The Couples’ Guide to Relationship Success

By Mvusi Ngubane    15-Jan-2019 21:39 UTC+02:00

They say that love is a game for fools and optimists. All over the world, Romeos and Juliets hand their hearts over with little regard for researched facts… and who can blame them? Logic becomes a distant echo when that special someone sweeps you off your feet, and what can research contribute to matters of the heart anyway? The answer: a lot more than you think.

Excitingly, the so-called “month of love” and Valentine’s Day arrive hot on the heels of the most financially demanding months of the year. With hardly enough time to take stock of all that frivolous December and New Year’s spending, the pressure now builds to prove your love to your significant other.

But how does a person go about asserting his or her feelings, how does one renew aging love and better still, how does one do all of this without forking out a small fortune?

If questions about “upping your game” are creeping into your head, and they most likely are, then pay careful attention. This short and exciting article just might save your love life, enhance it or simply make you a more informed lover. Here are several facts about relationships, their misconceptions and what to avoid doing in the name of love.

The beginning phases

New love is exciting without a doubt. However, people tend to overcompensate during the beginning stages of a new relationship. This is of course a reference to spending habits – expensive dates, movie-inspired acts with rose petals littered across the floor while Kenny G sets the mood in the background, standing outside her window with a boombox over your head, and proclaiming your love to anyone within range of your voice. All of this romantic energy is fine and well considering that you are able to keep it up. Herein lies the issue.

The problem with new relationships is that they will surely fall short of what they were when they began. Dating Metrics throws out an interesting view point. When asked, an eye-opening 72 percent of women claim that their relationships are nothing like they were in the beginning. More than half of the same group claims to have abandoned relationships due to the inconsistency of their partners.

“I feel like he doesn’t care about the things we used to do,” writes Jegyil987, who left a comment on Reddit’s relationship advice page. “A while after we got married, less energy went to me and he does not surprise me anymore. He says he will do something, then when the time comes something else becomes more important or he is just too tired. It has only been 2 years since our wedding and I feel like I’m stuck in an unexciting marriage compared to my married friends.”

Jegyil987 is not the only person on the forum with complaints of this sort. Her comment is just one among pages of similar concerns, mostly women speaking out on the inconsistencies of their men. One poster claims her boyfriend of 4 years recently admitted that he never liked her current job, nor does he enjoy eating in at their “favourite” restaurants and that he finds it to be a waste of money. The advice-seeker then asserts the question “…then what has he been doing these last few years, lying to me? I thought I was with someone who loved the things I loved.”

Bearing these comments in mind, it might be safe to say that inconsistency is a massive relationship killer. The best advice for people entering relationships is to present themselves as they are and not as how they would like to be seen. Indeed, it is the age-old “just be yourself ” line. The soundness of this advice comes from the fact that people cannot uphold their fake selves for very long. Asserting a false image of who you are, your interests and what you are truly capable of only leads to a sense of betrayal when the image starts to crack.

Attracting her the right way

Now that it is clear lying your way to happiness won’t work, time to consider what will.

Women are a complicated species. Their inner workings boggle the minds of the most intelligent men out there. While the internet runs wild with advice on how to attract women, these topics tend to be very misleading. It is often dating advice written by men, you understand. Yet Dating Metrics offers a different approach on how to score your lady love. Better still, the ideas noted on the site come from women themselves.

So, what can men learn about being attractive?

Firstly, it is not about what they have as much as it is about how they behave. Hoards of men aimlessly meander about their lives. For women, a sense of maturity and understanding of one’s life goals is hard to overlook. For a large number of women, confidence from their partners about what they wish to achieve is an attractive quality.

Ladies prefer the sort of man “who goes after what he desires, is headstrong and has a greater perception of himself over others”, the site explains. This alluring man is unlike the insecure man who is too scared to make bold moves, to own his identity and is seen running with the crowd just to fit in. Men who desire that attractive edge need to invest in a backbone and pursue the things that truly matter most to them.

Another great quality is self-love. Loving her is great, but loving oneself first is essential. Men who are well-groomed, dress with a sense of pride, take care of their bodies and hygiene are a cut above the rest. A man who masters self-care is also picky about the people he lets into his life as he understands the misplaced priorities of those who loathe themselves. This is at least the perception noted by the ladies at Dating Metrics, but it makes sense, right?

Lastly, learn to laugh. You do not have to be a stand up comedian, but a good sense of humour and the ability to make others feel at ease around you makes you more than just approachable. Plainly put, if you can make people laugh and prove that you are fun to be around, they will associate you with positive feelings. With a sense of humour, people will turn to you to cheer them up and consider you an escape in moments of boredom. Although the site makes a point of distinguishing childishness from funny, it also notes that that fine line is a matter of opinion.


This last topic is touchy. We cannot underplay the importance of being able to provide for your partners wants and, if it gets to it, support her as a life partner as well. Yet it is not so much about the job as much as it about how you use your money. A man or woman who is seen as financially unstable will only bring financial instability into the lives of others.

Interestingly enough, bragging about one’s financial standing is seen as off-putting. Not only does it make a person come across as over inflated, but it can be intimidating to approach someone who is far above your own financial standing. In this regard, flashing your wealth can actually be a deterrent.

Beyond that, gloating about your bank account in the budding stages of a relationship can make the other person feel as though they are mostly dating you for your money. No self-respecting man or woman wishes to be seen as a gold-digger even if that isn’t the case. In short, keep quiet about your wallet and let your financial situation speak for itself. This point goes hand-in-hand with maturity. Only childlike thinking drives people to flash their money as opposed to doing meaningful things with it. Keep that in mind.

Existing Couples

One big destroyer of love is a lack of communication. In relationships people tend to bottle up their frustrations, then unleash them all in one big argument. The problem with this is that it renders both parties even more frustrated, with no clear way to find out the true cause of their problems. If communication between the two of you starts becoming an issue, consider couples’ therapy.

Couples’ therapy is not for people too scared to deal with their problems. Research shows that newlyweds and long-time lovers take part in regular therapy alike. It is a healthy habit and a great way to voice out pent up frustrations and set out new goals. The best part is that these ambitions and frustrations are laid out in front of an impartial professional who can call individuals out for bad relationship behaviour and hold them accountable to their own goals.

Couples therapy grows increasingly popular in western demographics but can have healthy effects across all cultures. If you wish to hold onto that special spark, consider a marriage counsellor.

Truth be told, there is no set code to winning the heart of the person you fancy or to keeping your love life exciting. Hopefully the advice offered here will hint at which qualities to work on and which to avoid. So what are you waiting for? Go get ’em, stud.

Leave a comment