Ah, the question we all fail to ask. There’s a thousand different instructions about how to get the person of your dreams, but we forget that falling in love is the beginning of the whole journey. It’s like getting into that one university you really wanted to, like the IIT (there are, alas, no real coaching classes you can take when you’re in the 7th grade when it comes to love). The rest of the course and getting the degree is the part of love people forget.
Love is not just falling for each other. Love is the staying that comes after the fall. It is the constant choice that people make when they are together day in, day out. And while there’s no real recipe for keeping someone with you (which sounds a lot like imprisoning someone, to be honest), there are things you can do to make sure your relationship remains a loving space.
1. Say those three words
Yes, I mean the confession of love. This is so obvious, yet its importance cannot be overstated.
In the happenings of day-to-day life, people tend to forget to tell each other that they love each other. Considering that’s what got them till there in the first place, it’s kind of important that it be mentioned.
Like a mantra, it’s something that can keep things alive. I don’t mean to suggest that you should repeat it until its meaning goes away, but at the end of the day, tell your man that they are loved. It will act as a reminder for both of you.
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2. Confidence is a turn-on
Someone who is knowledgeable about the world, has opinions about the world and isn’t afraid to communicate them is one of the most charming things one can be. If you’re a woman like that who is interested in what’s happening and isn’t afraid to opine, your confidence is a huge turn-on for most men. Most men love to see their partners talk passionately about things. And those who are orthodox and condescending in such scenarios deserve no place in the society and in your relationship.
3. Thelma and Louise
Thelma and Louise is a story about two women who commit crimes and in the end go out together instead of getting caught by the cops. I’m not asking you to drive off a cliff together, but the idea that you’ll have his back is something that is so important to men I’m surprised it’s not well known yet. The feeling that you’ll ride into battle with him if that is what it requires, that you’re someone he could build an empire with, is something that’ll make him want to spend the rest of his time with you.
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4. How are the kids?
This one applies to both genders and people who want to have kids in the future. How you are around kids, how fast do they take a liking to you is a litmus test most people in a relationship want the results of. Many people will get the ‘this one’s a keeper’ kind of feeling towards their partners if they are charming with kids, so unless you are someone who doesn’t see yourself having children, you might want to work on this. If you’re already great with kids, then you’re already winning in this particular field.
5. Emotional capacity
Men are not logical beings who don’t understand emotions. That is a myth. They are, however, culturally conditioned to display fewer emotions than women. They are told that showing your emotions is a weakness. Toxic masculinity is a horrible thing and this is just one of the things that it teaches men. What does that have to do with the question at hand you may ask. Well, because of their fear of emotions, their ability to understand and respect them too is skewed and therefore if you’re under the impression that an emotional soliloquy is going to make them see the light, you might have to wait for a long time.
If you are someone who is extremely emotionally expressive, you need to gauge if your partner can understand it or not. Otherwise, you’ll only find frustration and miscommunication at your hand. It may take time, but if you try to speak his language or get him to speak yours, you might have the best of communication with each other and that is the foundation of a lasting relationship.
Related reading: I love my husband, I also want to continue the affair….
6. Snack time
Bring him his favourite snack or cook him his favourite meal. Men love it when you remember their favourite food. People in general love it. You could do the same to all your close ones. Also, just stock up on his favourite things if you’re living apart. When he visits and sees those things, it’s not just a thing he likes that he gets. He also sees that you noticed and cared enough to buy it for him. He may not say it out loud every time, because expressing your emotions is lame (toxic masculinity is a pain in the arse!) But he will notice it.
7. Praise him in front of your friends
One of the ways of showing him that you’ve got his back is to praise him in front of your friends. Meeting your partner’s friends can be scary and if you praise him in front of them, you can let them know indirectly that you’re in their corner while the rest are scrutinising you.
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8. Defend him
Speaking of being in their corner, if you see their friends or parents casually dismissing them or saying something snarky, defend them in front of everyone. You don’t have to have a knock down fistfight, but even disagreeing with someone can be a statement in such a case. You having your man’s back is something that is important for them.
9. Accept the adopted family
If you and your man decide to make things official, and I don’t mean announcing on Facebook that you’re in a relationship, I mean getting married or moving in, then you might have to make peace with his friends’ circle. If he sees you trying to separate him from his friends, he’s going to react badly and it’ll always be a point of contention. You don’t have to spend your time with them all the time, but you have to make peace with the fact that they will be around. If you actually manage to befriend them, then this won’t be a problem, but otherwise both partners need to adjust to each other’s groups.
Most things mentioned here aren’t gender specific. People might fall in mysterious ways, as the song says, but the gendered experience isn’t always poles apart. The way they might express their emotions usually changes according to societal conditioning, but the basics of love are common. Mutual respect, having each other’s back and honesty will make anyone stay in a relationship and be madly in love.