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The truth about relationships: What couples say they have learned

Brie Gatchalian is a freelance writer based in Montclair, NJ. When she's not writing about fashion and beauty, she researches topics related to relationships and mulls over her own love life. She'll be the first to admit she doesn't hav...

What couples know about love

I sat with a round table of friends the other day - non-single friends, that is - and asked one simple question: What's one thing you learned about relationships? Although I'm in one of these so-called relationships, I still have much to learn. After all, my beau and I have only been together a year or so. Surely, there are lots more to figure out.

Young Couple

While everyone's answers differed in shape and form, one thing's certain: It's a lot of hard work. So what else did I unravel from our relationship-group discussion? Read on …

Going on a "Break" is pointless

"My boyfriend and I went on a break about a year ago – we were in this holding pattern where we'd just fight left and right. We didn't know what else to do, so we decided to part ways to 'have some alone time.' What we quickly realized is that going on a 'break' accomplishes nothing, if not stretch you and your partner further apart. We fought even more because trust and uncertainty became yet another factor in our problems. So now, instead of going on 'breaks,' we talk our problems to tears until we can solve. So far, so good."

The grass is greener on the other side

"When I was single, I wanted to be in a relationship. Now that I'm in a relationship, I sometimes wish I was single. I know what you're thinking – that's not right, but it is. The grass is always greener, as they say. So I choose to stay in my not-so-perfect relationship. Being in a relationship that I moderately want to be in is far better than being single and going on a lot of dates with total duds."

Sometimes Going to Bed Angry is Better

"My rule used to always be, 'Never go to bed angry.' That used to be my rule because I can't fall asleep when I'm super-upset with my boyfriend. How can you relax when someone's made you that mad? Even worse, he's sleeping right next to you, the only other option is to wake him up and unload your thoughts. Well, that hasn't been too effective in our case – sometimes the fights get even bigger than they should be because I was pushing to fix problems as soon as possible. We've since tried 'sleeping on it,' and have come to the conclusion it's a better approach. We wake up calmly and chat about the issues instead of fighting. And sometimes, we just laugh and the problem is solved."

Sex is Underrated

"You know how people always say sex is overrated? I think it's the opposite. Sex is so underrated. It can solve lots of problems, lighten things up, make people feel the warm fuzzies, help you de-stress, etc. If you don't agree with me, just try it out. Next time you and your significant other are having a fight, before you open your mouth to yell or disagree, make love. You'll forget what you were pissed about in the first place – hopefully."

Small Gestures Go a Long Way

"One thing that can really make a relationship is a small gesture. The thoughtfulness adds up. My boyfriend always puts the toilet seat down and it really does make me melt. And on occasion, he'll make me my favorite meal, and I swoon – I really do. Because of those little gestures, whenever he does do something that I'm not entirely happy with, I think, 'but that's okay, he's so sweet most of the time.'"

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