These are some things which strike me as being important in a long and happy relationship.
1. Trust someone worth trusting
Some of my previous partners deliberately cultivated a state of distrust between us. I can't stand game-players. I like someone who does what they say they're going to, when they say they're going to and no pissing about. J goes out with his mates occasionally, but he always texts me while he's out to let me know he's thinking of me. He's a real homebody though - he'd rather stay in with me - that's just the way he is.
If you start dating someone and they're deliberately messing you about to boost their own ego, boot 'em into touch - unless of course you like the mental stimulation and challenge of dating a player! There will always be people out there who don't need to induce jealousy in others to feel secure in themselves. Don't feel you have to settle for someone who plays with your emotions. There are good people out there, you just have to dig them out!
2. Vive la différence!
J loves drumming, I love a CSI marathon. J loves science, I love celebrity gossip. We give each other time to follow our own interests (although tv and gossip are hardly interests, haha) as we can't be in each other's pockets all the time. It's good to have different interests. Time apart gives you time to miss each other, even if you're only in different rooms.
3. Make sure to let your partner know they're loved and desired
We tell each other we love each other all the time, several times a day, in fact. Every day when J comes home from work I follow him to the bedroom where he gets changed and have a quick squeeze of his bum, or we'll have a quick snuggle on the bed. I'm VERY upfront about fancying J. I'm the man of this relationship, I think :D He's a lot more subtle than I am. Yesterday I had a short dress on and hadn't bothered to put any leggings on underneath since we were hanging around the house, and he said 'I like it when you have your legs out.' Or I'll be washing my hair over the bath and he'll grab me around the middle and comment on my hourglass shape......but then he'll spoil it by doing pelvic thrusts behind me and making me giggle so hard I get water everywhere ;) Let your lover know you fancy the pant(ie)s off them!
4. Communication is key
Because I'm usually so happy, when I'm upset, angry or perturbed about something it's pretty damn obvious. J is brilliant at getting me to talk when I don't want to. If something has really upset me I find it hard to make eye contact when I'm talking (or else I'll cry) so I'll mumble what's bothering me into his chest while giving him a hug so I don't blub like a baby when I look at him. Always try to find a way to open up a discussion, even if you have to do it in a roundabout way like me. Don't let the sun go down on an argument unless you're really, really pissed off and they deserve a night on the sofa! Ha.
5. SnugglesWhen I asked my hubby what is important in relationships, he said snuggles, so here we are! Sex is great, and I'll come to that shortly. Non-sexual touch is also great and lovely. Sometimes we have a snuggle and it's nothing more than that, and other times it leads to something else. It'd be pretty crap for both of us if we felt every cuddle had to lead to sex. I love that we can go with the flow. When we're hugging I love to close my eyes and concentrate on how nice it feels, how warm J's body feels. Those 10 minutes of snuggles are my favourite minutes of every day. Don't be too busy that you can't enjoy the feel of your partner's body. Listening to someone's heartbeat is so relaxing, too.
Having someone to laugh with when life bites you on the arse is so important. J makes me laugh so hard sometimes that I ruin my make up from crying. He's such a dork. He'll lurk around doorways waiting to scare the bejesus out of me, pull funny faces when I'm in need of a laugh and he dredges out his funky dance moves when I'm so down. He's usually just in his pants when he does this, so of course it's funny. I wish he'd let me video it, but he won't (damn it!) If your partner can make you laugh when all else has gone to shit, you've got something special!
7. Sexy time
Sex isn't the be-all-and-end-all of a relationship, but it can be the glue that holds it together. There have been times when we haven't had sex for a long time (after my operation, for instance) and as soon as we get back into it, the closeness it brings is magical. We are lucky to have a good and fulfilling sex life, but if we didn't, I'd have no hesitation at all in going to couples therapy to try to remedy the situation. Don't be afraid to use tools to enhance your experiences! We have a selection of buzzing friends, a selection of flavoured lubes and we aren't afraid to use them - there's no shame in it. Nothing is too weird between two consenting adults, well not unless you're involving small furry animals! Our sex life gets better with time and we're not afraid to try new things once in a while to jazz things up. It amazes me that people can raise kids together, share a whole life and yet not tell each other what they really want in bed. Hell, write it down on a piece of paper and swap if you're shy. Desiring someone and being desired is important, which leads me onto my next point.
8. Make an effort
We've been together a long time, and I always make an effort for J. I spend a good portion of his wages on clothes, make up, skin care and perfume so I look and smell nice for him. I'm especially keen as I'm 6 years older than he is. Perhaps I make more of an effort as I'm fat - I could be overcompensating. If people are thinking 'Jesus, that guy's wife is fat!' I want it to be countered with 'But she's bloody gorgeous!' (In an ideal world I'd love to be thought of as 'just' gorgeous, but I know most of the world doesn't think that way.) Just today J said he's so glad I still I make an effort for him, because he knows not everyone does in a long relationship, and he feels lucky I do. I keep myself looking nice as much for me as I do for him. It's a psychological thing for me - if I look good, I feel good, but I'm always happy to receive a compliment from my hubby. I think it's quite a lot easier for men to look nicer - all J has to do to please me is not cut his hair too short, keep some stubble on his face and keep on drumming so his legs and bum stay lovely and muscly. But still, he does those things to keep me happy. If it doesn't make you feel less than yourself, there's no harm in doing things to please your partner.
9. Don't let temptation in
J and I both have the same feeling about temptation - that you'd be an idiot to let it run wild. As soon as there's a hint of something that might possibly harm your relationship, you need to remove yourself from the situation. Once, when J and I were newly dating, some girl in a pub pinched his arse and put her arm round him. He immediately came and stood behind me, put his arms around my waist and said loudly AND incredulously 'Can't she see I'm with you?!' Message sent. Messages sometimes need to be sent, or ignored, if someone is trying to send you a message you don't want to hear. Temptation spreads. It isn't like curiosity - it doesn't get satisfied - it grows. Egos are naturally hungry and sometimes the safest thing is to get outta dodge before you do something stupid. It isn't weak to admit that sometimes you need to err on the side of caution. Someone I know vaguely is still on my shitlist for the lusty way she looked at J the first time she met him. There's no harm in being watchful. I trust J, but I don't trust other people ;)
What do YOU think is important in a relationship? Have I missed anything important?