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12 MIN READ TIME

The last word on… Creating a love that lasts

Self-help gurus and agony aunts are obsessed with two aspects of relationships: how to get one if you’re single, and how to cope if yours is in crisis. But when you’re nagged by the sense that your ‘perfectly good’ relationship could be far better, neither is much use. We assume that if we find our soulmate, endless romance will follow, or that ‘perfectly good’ is as much as anyone has the right to expect. But truly getting to know someone, long after you’ve paired up or had kids, can be far more exciting than dating. It just takes dierent skills.

Abandon the ‘romantic ideal’. As a culture, argues philosopher Alain de Botton, we’re fixated on the idea that the perfect spouse should share all our tastes, and make life easy. But that never happens. The best kind of partner is a source of healthy challenge, even (respectful) conflict, who pushes you to grow and confront parts of yourself you’d sooner ignore.

Treat your relationship as part of a web.

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About Psychologies

What happens when you don’t like what you see in the world? Our dossier gives you the low-down on what you can do to step up and make the world a better place - be it making small changes in your community to founding a charity that will make a massive impact on the world. We also invite you to lighten up and have some fun this month. Katy Regan signs up to a comedy improvisation workshop – with surprising results. Suzy Bashford channels her inner punk and delights in swearing more and caring less what other people think. Still in need of some laughs? Meet Emma Stroud, Psychologies ‘clown in residence’, who must be the first person to conduct a TED talk dressed as a banana. It’s going to be an interesting month!

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