Long Term Relationship Advice - Building Trust in Relationships through Mutual Support

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A basic purpose for a long term relationship is to provide mutual support. A sign of a healthy relationship is the degree to which both partners are willing to support and have built trust between each other. Support can take a lot of different forms, and frequently relationships are based upon complimentary types of support given and received. Here are some examples:
  • Financial
  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Domestic
  • Informative
  • Social
  • Parenting
  • Aspirations

Complimentary forms of support in a long term relationship might consist of you being naturally good at giving me pep talks (aspirations) and I could be a natural at helping you with parenting dilemmas. This works. We each find value in the other in addition to whatever feelings we may have. This keeps the love relationship healthy when there is give and take.

To my knowledge, there's no ruler or yardstick for how this is measured. Each individual has to go by what feels right to them in both giving and receiving. These may not always appear to coincide. One person or the other may perceive an imbalance occurring and through this perception, the relationship suffers. Notice that I didn't say that through this fact the relationship suffers, though sometimes that may indeed be the case. Support is a surprisingly subjective experience. What may give you warm fuzzy feelings could be absolutely meaningless to me and vice versa.

I will know better than you whether I feel supported or not. All my efforts to support you could be fruitless if they don't register for you as support. This is where communication comes in. It's common for the areas of support that we once received in a relationship to change over time to better accomodate ourselves or our partner. This is the situation which may require re-evaluation.

What if support is given begrudgingly? In that case we are resenting having to give it and the receiver probably isn't feeling very good about it either. In this situation it's likely that both partners have lost sight of the meaning of mutual support and may not know how to bring it back. We're more likely to want to give support if we can trust that we'll receive our share in turn. If this trust has broken down, it requires communication to mend it.

Time and experience when they translate into "habit" are often the unseen factors in this. We often will make assumptions about our partner based on prior experience. This is fine, except that people change. You change, I change, and we don't always keep each other informed of all the changes. A simple shift in attitude can make a huge difference in a relationship and if only one person knows about it, chaos is the eventual result. Essential needs in the relationship can end up neglected and ignored.

Best advice I can give, is our ability to provide support to each other is a precious gift and will keep a long term relationship alive while maintaining trust in the relationship.

Famous Quote:

"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go..."

--T.S. Eliot