There are six basic truths that you should be aware of if you want to be really happy in love. Having this knowledge will enable you to transform a so-so relationship into something that's deeply satisfying.
Secret #1: Face the truth about each other. You need to see and accept your partner for who they are. If this new clarity means that you discover some things you just can't stand, or if you realize that you've been settling for less than you really need, then there's no point in staying together.
Don't force yourself to tolerate things that are fundamentally unacceptable to you, and don't waste your time trying to make the other person change. If you can't be happy with who your partner is now, you'll never be happy with them.
Your partner also has to see and accept you just as you are. There's no point in presenting a "cleaned up" version of yourself because then they're not loving the real you. You can't feel loved if you're being inauthentic. If, on the other hand, you've shown your true self to your partner and they're not OK with the real you, it means you need to walk away. You never be able to make them accept you.
Secret #2: Your partner isn't responsible for giving your life meaning, and vice versa. Both people should be complete human beings, each with their own work, friends and pastimes. You should complement each other rather than complete each other. Each person should be an individual in their own right.
If you've given up parts of your identity in the relationship because you think it'll make your partner like you more, you're wrong. Your partner chose you for your unique qualities. Losing these special attributes would mean depriving your partner of what they were attracted to in the first place, and will cause you to become frustrated and resentful.
Secret #3: Mutual respect. There's no place in a healthy relationship for contempt, shaming or being dismissive. As soon as any of these attitudes become part of the relationship, it's doomed. Both individuals must value their partner's needs, feelings, thoughts and dreams. Respecting each other builds the love.
Secret #4: Trust one another. There's no real intimacy without profound trust. This trust should be based, however, on both people demonstrating to the other that they're trustworthy. When your partner has shown you that they're honest, reliable and honourable and when they've seen the same in you, real trust can happen. This makes it possible for both of you to be vulnerable and yet safe.
Secret #5: Don't expect the other person to heal your emotional wounds. This means that as wonderful as love is, it isn't the cure for what ails you. It's your responsibility to work on whatever emotional baggage you might be carrying from your childhood or from previous relationships, as opposed to burdening your partner with this expectation. Your lover isn't your therapist or your surrogate parent.
Secret #6: Make your partner happy and they'll do everything they can to make you happy, too. The more love and care you give to them, the more they'll want to give to you.
There's an important exception to this, however. Your partner must be emotionally healthy enough to reciprocate your love and attention. If you've been trying your best to make them happy and they aren't doing the same for you, it means that things will always be one-sided. Walk away so that you're free to be in a good relationship.
A successful romance is mainly a matter of common sense. Be realistic with your partner; stay true to yourselves; maintain your separate identities; be kind and generous and don't burden each-other with inappropriate expectations. When you come together as conscious, responsible adults with lots of love to give, you can't help but create a meaningful and satisfying union.