Viktorija Bradauskė, who is actively followed on social media, speaks openly about a topic that is crucially important to all of us - the psychology of love and relationship. There is one practice that helps letting of all the grudges.
There are plenty examples of ideal relationships on the Internet, in films and TV shows, but real life is often a bit more complicated. Although relationships are supposed to feel like constant work, if you learn to understand your partner and discover certain practices that are good for both of you, harmonious and close relationship with your better half is a realistic and achievable goal.
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Bradauskė, a young woman currently working on her MA thesis in law and who has recently started a family of her own, kindly agreed to talk about some of the important issues in relationship psychology. If you have problems with your partner, want to spice up your relationship, or maybe you do not have a partner and do not know how to start up friendships, you will find some tips here!
Could you name 5 most important things in a relationship for it to be harmonious and sustainable?
The foundation of a strong relationship with another person is a healthy relationship with yourself. Firstly, a person should get to know his/her own personality: analyse possible psychological traumas, internal grievances and get to know himself/herself as well as possible. The second thing is understanding that mutual respect between partners must be maintained no matter what. Also, future plans, values and attitudes towards the essentials in life should be as compatible as possible. Otherwise, there will be many disagreements. One more thing – it is crucially important to understand that we are all very different. We come from different families, have different habits and needs, so it takes time to find the right instructions how to deal with each other, and the aim should be to get to know each other and establish appropriate communication, not to change the other person. And finally, being able to talk properly, meaning to talk without being offensive, without "attacking", in the first person and about one’s feelings.
It is a popular saying that healthy romantic relationship is impossible without some arguing and disagreeing. In your opinion, what are the key elements for easy resolving couple’s conflicts?
I find it helpful telling myself during a conflict that we are not against each other at the moment, but that we are together against the problem. We are a team and our goal is not to prove something to each other, but we aim at expressing ourselves properly, listening and hearing our partner, understanding each other (meaning to understand the motives behind the behaviour of my person) and finding the best solution. Alongside all this, there must always be mutual respect. It is also very important to be patient and respect each other’s character qualities. For example, if your partner is quite impulsive, it is not wise pushing him/her to talk here and now, it is better giving him/her a little time and having discussion after things have calmed down a bit.
Often in the relationship romance and passion tend to fade away, partners become estranged from each other. How to revive the connection and spice up the relationship – so to say, how to make two people to fall in love again?
The saying that love relationship is supposed to feel like a constant work is not out of thin air and the word love should be treated not as a concept but as a process, as a verb. If you feel that something is not right, you will not solve the problem only by talking, active actions are required immediately.
I would start with some quality time together outside your everyday environment. This could be a SPA break, a trip or some new activity. There is also a practice that helps to some kind or restart - to let go all the grudges and turn the new page of the relationship. Just stand with your back to each other and tell your partner everything you are grateful for (for making you feel loved, for knowing how to make you laugh, for being there for you, for being supportive...) and everything you would like to apologise for (this can be abstract things: lack of patience, impulsiveness). We must only speak from ourselves and about ourselves. Just to show gratitude and apologise for all our mistakes, because we all do mistakes. At the end, we should openly admit how dear and important this person is for you.
Please share some ideas for a great date or just for quality time together.
On my Instagram account I have a special highlight for "date" and "activities", there you could find a lot of different activity ideas, tasks and practices. I think that any couple would find there something that would be perfect for them. For example, my husband and I like relaxing activities, such as spa, various outdoor activities, nature. When in the mode for relaxation, we like discussing our future plans. Also, sometimes we make dinner together, go to the movies, enjoy our photo albums.
Imagine a situation: a couple has been in a relationship for some time, they have forged a close bond, but are hesitant about when it would be a right time to move forward and start a family. What questions should be asked in order to know that your other half is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with?
It is worth asking yourself, are your feelings for your partner stable. If the love in the face of disagreement disappears, or starts fading after not communicating for some time, it is not the true love you are looking for. It is also important to ask yourself whether I know my expectations for the partner in a family life and whether I know what he expects from me, what he or she thinks my role in the relationship should be. And then, of course, worth considering whether I would be able to fulfil that role and whether our understanding of our relationship model matches up. Discuss your future plans: whether you both want children, how you see yourselves in 10 years’ time, etc. Make sure that your core values and approach to life are the same.
One more very important question to ask oneself: if my partner does not change a personal trait that I do not like at the moment, will I be ready to accept it and live with it, or will it always bother me and I will try to change it? Because the idea that after the marriage the person would change does not fit here.
When you are in a happy relationship, sometimes you naturally want to surprise your partner, even without any particular occasion. How can you surprise both girlfriend and boyfriend without spending too much?
Usually, it is enough just to listen carefully to what your partner says or remember times when your loved one was really happy – what made him or her so happy? What is the girl or the guy talking about lately? Maybe it’s about being bored with doing chores, or having a backache from long sitting hours, maybe misses his or her family? Sometimes the only thing you have to do is listen, and you will arrive at the answer.
What to say on a first date? What questions to ask in order to enter into interesting and quality discussion?
Questions should be open-ended, meaning they should not be answered with a "yes" or "no". For example, instead of "Do you like POP music?" it is better to ask "What kind of music do you like?". And the best suitable topics could be: your occupation – what do you do in life. Please tell how you decided to choose this particular path and what in it fascinates you the most. Hobbies are also a perfect topic for a conversation, talking about the activities you love brings lightness and makes your eyes shine, which is very important. Your dreams and goals – this topic allow you to reveal your attitudes and values. Also, travel: you could talk about your most memorable trip or which country you still dream of visiting. Favourite dishes – you might find something in common and decide to order or cook it next time, or maybe bring it as a surprise.
How to learn to open up to each other more easily? Do you have any tips for those who want to engage in deeper conversations, but find it difficult?
In the past, it was difficult for me to open up myself, I felt extremely vulnerable. It only started to get better when I had a more stable foundation under my feet, i.e. I got to know myself better and gained more confidence. I did this by stepping out of my comfort zone more often and discovering an area that I was interested in and gathered some knowledge. For those who do not know where to start a more open conversation, or who might be shy, I would highly recommend to try the Couples Cards. The cards offer a more relaxed format for a conversation, but at the same time provides an opportunity to discuss interesting life issues