Most of us can agree that sex is fun, especially good sex. It feels good and can go a long way in bringing couples closer together and cementing the relationship. However, sex is far from the most important thing in a relationship. In the words of Cosmo Luce from Elite Daily, “sex can be just as indulgent as eating candy. Too much of it, and you’ll rot your teeth out.”
Communication is Definitely Key
“Communication is key” isn’t just a cheesy old saying. Unfortunately, your partner can’t read your mind, and if you are not open about your physical and emotional needs and desires, your other half isn’t ever going to know what is going on in your head. As a result, the foundation of the relationship becomes unstable under all the unspoken uncertainties between you two.
When your partner does something that bothers you, you need to have the confidence to communicate with them clearly and coherently what the issue is and why what they did bothered you. Doing this takes practice, so don’t stress if you find yourself struggling to do this at first. A big part of gaining the confidence to do this is having a partner who won’t shame you for expressing yourself.
The same can be said if you ever find yourself in the position where your partner is confronting you about something you did that bothered them. Instead of getting defensive, try to listen.
Try your best to not respond in the heat of the moment if you’re having an argument with your partner. Oftentimes when you are upset, you say things you don’t mean. This can drive a rift between you and your partner. Instead, step back and figure out what exactly is bothering you, find the source of the issue, take a deep breath, and approach your partner calmly.
Keep in mind that open communication often does lead to hurt feelings, and that being brutally honest can have consequences. Ultimately it is up to you to decide which is more painful, being honest or bottling up your feelings in an attempt to avoid confrontation.
Communication isn’t a Shakespearean monologue. The best type of communication happens when both partners ask questions and give each other the time and space they need to respond. Don’t talk at your partner, talk with your partner.
Your Partner Cannot Be Everything
It’s important to remember that you are partners, not each other‘s therapist. Relying solely on your girlfriend or boyfriend for emotional support can put unnecessary stress on them and your relationship. It’s important that you emotionally support each other equally and that you both have a support network outside of your relationship, such as family members and friends.
Just like relying on only one friend in your social circle to help with your mental health would put strain on your friendship, expecting your partner alone to be able to take care of you creates an imbalance.
It’s completely human to want to find comfort in your romantic partner but it’s equally important to take into consideration their mental health as well and to not overburden them.
A person needs more than just one kind of love in their life, whether it’s familial, platonic or romantic, and a single person cannot provide all of that. In order to be truly happy in both your relationship and your life, you need to have a solid, diverse support system.
It’s like a food web. If a food web is too simple and one species dies, the entire ecosystem collapses. However, when a food web is diverse, it can withstand things like extinction and natural disasters because every species has multiple sources of sustenance. In the same way you need multiple sources of love in the event one source is unavailable, so you don’t “collapse.”
This also helps prevent codependency and makes sure that you stay with your partner because you want to be with them, not because you’re afraid of being alone or you have forgotten what it is like to be without them.
Equal Parts Friends, Equal Parts Lovers
While it is important that you have other friends, it is also important that you and your lover are able to platonically relate to each other.
The ability to simply enjoy each other‘s company without the need for sex can vastly deepen you and your partner’s connection.
Genuinely enjoying each other’s conversation, hearing their opinions, learning new things, meeting new friends, and being able to “goof off” with each other can be much more fulfilling than sex, a temporary high that can only do so much when it comes to deepening your emotional bond.
When Cosmo Luce says, “Sex is special, but it’s also kind of not,” she is absolutely right.
While an emotional connection can make sex better, it is absolutely not a prerequisite to good sex. Having sex with a brief tryst can be fun, but it’s not really anything more than that. It’s important to keep in mind that sex can be important to a healthy relationship only if you want it to be, you and your partner can have sex as little or as much as you want to, and “it’s simply one part of the beautiful mosaic that you and your partner could be building together.”