, your relationship will flourish because you understand each other's needs more and you care about their feelings so are prepared to put in the work.
So just let them know how you feel, if they hurt you, tell them. If it sounds trivial still just let them know. Don't be confrontational, just sit down in a neutral space and explain without judgment. If they are not willing to listen or get angry or defensive, that's when you might want to consider going down a different route and thinking if they are the type of person that you want to spend your life with. But I am sure if they are the person you are meant to be with they will be so understanding and willing to make a change for the better.
But also remember that if they have done something amazing or one day you just feel like you could burst with love for them - tell them. You don't want to just list off their shortcomings, you want to empower them by telling them how happy they make you feel, or how handsome or sexy they look. Text them at random parts of the day to let them know you are thinking of them.
Always just let your other half know what is on your mind. Then you know going forward in your life you will always know where the other person stands. Just keep up the communication. A breakdown of communication ultimately will always lead to an end in a relationship, platonic or romantic.
Don't Intentionally Hurt Eachother
Now, this is also an obvious one but I want to get deeper into this. Again, it is good at the beginning of the relationship to discuss boundaries, and the most obvious way to hurt a romantic partner is cheating. Well, what does this person consider cheating? Some people even hate it if you talk to the opposite sex - this is another story altogether and is incredibly unhealthy if you are in a relationship with someone who thinks that - but others wouldn't even mind if you gave someone a peck or even if you had an open relationship. But you don't know this until you speak to each other about it, and this also applies to any other areas where your decision could affect your partner. Once you lay out these boundaries and agree upon them mutually you know that going forward you categorically will not do those things to hurt the other person. No matter what. Because you know exactly what they will and will not accept you are intentionally hurting them if you go and do it anyway.
Also, this can arise in arguments. All couples argue it's part of life. But you know those times when people argue and they start throwing insults just to hurt the other person, they aren't relevant or constructive. It's just like name calling and putting them down because you want to make them feel bad because you are angry. This needs to stop. Now I know things can come out in the heat of the moment when you are frustrated. I have heard of couples saying the most disgusting things to each other whilst having an argument - too disgusting to disclose. The argument was petty and they could have argued a little, settled it and moved on. But after she had said those outrageous things, that changed the dynamic altogether. This has caused a massive rift between them now, out of something that they initially could have looked back on as being so trivial.
So just control your anger and collect your thoughts. Don't say stupid things in the moment because they will come back to haunt you. Arguments are normal like I said but they get escalated out of control when one of you, or both of you start saying nasty things. Then those types of arguments are the ones that break up relationships if they don't stop. Just control your mouth and settle things like adults.
Also, there are many times in life where you may have to make decisions that the other person may not be happy with. If you honestly are not aware of how much it will hurt them, then again this is another story because it isn't intentional. There are times you will hurt your partner, that is inevitable and something that you should be able to work through. But I am talking about hurting them with intention. Knowing that something will upset them and doing it anyway. So forgive yourself if you do something by accident, but follow the tip above and just be honest and upfront about it. If they are serious about you and know it wasn't your fault or know you didn't realize that that particular action would hurt them, then they should understand. And if they don't, you need to re-evaluate your values with them.
So, if you make a decision knowing that they will be hurt, that's not good. Like, I don't mind if my boyfriend goes out with his friends, I am proud to say I am not that type of person, he can go out when he likes and have fun, I would never tell him he couldn't go or guilt trip him into staying home - or even worse, ring him every five minutes whilst he is out and ruin his night. But if he has made plans with me, then I sure as hell would be annoyed if he canceled them to go out with his friends instead. So this is something again that I have discussed with him before, I was honest and said, if we have made plans you stick by them. If you bail on me, that will upset me. That is just the way I feel and he respects and accepts that. He also feels the same way. So if he were to make the decision to cancel on me and go out with his friends instead he knows that that will upset me so he has set the intention of hurting me. Luckily, though I know he won't do this because again he shares the same values as I do in our relationship. Obviously, things can crop up that we cannot get out of so in those instances it isn't intentional.
So as a recap, just tell each other how you feel. Own up to any mistakes or negative feelings but also share the positives as often as they happen or as often as you feel them. Communicate openly at all times and think about how your intentions and actions will affect your partner, and care about it by not doing things to hurt them.
Also remember, unfortunately, some relationships are just not meant to be. If your partner does not share these views with you or is very accusing whilst you are trying to do your best you shouldn't stay in these relationships. Love is not the only foundation for a good relationship. So by all means try but at the end of the day, if you have done all you can and it just doesn't work or it looks like your partner just doesn't want to make it work then just end it. I know it's hard but you have to put you and your happiness first.