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5 Relationship Experts Share Their Best Advice

Counselors share their best advice for couples.


By Julie Pennell, The Nest

Sometimes it takes consulting a person outside of your relationship to gain some perspective.

While no two relationships should be compared, it's true that certain principles can improve romantic relationships across the board (open communication, we're looking at you). That's why we spoke with five relationship experts who work in the counseling field and asked them for their most universal pieces of relationship advice. Below, we share their responses and suggestions—ones they often stress to their own clients—so you can implement them in your relationship, too.
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“Know that understanding your partner and agreeing with them are two different things. It's important to have good will and high regard for what the other person is saying, even if you don't see eye to eye, otherwise you'll lose thoughtfulness and chances to learn in the relationship. Understanding allows two people to honor each other's strength and vulnerability without either person needing to say 'I am wrong.' Implement it from the time your relationship begins, so you're not hardwired to do the opposite."

Laura L. Young, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

“People often say they're good communicators, but don't actually listen, so it's important to make sure you don't shy away from difficult conversations. Oftentimes, when we shy away, we assume we know what our partners is thinking. Make sure you consistently check in and make sure both people are satisfied with the relationship. I suggest a checkup every year to go over the top 10 things each partner finds most important in a relationship."

Rachel Sussman, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Marriage & Family Therapist

“Be honest with yourself about relationship expectations. We all have expectations or know they exist, but not everyone is prepared to meet them when the time comes in a relationship. It's also important to know the difference between your own expectations of the other person and who that person truly is. If you don't, you could end up stuck with a less-than-ideal relationship. The goal is to see less of the mask of what you expect will come in the future and to see more of who your partner really is."
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Jason Wheeler, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist

“People often neglect the friendship aspect of a romantic relationship, so it's important to ask yourself 'Is this how I would talk to a friend? Is this how I would treat a friend? when interacting with your partner. For example, when couples get into arguments, they feel if they get their way, everything will be resolved. But it's more about taking responsibility for yourself and getting to the bottom of why something bothers you and may have caused the argument in the first place. That's where compromise is important."

Andrea Cornell, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

“People talk a lot about the importance of communication in relationships—and communication certainly is important—but I find that issues with respect and kindness often belie or co-exist with this. I tell the people I work with that respect and kindness are often two really good guiding principles to hold in front of them to light the way as we work together, and as they continue to relate to one another. It sounds so simple. It is that simple—and that complex."
Margaret M. Rombone, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist

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Love Magazine: 5 Relationship Experts Share Their Best Advice
5 Relationship Experts Share Their Best Advice
Counselors share their best advice for couples.
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