kissing couple happily ever after

I have never been very good at romantic relationships. There I said it. I’ve either been too needy or too nonchalant. Too loving or too unavailable. Too accommodating or too carefree. All of which have scared men away in droves and left me feeling a complete and utter failure in my search for a soul mate.

And, then I met The One. I was still all of the above, but with a lot of patience, understanding, and communication, we’ve almost made it. I say almost, because no relationship, whether it be with a partner, family, friend, work colleague, or pet is ever perfect.

Below are 10 tips to hopefully help you find your way to Happily Ever After.

1. Realise that no relationship is perfect

I write romantic comedy. Happy endings are my bag. Boy meets girl. I create a bit of conflict in the middle. The characters laugh, cry, kiss, makeup and ride off into the sunset. If only life was like that. But as you get older and look around you, you realize that no relationship is perfect. Every single of them needs work and understanding. No couple is going to have exactly the same thoughts and dreams, timescales, or wants. And, when this light bulb moment hits and you realize that there are rarely happy ever afters in real life, then suddenly everything becomes easier. You can then decide exactly what it is you want out of your relationships and then make the most of what you have.

2. Be yourself

So when you go out, you normally wear jeans and a nice top, maybe throw a decent pair of heels on. Then you see his photo on the Internet. He’s wearing expensive designer clothes, his shoes look a bit flash too. You buy a bodycon dress a size smaller so not one, but two pairs of Spanx have to be dragged on to hold in your slight muffin top. Then, all you can think about throughout the date is whether your dress is going to split at the seam before or after the second drink. Or worse still, you are going to die of suffocation. Yes, that’s a bit extreme and of course, you want to look nice. But, don’t pretend you are someone or something that you are not. If it works out, you are both going to end up on the sofa in joggers and baggy T-shirts anyway. So just be you. Wonderful you!

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3. Understand jealousy

Jealousy is not only a wasted emotion, but it’s also very destructive for both sides of a relationship. It’s all very well people telling you this, I know. But my advice is to find the cause for your insecurities. Nobody can make you feel jealous. In fact, nobody can make you feel any emotion. You do it all by yourself. There is always going to be somebody younger, prettier, and more successful than you in this world. And, whatever you try to do, you can’t control or stop somebody else from doing something either. So my tip is when jealousy raises its ugly head is, don’t let it out publicly, go to a room on your own, scream, take a deep breath, then realize your own sense of worth.

4. Communicate without confrontation

Without communication, you have no relationship. It took me a while, but I also realized that communication without confrontation; surprise, surprise actually works. Maybe you have felt jealous or undermined or just want to discuss any aspect of the relationship to keep it on the right path. You don’t need to set a time, or say the words ‘We need to talk.’  When you are in a relaxed state together, bring up whatever is bothering you in a calm manner. Try it, it really does work.

5. Embrace time apart

So he’s going off for a weekend with the lads. Hurrah! Time to read a good book or catch up with some friends you haven’t seen for ages. Or even just enjoy watching all the TV programs he doesn’t. Spending time apart in a relationship allows you to miss each other too. It’s healthy for the relationship and keeps a bit of spice alive.

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6. Have your own hobbies

Now to sharing hobbies. Hmm. To be honest, I can’t think of anything worse, so you may disagree with me here. But, personally, hobbies and exercise are classed as much needed me time. I quite like lying on my yoga mat dreaming about Danny MC. I also power walk in the park with my sister or friends and take that time to have a good old natter. In my opinion, it gives you more to talk about when you are together. Although, I might just skip the Danny Mac bit!

7. Eat together

After ‘Do you fancy a quickie?’ I reckon the most common question for couples is ‘What shall we eat?’ Personally, I think that foodie couples have a closer bond than couples who just eat to live. I mean eating is something that happens at least three times a day. Or in my case at least ten times a day, if there are chocolates and other forms of sugary treats lying around. So, embrace all that magical time to enjoy both the food and each other’s company. Plus, an ideal time to communicate about anything that is on your mind in a calm and relaxed environment.

8. Plan intimacy

I won’t lie, I used to get very hurt if I was up for a bit of lovemaking and he wasn’t. Loads of thoughts used to run through my head. Did I not look nice that evening? Was it something I said? But, I realized it was just my own stupid insecurities talking to me. And, when I sorted those out, I realized that yes, he was just tired or had a lot on his mind or maybe just had an early meeting and needed some sleep rather than sex. Be comforted that 99% of the time, the other person is not thinking what you are thinking! If you are both busy people, then actually set yourself a night where you are going to light those candles and have some fun together. The anticipation will add to the excitement.

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9. Learn to be patient

To ensure a healthy, fulfilling relationship, patience is a must. We all have to learn how to deal with frustrating situations, but of course, some of us are better at it than others. Once we have mastered how to deal with an experience that does not work out in our favor without throwing our toys out of the pram, then we are halfway there. But, if feelings of frustration or anger begin to rise, try to walk away from the situation, take a deep breath, count to ten then go back with fresh eyes and ears.

10. Kiss and makeup

Always follow the age-old rule in a relationship, don’t go to sleep on an argument, and most certainly don’t say goodbye until you’ve kissed and made up. Life is short. Everything has a solution, except death. And on that cheery note, I wish you well in your search for your Happily Ever After.

Nicola is a bestselling author of 8 successful romantic comedy novels. Her quirky sense of humour and ability to deal with real life issues in a comedic way has won her a steady fan base worldwide.

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