5. Are there deal breakers you're just realizing you have? Are these true deal breakers, like: "He's a cheater," "He's a liar," "He hits me," "He's a gambler," "He's a jobless mooch," "He doesn't want to have children and I do" and "He has an addiction he's not dealing with." If your partner has a real deal breaker, that is a good reason to leave the relationship. However, be aware that sometimes what you think is a deal breaker could be turned into a "deal bender." Some examples: "He stonewalls when he's upset," "He's not physically affectionate enough" and "He's too much of a couch potato." If your issue is a potential "deal bender," be sure to share your concerns.
WARNING: If you don't talk about your fears and needs, you can risk becoming a "negative evidence collector" by continually looking for evidence of your partner being no good, even when there's no good reason for it. Stop having a silent fight with your partner. Start having an open, warm conversation instead.
6. Are you sweating the small stuff so much that you're harming your relationship? Even though I'm telling you to talk openly with your partner, I want you to do this within a moderation zone. Set the following intention: "I will not complain about anything to my partner for the next three days." Would this be a hard intention for you to fulfill? If so, maybe you're looking at your partner through an incredibly negative lens because you're overworked and underexercised. Take a yoga class. Meditate. When you're stressed, moodiness and irritability increase—two love-busters you want to avoid!
7. Women love shoes. If you want to get more shoes as you get more love, put yourself in your partner's shoes more often. You will understand how your partner feels and feel more love for your partner, instead of feeling like he's a big creepy jerk you need to break up with. As Steve Covey so wisely put it: "Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
8. The philosopher Aristotle believed there are three kinds of relationships, and only one brings true happiness. There's a relationship of pleasure quickly summed up as sex-mates not fulfilling in the long run. Then, the relationship of utility where partners use one another for beauty, money or status, which are also not fulfilling for the long haul. The final type is the relationship of shared virtue. You understood each other and you want to help each other grow into your best possible selves. Aristotle deemed these partners soul mates or "soul-nurturing mates." He believed being with someone who helped you grow into your best possible self was not only what long-term happily-ever-after love was all about, but also what a long-term happily-ever-after life was all about. For this reason, you must recognize that it's appropriate for a love relationship to have some challenge within it to help you to grow. Like Jack Nicholson's character in As Good As It Gets said: "You make me want to be a better man." Are you and your partner in a relationship of shared virtue where the challenges can be wonderful growth opportunities? Keep in mind a favorite quote from Leo Buscaglia, who said: "A great deterrent to love is found in anyone who fears change, for...growing, learning, experiencing is change. Change is inevitable."
Karen Salmansohn is a best-selling author known for creating self-help for people who wouldn't be caught dead reading self-help. Get more information on finding a loving happier-ever-after relationship in her book Prince Harming Syndrome.