I love fairy tales, and I think we can all agree that true love and a perfect relationship sound amazing in theory, but that they don’t really work in reality. Here are eight down to earth tips to keep your relationship going strong long after the honeymoon stage is over. Your partner is probably not your soul mate ● Whether you believe in true love or not (and of course I do), the chances of you meeting and settling down with that person are pretty slim. Now that’s not to say that the one you’re with is wrong just because they might not be The One, far from it! Spending your life searching for that one person can mean missing out on someone wonderful just because they aren’t your perfect 10. Likewise, don’t try to mold your mate to fit your image of perfection, accept their flaws as well as their strengths. The words ‘you’ve changed’ needn’t be negative ● As we learn and grow and experience different things we change, it’s inevitable and it’s wonderful. Accept that you change, that your partner changes, and that it’s okay. Love further down the line is very different ● This one’s a bit complicated, but really valuable for a strong, healthy relationship that stands the test of time. When you’re with someone for a long time, after a while you can start to lose that special spark you had when the relationship was new. Most couples think it’s something wrong, but in it’s just the nature of relationships. Intimacy ebbs and flows like the ocean, sometimes it’s high tide, sometimes low, and it just takes a little work (and open communication) to keep things healthy. Don’t air your dirty laundry in public ● It may sound obvious but with social media it’s become a lot easier to unintentionally hurt your partner. That goofy mistake your sweety made may be funny between the two of you, but that doesn’t make it twitter worthy. Always intend to say what you mean – and always expect your partner to do the opposite ● It sounds harsh I know, but trust me when I say you will both be happier if you’re thinking this way. Always do your best to express yourself clearly and completely, and then always do your best to infer what tiny signals your partner is giving you (tone and body language say so much more than words ever could). Don’t keep score ● Maybe you’ve made dinner AND done the dishes AND taken out the trash all week but you still aren’t getting your way. Tough. Sometimes one person in a relationship will need the support of the other. Maybe she’s having a bad week at work, maybe he’s feeling under the weather, whatever the reason sometimes one of you will need to step in a do a bit more to care for the other. That’s not to say you need to be a doormat, but love is a balancing act and sometimes the scales are a little more tipped. Compromise, but be true to who you are ● Speaking of being a doormat, there is that danger in a relationship especially when one of you in an introvert and the other an extrovert or have a similar personality dynamic. But if you’re feeling the relationship slip into an unhealthy balance where one of you takes up all the space in the room, be sure to talk to your partner so they know how you’re feeling and have the opportunity to make space for you. The last thing you want is a solid relationship that got that way because one person stopped chipping at the rock. Have the argument in your head ● Tensions are running high and you’re ready to bite your partner’s head off. Now the time to step back and give yourself a time out to think about what you’re upset about and how you want to address it. Having a little internal argument will help you figure out what’s really going on with you, and what’s really important versus what can be left out. And a last note about that, if it happened months ago and you’re just bring it up now, think long and hard about whether you really need to be bringing it up.