Jan 23, 2011

[Technicolor Musings] 5 Relationship Tips That I Live By

With the new year comes new beginnings, and by that virtue new relationships. I don't know if it's just me, but I seem to have noticed a number of friends of mine who have declared themselves as "in a relationship" after the fireworks settled down. I suppose that makes sense - it gives people something to look forward to for the year. And on a more cynical note, I assume a lot of people hook up in January in order to make sure that they get to February happily attached. Not judging - just making a calculated assertion there.

Tobie and Rocky

Given that, I find myself thinking about my own relationship and how things have gone thus far. We're quickly approaching our second year together and the trip has been pretty grand. Thus I thought it might be helpful for you geeky readers (and this probably regardless of sexual orientation) or for anyone else who has decided to take someone's hand in theirs this January to share a few relationship tips that I think work.

I know, I know, I don't necessarily claim to be an expert - I am a geek after all. But then again, who is? It's not like relationships are an exact science or anything. If they were, well, then things would be a heck of a lot simpler for us intellectuals, now wouldn't it?

There's no particular order to this list, but they do tend to work hand-in-hand as well, so I wouldn't recommend skipping stuff.

Rocky Transformers Comics

Love Yourself, But Don't Be Selfish - I know it sounds horribly cliché, but it's a fundamental truth that we can't ignore. You need to be able to love and respect yourself for who you are before you can even get into a decent relationship. If you don't respect yourself, then you're bound to let your partner walk all over you and in the end you'll be the one to feel bad about it. As much as relationships are a joining of two people, you still need to keep in mind the fact that you are still two separate individuals. Each of you have needs and desires that need to be addressed in one way or another.

Just don't forget that this street goes both ways - narcissism is not the kind of self-love I'm advocating here.

Compromise, Not Sacrifice - Directly linking to my first item comes the need to truly understand what compromise is. This is supposed to mean meeting halfway but when in love, we forget a lot of things and end up behaving in rather illogical and silly ways. Thus it becomes far too easy to go over the deep end and give your all for your partner in order to be the perfect husband/wife/whatever-term-you-prefer. That's not really going to work out in the long run. Bending is good but only if both of you do it. If you find yourself constantly making adjustments and changes for the sake of the relationship without your partner reciprocating, this may be a problem.

A relationship should be a union of equals unless you're really into the whole S&M scene or something.


Celebrate Every Day...Together - There's a sad part of some relationships where you don't get to be proud of some of the things that you love. It can't be helped at times, but it does suck and builds a weird side of resentment if you're not careful. Thus try to celebrate all the little things with your partner, and make sure he (or she?) understands what makes these things so important to you. Context always helps. And at the same time, be open to learn more about what your partner loves and enjoys, not matter how strange. And thus my partner is okay with all my little OCD quirks and my never-ending need to buy more Transformers and books. And I'm totally cool with his love for anthropomorphizing his stuffed animals and his penchant for unusual food combinations (such as peanut butter and hotdogs).

Each day is a new day of wonderful things to celebrate together - you just don't realize it yet. And once you've learned to appreciate all the fun and crazy things that make your partner happy, you just may find out that they make you happy too.

Rocky and Tobie At Boracay

Work Through Problems Together - This applies on two levels. First, there's the need to keep the lines of communication open between the both of you whenever you feel irked or upset by something the other does. Don't just sigh or rant to a friend about your problems - talk to your partner about it so you ca come up with a solution! And note that I didn't use the term "confront" - you're both adults (usually), so you should be able to talk through things. Relationships don't just magically happen even for soul mates - they always take honest hard work to keep on going.

At the same time, this also applies to just any problem you have, whether it involves your family, work or whatever. There is no such thing as a "private" or "personal" problem that you need to exclude your partner from. Sure, he can't help you 100%, but you need to keep him in the loop and at least give him a chance to show his support or maybe even suggest alternatives. If the two of you are going to be in a relationship, that means both the good and the bad and being able to face either situation together.

Sex Is A Skill, Not A Character Trait - A lot of people I've encountered in the gay world advocate the need to sleep with your potential partner as soon as possible in order to determine whether or not you're sexually compatible. That's fine and dandy from a one night stand perspective, but sex is never a good basis for starting a relationship. Just because you do well in the sack does not mean you will do well in life together. And yes, I acknowledge that the whole top or bottom thing is pretty important as something you need to know, but you'd be surprised at how people actually become more, well, versatile for the right guy or under the right circumstances.

Sex is just a physical skill - it can be learned. And in the beginning we all suck at it - and not in a good way. In fact, good sex is more about how well two partners communicate with one another it's not something you're born with. You need to learn how to work together and that's when the real magic happens. Thus never rely on sex as a barometer - the same goes for all other physical characteristics like a hot body or great arms. In times these all fade and if you didn't invest in looking for the good stuff, you'll end up with a hollow shell of a relationship.

And that's all I have for you now. It's not much of a list and these 5 tips alone will not guarantee you a long and loving relationship. But I'd like to think that they're pretty big steps in the right direction that should help a lot of you continue to find happiness.

And just because your single doesn't meant you should forget about all these. You'll find that a lot of these ideas work in terms of the right mindset to keep when looking for a potential partner. If you can't practice enough of these things as you get together, then you better figure out soon if you're willing to put the work in for the long term.

And with luck we'll all find our happily ever afters.

Rocky and Tobie


  1. *blushes*

    There's always a part of me that squeals when I get to be in your blog. :-)

    Those are great points that I hope more people bear in mind. I get dismayed when so many people think a gay relationship can never work out without multiple sex partners, lies and infidelity. But sadly, there are those who do think that way.

    Every single day gets better!

  2. I thought you'd like this entry, hehe. Here's to more reasons to be happy!