Having a successful relationship relies on a bunch of things all working together in harmony. You’ve got to have trust, respect, love, chemistry… There’s just no way around it. Good thing I’ve always been good at math, otherwise the complexity would be too much to handle.
It’s almost scientific, really. And I’ve never been too great at science.
Thankfully, knowing what these things are doesn’t take too much effort, and they’re pretty much the same for any relationship you’re ever in. Sure, maybe the measurements will be a little different each time, but the basic formula is the same, and there’s usually no problem adjusting the recipe as necessary.
But have you ever wondered why the important parts are so important?
The pan: Yourself.
Okay, maybe I’m stretching this metaphor a little thin here, but bear with me. You can’t have a cake if you don’t have the right pan – and you can’t expect to have a good relationship if you’re not a good person. The best partners are the ones we can see ourselves in, to some degree.
While the idea that anyone could be “out of anyone else’s league” is pretty arrogant, the truth is that you attract the type of partner you deserve, to a certain point. While no one ever deserves to be treated unfairly, you attract that sort of partner by devaluing yourself. Keep your own worth in mind and don’t settle for less – but make sure you’re being the type of person you’d want to be with.
The flour: Common interests.
This one has quite a bit of wiggle room to it, depending on your personal preferences. You don’t want everything to be the same, because you won’t have anything interesting to tell each other. But you should have enough in common that you can spend time together without either of you being bored out of your mind.
What happens if you’ve got too much flour in your cake, though? You get a doughy mess. If you’ve got too much in common, you guys are going to be boring to each other. There’s nothing exciting about dating someone who’s exactly like you, after all, so make sure you’re not afraid to do your own thing, too.
The eggs: Mutual respect.
Mutual respect is what holds your relationship together. I’m going to go ahead and consider trust as a part of respect here – one implies the other. If you can’t treat your partner like an equal, and like she deserves the benefit of the doubt sometimes, you should probably walk away.
You should notice that I said mutual respect, though. If your partner does things that aren’t worthy of your trust – such as being unfaithful or dishonest – you’re not doing anything positive by sticking to her side. No relationship can be kept afloat by one person alone. It needs to be a mutual effort.
The sugar: Sexual compatibility.
Please note that I didn’t say sex itself, but rather sexual compatibility. This is one of those things that has a pretty broad definition. Some people are more willing to compromise than others, and some people really don’t want to compromise at all. No matter what you might have thought, you can’t force someone to compromise – it sort of undermines the whole idea if you do.
In a perfect relationship, both partners will want exactly the same type of sex, at exactly the same time, on exactly the same schedule. But we live in the real world, and that’s probably not going to happen. Instead, you should focus on
The salt: Forgiveness.
Not everything is meant to be perfect, and your relationship probably won’t, either. (If it is perfect, it’s usually because someone’s hiding something – which, of course, is imperfect, too.) The important thing about a healthy relationship is that you learn to forgive the mistakes that are worth forgiving.
Too much salt (or forgiveness) can spoil it, though. If you find that you’re always forgiving your partner for something that hurts, or you’re using some cheap forgiveness-substitute like pretending it never happened while bottling up your emotions, your relationship cake is going to suck.
The oven: Intimacy.
Your own preferences as far as intimacy goes are bound to vary. They might even be different with different relationships. Whether you’re a talker, a cuddler, or a kisser (or – preferably – all three), your relationship will need to be nurtured and warmed by a fair helping of love.
Please note that not everyone shows their intimacy the same way, and just because your partner doesn’t show it the way you want her to doesn’t automatically mean she doesn’t care. Some people are an industrial stove, while others are a gas station microwave – be patient with her if she’s not so touchy-feely.
Then bake to the perfect temperature.
Relationships take time and communication, and some people don’t really have the patience it takes. (Hint: A good relationship will take a lot of patience.) Particularly if you’re more of the microwave-type, as talked about in the section above, it might take a little longer to build up. Give it the time it needs – nothing worth having comes instantly.
The good news is that intimacy can actually help speed things along. When we cuddle, have emotional talks, kiss, and even orgasm with our partners, we stimulate the brain to release a bonding chemical. With enough of this chemical, we can actually fall in love with a person on the cellular level. Be careful, though – this can be a bad thing if it’s the wrong person!
Make sure that you’re trying to build a relationship because the person is right, and not just because you think it’s time. There is no such thing as “the right time” to enter a relationship – it’s just two (or sometimes more) people working together to make it the right time. But you’ve got to have your ingredients in order first.