Always turn to your friends for love advice? Much as your mates may mean well, they may be quite biased, so you might want to get a different perspective from the experts instead. Scroll the gallery to check out how you can better navigate the intricacies of a romantic relationship.
1. You can learn to be a better partner by...
“Getting feedback from your partner! Ask him questions such as ‘Would you feel more loved when I do this?’ so that you can get to know his preferences. It’s the best and most direct way for you to become a better partner.”
– Cindy Leong, Chief Dating Coach at Divine Connect, a Social Development Network-accredited agency
“Appreciating and valuing your partner for who he is. For a relationship to work, you must be understanding, accommodating and accepting towards him. You also need to put in effort to show love, sincerity and care for each another. Remember that it isn’t a one-way street—it’s about mutual ‘give’ and ‘take’.”
– Ira Suppiah, Solemniser licensed by the Registry of Marriages
“Taking the time to listen more. And instead of criticising him, focus on his positive traits, such as his kindness and good intentions. We often forget about our partner’s efforts and criticise them for their weaknesses, but you shouldn’t compare your strengths to his weaknesses and should instead be helping him with them. You should also recognise your own shortcomings so that you can be more patient with him.”
– Madelin Tay, Counsellor at Family Central, a service by Fei Yue Community Services
2. It's time to give up on a relationship when...
“He’s not willing to work on the relationship. It takes two hands to clap, so when he refuses to work on it, you know it’s a sign. You should also give up when you’ve sought third party help yet he doesn’t want to compromise and leaves all the responsibility to you.”
“He takes you for granted, manipulates you or is abusive towards you. If he cares for you, he will treat you well and with respect, whether in public or in private. If you find yourself in a manipulative or abusive relationship, seek the help of family, friends, and if necessary, professional counsellors to deal with the situation.”
“There’s no trust and no commitment. If trust is broken, it needs to be earned back, because without it, you’ll live in uncertainty. Commitment is what keeps people together—it shows that you’re invested, have a mid- to long-term view of the relationship and consider your partner in your decisions. When trust and commitment is not there, you cannot be sure where efforts are going.”
3. You know he's the one when...
“He constantly talks about your future together. Sometimes, we become so consumed by the dating game that we lose the true essence of why we are dating our partner. Always remember the ‘why’—it’s the basis of building a future together.”
“He has discussed a future together with you, including financial plans, life goals, dreams and aspirations. This is a sign that he’s committed to the relationship. These discussions also allow you to see whether he cares about what you think, and if he shares the same values and priorities. Having a clear vision of your future together anchors your relationship, which will help the both of you deal with the challenges that life will inevitably bring.”
“There is an emotional connection and he genuinely cares for you. Also, when you can be yourself, are accepted for who you are, feel safe with him and have your ideas and opinions respected. He will not be someone who forces you to do things that you’re not comfortable doing, and if or when there are differences, will find ways to work through them with you.”