1. Understand the stages of love . Every relationship goes through three stages of love including romantic love, the power struggle and real love--respectively. Romantic love is supposed to happen and supposed to end. If you are prepared for this then you are not surprised when romantic love ends and conflict begins in the power struggle. The power struggle is supposed to happen and supposed to end too but it lasts longer because most couples don't have skills for conflict resolution. Real love comes as couples work through problems successfully.
2. Conflict is Growth Trying to Happen . Most couples think this is the end of the relationship but actually it is the beginning. Having conflict in a relationship is an indicator you are with the right person. When he pushes your buttons it is because you already have that issue and you have hired him to work that issue through.
3. You will have at least three relationships in a lifetime . This doesn't mean you have to leave your partner. You can have three relationships with him. Old patterns change in relationships and new ones emerge. The longer you are together the more change will occur. If you enter a relationship at 20 you will change quite a bit by 40 which means the relationship must accommodate the changes in you individually. I constantly tell couples the old relationship they were in has died it is time to build a new one with their current partner.
4. Sex and love are two conversations . Most couples think that if they improve their relationship, sex will come. Others think that if they improve their sex life the relationship will get better. Neither of these are true. If you want to have a good love and sex life with a partner you have to have two ongoing discussions.
5. Never compare what you have with other relationships . You can create any type of relationship you want. What works in one relationship would never work in yours necessarily whether gay, lesbian or straight. There is no right or wrong way to be in a relationship. Keep doing whatever works for the two of you and never take on what others say is right or wrong for you.