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Dating and relationships usually start with infatuation and falling in love. What makes you have a crush on and fall in love with a particular person? Something about the other person’s looks or personality is attractive, or the person just has that undefined something about them.

You can’t always explain to yourself what you fell in love with. Fortunately, you don’t have to; you can simply enjoy the first flush of love to the full. Falling in love is a wonderful thing, and it is important for giving two people a desire to be together.

Love is often accompanied by the feeling that one’s life becomes complete through the object of love. The other person makes you feel complete, whole, and happy. However, hopes for love and a partner can sometimes be exaggerated. The idea that the other person will make you happy and fix your problems is understandable in the ecstasy of love.


In the long run, however, making your partner responsible for your happiness will lead to disappointment. The idea that another person can bring ultimate happiness is misleading. Ultimately, everyone is responsible for their own happiness, also in a relationship.

The foundation for a lasting relationship is good self-awareness: contact with oneself, one’s own feelings and needs. There is no expectation that your partner will fix your problems and make life perfect. When you know yourself, you can also better tell your partner how you feel, what you need, what you like, and what you can’t stand. Then, the responsibility for your happiness does not fall on your partner’s shoulders and you can live together making compromises while listening to your own needs and feelings.

In a lasting relationship, partners are happy both together and apart.


Dating and relationships often begin with a couple experiencing a strong feeling of falling in love. This initial phase is called the ‘symbiotic phase’. It is necessary for creating common ground, but it must give way in time. Breaking away from symbiosis can be one of the first crises in a relationship, especially if it happens at different times for the partners.

Breaking away from symbiosis means finding your own individual role in a relationship. Individuality means knowing who you are, what you want and need, and what you don’t want. It also means recognising your feelings, expressing them, and recognising where your boundaries are.

After the symbiotic phase, the relationship enters a new phase in which it becomes important to find individuality alongside togetherness.

A relationship is a constantly changing union of partners who are working through these changes. When there are periods of disappointment and alienation in a relationship, you must also be able to see the importance of individuality.

Resolving conflicts and balancing expectations and reality are essential to the success of a relationship. Partnership is ultimately about realistic love – a relationship in which two equal adults respect one other, their connection, and their individuality.


A relationship involves many tasks. Challenges can arise when you need to:

  • break away from your childhood family and commit to a relationship;
  • build togetherness and intimacy while both maintain their individuality and privacy;
  • create and experience a sense of ‘us’ and togetherness;
  • find moments of privacy and intimacy in addition to having hobbies and friends;
  • regulate the amount of closeness and separateness without submitting and living on the terms of others;
  • face adversity and deal with change in a way that strengthens the relationship rather than breaks it apart;
  • express your feelings and opinions freely without fear of rejection;
  • respect and value the sexuality of your partner and yourself;
  • maintain a pleasurable sex life;
  • maintain humour and interest;
  • take care of and invest in the relationship;
  • receive and give comfort and encouragement;
  • preserve the romance and dreams;
  • confront partnership and parenthood.

A relationship progresses by overcoming adversity and challenges. While this happens, security and trust in the relationship increase. This way, the other person’s growth and change do not become too much of a threat. Both partners are allowed to grow and develop as individuals.