Advice abounds on what it takes to have a happy relationship, covering all different areas of the union. Some of the advice is not so great, as it is based on narrow definitions of what a relationship should be like. Some of it is pretty solid, as it addresses core issues that need to be in line for any two people to get on well, especially if they are in a romantic relationship.

I enjoy writing about personal development and ways people can be happier, which has been gleaned from my experiences on my own journey and while I am no expert or guru, I think my inner work has helped me in sustaining a very good romantic relationship. I would like to share what helps me and my loved one be a strong, happy, couple and while I am imperfect and do not take my own advice every time, I do it enough to make things good!

Do Not Assume Your Partner Knows What You Want

Assumption is a major factor in relationship discord, romantic or not. We think because people know us well, that they should know how we think and feel, what we would want them to do or say in certain situations. Well, guess what? No one ever truly knows anything about someone else, no matter how well they know them. How many times do you find yourself seething at something your partner is doing or not doing something, yet you have not communicated how you are feeling? Once you start paying attention, you will see how much you’re assuming. Next time you catch yourself, address the issue head on-SAY something.

Choose Happiness over Your Ego

Our pesky ego causes us so much unnecessary suffering. Rather than letting things go, we hold onto them because how dare someone wrong us? We are all imperfect beings and we know this, yet when others are imperfect in any way that involves us, we have very little tolerance for it. How many times have you remained angry at your partner long after you have gotten over the actual incident simply because you wanted to punish them for hurting your feelings or making you angry? Just let it go. I am sure there were plenty of times you hurt or angered them.

Respect Each Other As a Separate Person

Being in a relationship certainly intertwines your life with another person’s. How one lives affects the other in many ways and we cannot just think about ourselves when we make decisions. But, sometimes, I think many people take this too far and everything is “we.” We think that everything our partner does should involve us too or that we should do everything together because we are a couple. This leads to all sorts of unpleasant issues like an over-reliance on the other, control issues, neediness and stifling. Respect your partner as a separate person, not just one half of some entity that is your relationship. Allow them to have a life that does not need to involve you at every turn. Allow them to have their own mind and own opinion.

Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about relationships and personal development. If you are 50-plus and on the market in Canada, check out a great dating site where seniors meet seniors.