Take it Slow
It can take months to get to know someone and feel comfortable with him, and until that point, avoid a serious commitment. It is difficult and can be upsetting to go into a relationship not knowing someone well and then learn that they have incompatible personality traits. Taking the time to get to know someone before getting into a serious relationship or becoming intimate helps to avoid the stress that can come from being with someone too different from you.
Spend Time Together
Couples who are together regularly, either relaxing indoors or going on dates, have time to talk about the relationship and their lives. Dates should be planned ahead of time and talked out so that both people know what they would like to do and can come to a decision as a team.
Spend Time Apart
Although bonding occurs during time spent together, time alone allows each person to take care of his own personal needs and desires. Time alone also allows each person to think about the relationship and discover her own true desires and feelings without interference from the other person.
Each person in a relationship should be able to openly and honestly communicate his needs and desires with his partner without feeling that he needs to hold anything back. There should be a willingness from both partners to talk through problems. Each partner should also be willing to listen to the other person's desires and be open to fulfilling them.
Stay True to Yourself
In order for two people to live happily as a couple, they both need to be able to be independent and not sacrifice their important needs for what the other person wants. Being happy with yourself helps to ensure that you can be happy with someone else.
After a relationship becomes serious, both people should be willing and able to discuss where it is headed. Each person should be able to talk about what she wants from the relationship and listen to what her partner wants. After six months to a year of dating someone, most people know what sort of future they see with that person.
If problems arise within the relationship, both people should be open to seeing a therapist. Often, the problems that arise in relationships are due to a difficulty communicating with the other partner. A therapist acts as a neutral third party to hear each partner's feelings and helps them both to better communicate with their partner.
Avoid Unrealistic Expectations
When dating, avoid going into a relationship with someone while expecting to change him into a different person. Trying to change someone will only cause problems to arise within the relationship. Both partners should get to know each other first to determine if they are able to accept every aspect of the other person's personality, positive or negative.