Nate Bagley was a guy who was sick of love stories. More often than not, he would hear of relationships that were like fairy tales… or ones that ended in a fireball of despair. He wanted to know the truth, not dramatizations. So, he decided to take a big step and figure out this “love” thing. He quit his job and traveled the United States, looking for answers about love.
He described his incredible journey across the country in a Reddit AMA (which stands for “ask me anything”). He interviewed over 100 couples, collecting some of the most interesting data on relationships we have ever come across. Not only did he approach people from all backgrounds, but he also asked questions about all kinds of relationships.
“I was not prepared for the world that I was about to discover, or amazing stories I was about to be exposed to.
“I’ve interviewed gay couples, straight couples, rich couples, poor couples, religious couples, atheist couples, couples who have been together for a short time, and couples who have been together for over 70 years. I’ve even interviewed couples in arranged marriages and polygamous couples.”
Nate was able to complete his journey with the help of a Kickstarter. Now, he is hoping to put his interviews together in a documentary called The Lovumentary. A part of this potential documentary highlights the universal characteristics he found in the happy relationships:
The happiest couples always consisted of two (sometimes more) emotionally healthy and independently happy individuals. These people practiced self-love. They treated themselves with the same type of care that they treated their partner… or at least they tried to.
Emotionally healthy people know how to forgive, they are able to acknowledge their part in any disagreement or conflict and take responsibility for it. They are self-aware enough to be assertive, to pull their weight, and to give love when it’s most difficult.
After that emotional health came an unquestioning level of commitment. The happiest couples knew that if shit got real, their significant other wasn’t going to walk out on them. They knew that even if things got hard – no, especially if things got hard – they were better off together. The sum of the parts is greater than the whole.
Happy couples trust each other… and they have earned each others’ trust. They don’t worry about the other person trying to undermine them or sabotage them, because they’ve proven over and over again that they are each other’s biggest advocate. That trust is built through actions, not words. It’s day after day after day of fidelity, service, emotional security, reliability.
Establish that foundation, and you’re in good shape.
This is the icing on the cake. There’s a difference between the couple who drives through the rainstorm and the couple who pulls their car to the side of the road to make out in the rain. (Yes, that’s a true story.) There’s a difference between the couple who kisses for 10 seconds or longer when they say goodbye to each other rather than just giving each other a peck… or nothing at all. There’s a difference between the couples who encourage each other to pursue their personal goals at the expense of their own discomfort or inconvenience… even if it means their partner has to stage kiss another woman.
The couples who try on a daily basis to experience some sort of meaningful connection, or create a fun memory are the couples who shattered my perception of what was possible in a loving relationship.
Keeping your relationship a happy and mutually beneficial exchange can be hard. Sometimes, we are burdened by how many choices there are out there. However, the truth that Nate discovered is this: true love is out there and it’s real. Relationships can last. To learn more about Nate or his Lovumentary, visit his Twitter or Facebook page.
Source: Nate Bagley
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