It happens to the best of us. You can be madly in love. Like, we’re talking head over heels here. But no one is immune to causing the ‘oh that hurt’ face in another person.

It doesn’t mean you love them any less, or that they are any less your Person. Necessarily. I mean, as always, take my advice with a pinch of salt and an appreciation for the sensitivities of the situation. 

But yes, you might find yourself sat in the corner of the playroom wondering if it’s meant to hurt this much when the person you love has inadvertently hurt you. It happens. And you need to learn the golden rule about relationships in order to get through it. 

As concerns relationship advice, there are only two ports of call when someone comes to me with a failing relationship.

The first option: communicate!

Talk to them and tell the person in the relationship what’s wrong and what you expect of them. If not, the only other response is to break up. It sounds harsh and unfortunate, but if you don’t trust your partner to move forward with, you’re just treading water. If the relationship isn’t going anywhere, there’s no point wasting time, money and effort, not least of all, the emotional trauma – if the relationship isn’t going to get out of second gear. 

Therefore, you owe it to each other to support each other through this process. It might be tough and awkward or strange to talk about, but it’s worth the emotional payoff in the end. As long as you can both establish that you’re on the same page in the relationship, and in your expectations of others, that’s what’s key. That’s the essential lesson to learn from this article: communicate, and do so effectively. 

Now is not the time to suffer in silence.

Don’t ignore the problems mounting on all sides.

You have to recognise when you’re suffering, and realise that you deserve better than you are likely getting at the moment. As such, we have to problem solve. We need to look at the problem objectively, but also with our own interests at heart. I know better than most that we spend too much time stuck inside our own head and with our own perspective – sometimes we need to step back and have someone tell us which was is up. You’d be surprised by how easy it is to get turned around. 

Therefore, if your needs aren’t being met, or you feel hurt, neglected or uncertain in a relationship, you have to think about why. Unpack those feelings and check them in as you recognise them – anger, sadness, frustration, confusion. Where are they coming from? Can you do anything about them on your end? How long have you felt that way?

Are you insecure about your legs?

Does your partner know that? Does that stop them poking good natured fun at them every now and then? If the answer to any of that is ‘no’, then it’s well worth a conversation with your partner to clarify this. While it may be in poor taste on their end, it’s easily remedied if you communicate that the jokes aren’t quite landing or if it’s making you uncomfortable. There’s nothing wrong with that. Honestly, there isn’t.

They might be a little embarrassed or put out that they didn’t realise your pressure points earlier, but in the long run it’s only good news. Not only will you now know each other that bit more intimately, but you will also be able to spot when the other one is hurting a little easier. 

I understand the reluctance to have this conversation, I do – truly.

No one wants to be told they’ve upset another person.

However, that person doesn’t get to decide that they didn’t. Moreover, much as we like to imagine and delude ourselves that our relationships are all perfect, they’re not. They can’t be, otherwise we’d be mindless robots and would never have any fun. We need to be surprised to make it through this life! Therefore, it really is worth facing up to the limitations of your relationship because that’s the only way you’ll fix them. By being honest with yourself and your partner!

I know as much as the next person that it’s hard to love yourself, and know that you are worth being loved. In fact, we’re so conditioned to view ourselves critically and perceive that we are lucky if anyone loves us. We sometimes look for ‘the one’ in people that aren’t good enough for us, just because we fear that they might be the ‘only one’. That’s not so.

As such, you need to feel comfortable and confident and in sufficient control in a relationship in order to make requests. I don’t mean that you need to suddenly demand to have everything your own way and never feel heartache again – that just comes with the territory. What I’m saying is that you need to look after yourself. Just because they are your favourite person, doesn’t mean that they can’t still hurt you.

No one is a mind reader, but we can help. 

Once we feel more known and seen in a relationship, we give ourselves permission to be imperfect. And make mistakes and be goofy and move on with our lives. Now that we know our partners don’t like it when we don’t text them all day, or when we laugh at their chubby cheeks or poke their feet out of order, we adjust. 

It may be a bitter pill to swallow, and it may stick a little as it goes down, but do you know what? You’re better for it. In the long run, you have been the bigger person, swallowed your pride, realised your mistake, and not made a fuss.

The key here is to accept the other person’s feelings, and reassure them that they are valid. So that they can feel comfortable and heard. 

After all, if you can’t be honest with your partner, what are they even there for?