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Self-Help Tools: Interpersonal Skills Development

Maintaining a Relationship

Attempt to find a partner with similar attitudes, beliefs, values, personality, and behavioral characteristics. In fact, the most common reasons a large group of college students gave for ending a romantic relationship were different interests, backgrounds, sexual attitudes, intellectual ability, and views about marriage. Pay close attention to similarity factors early in the relationship. This should ensure that you don't get off on the wrong foot. Avoid falling into patterns which could become boring. Periodically seek new activities you can enjoy together including sports, art, or games. Plan an annual vacation which will get you out of your usual environment.

Be realistic at the outset of your relationship about the time and effort required to maintain it.

Talk about your similarities and differences. Open, honest communication is always best. It is better to become aware of significant differences now than later.

Process future areas of potential disagreement. Children, housework, and careers are usually good areas to start talking about.

Be nice to one another. As simplistic as it sounds, this could be the most important element of all in maintaining a healthy, long-term relationship.