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After being married for over a quarter of a century, there are a few things I have come to know for certain about partnerships.

(photo of leaving on my wedding night – 25 years ago)

Your partner is NOT your best friend

Regardless of the fact that so many people say ‘he or she is my best friend’, that doesn’t have to be the case. Partners and best friends play quite different roles. Trying to make your partner your absolute everything puts too much pressure on one person. You need a best friend separate from your partner simply for the times when your partner is driving you nuts and you need somebody to download on and empathise with your plight. Let’s face it, partners can also be a pain in the ass and there’s nothing better than a non-judgemental bestie who totally loves your partner, won’t hold it against them, yet totally ‘gets’ where you’re coming from. Let your partner off the hook and find a best friend who fits the role. They will also be so much more fun to shop with, take to the health spa, and discuss the latest craze of Matcha.

You can keep secrets from your partner

I hear people say ‘There should be no secrets’. My question is ‘Why not?’ There are some things I totally keep to myself. There are things my partner knows, things my besties know, things that only my counsellor knows, and things that only I know and only I will ever know. There’s nothing wrong with that. You are entitled to keep some things in your own mind for safekeeping and freedom of judgement or ridicule. You are well within your rights to have you own ‘off-limits to the world’ thoughts, dreams, and prayers. Some things are just ‘sacred’ to you and that’s absolutely OK. You don’t have to share every little part of yourself. Some things are just for you and you alone. Keep some precious little bits aside and cherish them. You deserve to have that.

You can have your own money and independence

If there’s one thing I’m certain of it’s this – you can only ‘truly’ rely on ‘yourself’. That’s a fact. Other people won’t mean to but they will let you down in one way or another. Let’s face it; they are busy trying to survive themselves. They have their own struggles, challenges, and demons to fight. The only person who has your best interests at heart is you. Set yourself up financially so that you know exactly what’s going on. So many people loose a partner and don’t know the first thing about writing a cheque, B-Paying a bill, running a business, or renewing an insurance policy. Being independent is the only sure way to know that your financial future is secure. If you do share things with your partner, know exactly how it all works.

You don’t have to do EVERYTHING TOGETHER

There is nothing more unattractive than ‘neediness’. People who are demanding and needy are referred to as ‘hand-brakes’. They are the fun police, in charge of making sure nothing goes on without their full approval and participation. Find your own fun outside of your relationship. Get a sport fired up or a hobby under your belt. There is nothing more appealing than someone who has a life of their own, runs their own show and has plenty to talk about and report in on. If you do ‘everything together’, you already have the run down on all the details, and events that took place. It’s much more fun to bounce in the door full of excitement ready to share the mind-blowing episode that just took place in your life with your unsuspecting partner.

You can be attracted to other people

If your head doesn’t turn to the side from time to time, there is something not quite right. It is natural to be attracted to people of the same and opposite sex. It doesn’t mean you want to jump into bed with them, it just means that you find something about them appealing. It might be a look or style that you want to implement yourself. It could also be that they are exceedingly hot and totally perve worthy. I always remember the saying ‘It doesn’t matter where you get your appetite, so long as you dine at home’. I always dine at home but from time to time I do see some yummy specimens out there in the big wide world. Even the odd little flirt from time to time does no harm. So long as you are conscious and aware of what you are doing and have some snug fit boundaries around how far you’ll go. Innocence and transparency is key.

Your partner does not MAKE you HAPPY

It is nobody’s job to make you happy. Happiness is your job – 100%. Happiness comes from within. It is created and generated inside of you. The minute you start to look for happiness from outside sources, namely partners, you are barking up the wrong tree. Happiness comes from being grateful for what you have, finding passion in what you do, and fulfilling yourself by following your heart and dreams. You get to read the script that is written on your heart and it is your responsibility to act out the role that your life script instructs. You have your own intrinsic purpose for being here and following that purpose is the source of your soul felt happiness. No partner, friend, neighbour, pet, or explosive one-night-stand can give that to you. These can all add to your happiness, but they can’t create it. Don’t expect them to.

Your partner does not COMPLETE you

I cringe when I hear the words ‘You complete me’. To me that sounds so needy and dis-empowering. You need to be complete all by yourself. When you are ‘complete’, you are ready for a partner. In-complete people are looking for a part in a jigsaw puzzle, not a life partner. Put all your pieces together and present your full self to somebody else. They can then present their full self to you and together you can ‘compliment’ each other. Complimenting is so much better than completing. There is nothing more powerful than knowing that you have everything you need and want right within your ‘self’. Having a partner is like icing your life with rich, sweet, chocolaty frosting. It adds to the whole presentation but it’s not the cake. You are the cake. You supply the ingredients and follow the perfect recipe. Don’t make your partner an ingredient. You’re still a cake without frosting but you won’t bake without flour, eggs, and all the rest.

You don’t have to think about your partner while having SEX

There are times when you’re totally connected to your partner, you’ve spent quality time together, and you feel close, understood, heard, and appreciated. At these times, sex can be incredibly intimate and loving. At other times, it can be mechanical, other person pleasing, and even a ‘chore’. It’s common to feel the highs and lows of an on-going sex life with one partner. I have no judgement on what people do to spice up their sex life provided nobody gets hurt and all agreements are mutual. I do know that some people fantasise while having sex with their partner. One woman told me that she ‘pretends’ her neighbour has come into her house and is seducing her instead of her partner who is making love to her. She’s not particularly attracted to this neighbour but there is something about him that she finds mysterious and that creates a bit of light relief during those ‘mechanical’ times. It is far better to allow your imagination to be ‘unfaithful’ than your physical self. Who hasn’t had a weird dream where you make love to somebody totally random? If it’s in your sub-conscious mind, it doesn’t take much to move over to the conscious.

I once had a dream where I had sex with a friend’s father. I woke up horrified, ‘gagging’ and so relieved that it was only a dream. Luckily a non-recurring dream!