Lifestyle

Try your partner's shoes on for size

"There's nothing like two people freshly in love.

"But as time passes, the headiness will wear off.

"The kimono will gape and the kilt will flap open.

"The fantasy - of the beloved as well as of ourselves - must fall away."

AND so it does wear off, but this doesn't necessarily signal the end of a relationship.

Honest, hard yet humorous, these words - taken from It Doesn't Have To Be So Hard: The Secrets To Finding and Keeping Intimacy, by Joanne Fedler and Graeme Friedman - are a great example of what happens to many relationships.

Like a new pet or novelty toy, relationships start out fun.

Simply watching a new love interest perform chores can seem enjoyable.

But as the months inevitably pass, so does the initial charm.

Fedler and Friedman's book, to be released mid-September, looks at what happens before, during and after relationships reach this point.

Full of humorous anecdotes and stories, It Doesn't Have To Be So Hard is a straight-forward testament to the idea that keeping the spark alive, avoiding arguments and maintaining happiness in the long term is not easy and no magic trick exists.

The underlying message of the book, however, is that everyone needs to try on their partner's shoes once in a while.

Relationships Australia's Sue Miller said that viewing things from your partner's perspective - especially during times of conflict - was a good idea.

"When there are fights or critical moments, try to see your partner's perspective," she said.

"The key is to understand the perspective.

"It's not about agreeing, just about seeing their point of view."

Ms Miller emphasised that doing this exercise shouldn't be reserved exclusively for arguments.

"You can do this on a daily basis, an hourly basis," she said.

Obviously seeing things from the other side is important but Ms Miller said other aspects of relationships needed to be considered.

She said seeing your relationship as a third entity was an invaluable skill.

"I think (relationships are) always about evaluation," she said.

"Always ask yourself throughout any relationship: what's making it happy?"

Occasionally, too, people should make sure the shoes they're wearing still fit them.

"Having boundaries is very healthy - a boundary can be having an hour alone a day," Ms Miller said.

"It just means you are your individual self."

Even then, every couple differs and so does every relationship.

Ms Miller said that no one came into a relationship with a clean canvas.

Everyone is affected by their past and this influences who they are today.

She said that understanding that premise was critical in a relationship.

"The key is not about changing anybody," she said.

"Some people are very opinionated.

"Other people are more accepting, forgiving.

"You speak to people who've been together for 50-60 years and they say they feel like they're one.

"They're happiest in one another's company."

But at the end of the day, perhaps it's best to take a deep breath, think about something that makes you happy and realise that it really doesn't have to be so hard.

 

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Topics:  book, dating, lifestyle, marriage, relationships


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