Relationships are notoriously fraught with difficulties, no matter how much you love and adore your partner. It doesn't matter how compatible you are, there will be times when things can get a little testing. I've compiled a list of five handy points to bear in mind when the going gets tough.
1) Don't expect your partner to fulfil your every want, need and desire in life. It is unlikely you will meet someone who appeals to all aspects of your personality and character and this is why the good Lord invented friends, hobbies and interests. It's OK that your partner doesn't share your love of football, dry-stone walling or cute YouTube animal celebrities. It's so important to have your own sense of 'self' in a relationship to avoid that terrible scenario where you end up fused together on the couch every night with nothing to say. Also, no matter how much you love your partner, there is a bizarre law of physics which means that the more time you spend with them, the more they will irritate or annoy you. In extreme cases where you have been together for years, this may even drive you to feel homicidal.
2) One area in which most relationships seem to suffer is around the subject of shopping. Men, as a rule are not keen on it, women generally love it. I cannot emphasise this enough - if you are a woman you should NEVER take your partner shopping. Within 30 minutes they will be leaning against walls looking bored and texting their mates. You will hate them for not having an honest or decent opinion about the clothes you select and for not being engaged with the shopping process. They don't care about clothes and it's best to accept this stark reality and go with a female friend instead. On the same subject, a great tip to avoid a total relationship breakdown is to never visit IKEA together. Men don't care about interior design the same way they don't care about clothes. Some can be tempted with the thought of the moose snacks in the cafe, but it's a risky manoeuvre.
3) Women - Don't ask for your partner's opinion on your outfits or worse still ask 'does my bum look big in this'. Try to develop a healthy independent sense of what suits you and have the confidence to wear it no matter what anyone thinks. It doesn't matter if your bum looks big, thanks to the Kardashians, it is the look du jour anyway. Asking a man's opinion on these matters is inviting trouble because they never know what to say. If they are honest and say we look good, we don't believe them. If they lie and say we look good, we also don't believe them. If they dare to say we DON'T look good, well God help them.
Men - DO ask for your partner's opinion. Of course there are some dapper men out there, but there also many pitfalls that can happen in male styling. Often styling has not been considered at all. Sometimes you simply need to donate your whole wardrobe to charity and start again. A second pair of eyes can help you see this.
4) Accept that men and women see certain things very differently, such as housework. As a woman, it's all very well reading feminist texts and fighting for equality in the home, but the brutal reality of the situation is that men generally do not consider housework a priority. I say generally because I know that there are lots of women who are just as skanky as men in this respect, but from my years of observations gleaned from my own life and others, it is clearly apparent that you're lucky if you find a man that gives a shit about the house. Mostly it is a pointless exercise trying to train men to be clean and tidy. It can be liberating to simply accept that they have lower standards and are not deliberately trying to piss you off. Could you ask for jobs to be done rather than expecting them to happen automatically? Or get a cleaner? It only costs the same amount as the wine and takeaway you both got in to calm things down after the cleaning row. If you are a skanky man or woman living with a clean person, take note - it can make a massive difference to harmony in the home if you run the hoover around once in a while without being asked. You're not living with your Mum and I bet you HAVE noticed that pile of hair with the dead spider on top in the corner.
5) Men are not from Mars and women are not from Venus. We are all from Earth but everyone is very bad at communicating. How many times have you secretly fumed over something your partner has done or expected them to know what you were thinking? None of us were born mind readers except Derek Acorah. Don't expect your partner to know what would make you happy, or what is making you unhappy. You have to tell them. You have to be clear and express yourself and let them know how things make you feel. Try to refrain from passive aggressive shit like 'forgetting' to record their favourite TV show or being moody. Just talk. It works, honestly.