Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

The Six Things You Need for a Happy, Longterm Relationship

Love 2The Huffington Post ran an article this week called “Are All the Good Men/Women Really Already Taken?”. The authors said, “No, they aren’t!” They argue that many people embrace the idea that the good ones are taken simply because “it protects them from the possibility of the rejection, disappointment, pain or loss that can accompany the quest for love.” I agree, although timing and luck does play a pretty big part in finding the good ones. On your search for a good one – and it only takes one — there are six things you need in order to have a happy, longterm relationship with him or her, the authors say. Yesterday, when this site was down for maintenance, I asked readers on Facebook to guess what those six things were. Here are some of the answers I liked best:

1. “Communication, ability to spend time apart, both people willing to invest in the relationship, someone to share chocolate with, and the same overall goals with the relationship.”

2. “A delicious cheesecake recipe, a willingness to make said cheesecake, a generosity of spirit to share said cheesecake, the foresight to always have the ingredients to make cheesecake on hand, clean forks, and cold milk.”

3. “Income, alcohol, internet, cheese, TV, and king size bed.”

Keep reading to see what the authors of the article say are the six things you need to “create true, lasting and loving partnerships.”

They write:

1. The willingness to risk involvement and emotional engagement.

2. The intention to become the partner of your dreams, rather than just trying to find him or her.

3. The commitment to hang in there without getting discouraged even if you do end up having to kiss a few frogs.

4. The ability to be selective about who you talk and listen to, and pay less attention to your nay-saying friends.

5. A commitment to do your own work to become a more loving, authentic, and trustworthy person.

6. And the patience, trust and faith that make it possible to hang in there and enjoy the ride between now and the time that you get to invalidate this belief!

And I say:

1. A desire to be in a relationship.
2. A willingness to work through your shit.
3. A willingness to accept someone else’s shit.
4. The wisdom to know when to MOA.
5. A life outside of a relationship.
6. Wine.

77 comments… add one
  • Rosie October 2, 2013, 3:06 pm

    Wendy, your 6 are absolutely perfect. Love it.

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  • bethany October 2, 2013, 3:07 pm

    I think all these things are good. Personally, I needed the following things before I was able to have a happy long term relationship (these are geared more towards what you need to have personally, not quailities in a partner or something similar):
    2- Ability to see the big picture
    3- Learn that I’m not always right (working on this daily)
    4- Sense of humor
    5- Realistic outlook on life
    6- Happiness within myself

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    • jlyfsh October 2, 2013, 3:30 pm

      I hate learning that I’m not always right. I wish I could just be right all the time!

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      • bethany October 2, 2013, 3:44 pm

        Me too.

    • kerrycontrary October 2, 2013, 3:59 pm

      Maturity is huge! I think gaining control over ones emotions helps a lot in relationships. I’m sure there are plenty of guys that I dated when I was 19,20,21 that I could date again nowadays and it would be a completely different experience.

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    • Banana October 2, 2013, 4:25 pm

      But I don’t get it. What do I do if I AM always right? Does that mean I only have to focus on the other five? 😉

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      • lets_be_honest October 2, 2013, 5:02 pm

        Yes BANANA. That’s what I do at least.

  • Addie Pray October 2, 2013, 3:19 pm

    You know, I was thinking, there’s another thing that needs to go on the list, and that is a SHAVING RAZOR. I say that because I only tend to use them when I’m in a relationship. Ergo it must be an essential to having a relationship.

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    • Megustalaplaya October 3, 2013, 3:14 pm

      I agree. I love my husband, and we have a great relationship. But I’ll admit, sometimes I want to just veg in my underwear, reading a naught book and eating chocolate. That, or “make” a bowl of cereal for dinner. Or even just go and do whatever, whenever, without checking in or coordinating schedules. But I do love the feeling of smooth legs. 🙂

      Reply Link
      • Megustalaplaya October 3, 2013, 3:16 pm

        Oops, *naughty.

  • GatorGirl October 2, 2013, 3:20 pm

    I didn’t realize what this article was about! I thought it was more like “once you’re in a relationship” but it’s really more about the process of finding a relationship. Interesting.

    Also, I hate king sized beds. Staying in a hotel is soooo weird for us because we usually sleep super close, if not touching in our queen sized bed. That’s the way we like it.

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    • rachel October 2, 2013, 3:24 pm

      Ah, I LOVE king size beds. We both tend to take up a lot of space when we sleep, and toss and turn, so it’s awesome to have the extra room.

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      • GatorGirl October 2, 2013, 3:25 pm

        I think the king v queen debate can be almost as heated as the tv in the bedroom debate.

      • Addie Pray October 2, 2013, 3:27 pm

        I don’t understand why it’s a debate. It’s like debating what’s better: cake or more cake? It’s cake! More is more!

      • GatorGirl October 2, 2013, 3:32 pm

        What if you don’t like cake?

      • Addie Pray October 2, 2013, 3:41 pm

        Then you need a lobotomy!

      • GatorGirl October 2, 2013, 3:43 pm

        Haha. I like ice cream cake…does that count? Regular cake is too sweet for me.

      • GatorGirl October 2, 2013, 4:06 pm

        I just remembered I like carrot cake! With real cream cheese icing. YUM.

      • Addie Pray October 2, 2013, 4:15 pm

        Well then imagine a king size carrot cake… Mmmm!

      • mrmidtwenties October 2, 2013, 3:42 pm

        Cake sucks, seriously, most over rated food ever, and I’m putting my vote in for a double bed.

      • lets_be_honest October 2, 2013, 3:48 pm

        Icing is good though. So long as there is a ratio of 80:20 (80 being the icing), I like cake.

      • Addie Pray October 2, 2013, 3:50 pm

        oh no, i hate icing. once when i was five i got my hands on icing and i squirt the whole damn thing in my mouth and then i threw up everywhere and ever since i can’t eat icing….

      • katie October 2, 2013, 4:01 pm

        I question the cake AND I icing you all eat, and I enter that I could probably find both a cake and an icing that everyone likes.

      • Addie Pray October 2, 2013, 4:19 pm

        my throw up was canary yellow – it was so weird

      • katie October 2, 2013, 4:46 pm


        thats how you know its bad cake

      • Addie Pray October 2, 2013, 5:50 pm

        i’m not gonna lie it happened more than once, i think there was kelly green puke once too. you know those big tubes of frosting you can by at the grocery store? i kept eating those. and then i dunno something hit me, like all of a sudden, i didn’t want to puke anymore and i could stomach any frosting. i went cold turkey. to this day i don’t touch much of it. if i do i need a LOT of cake. the frosting-cake ration needs to be like 1 part frosting and 20 parts cake on the fork

      • Addie Pray October 2, 2013, 5:56 pm

        (i can picture my parents arguing about it

        – take the frosting away from her
        – no way, this is fun to watch
        – she’s going to make herself sick
        – it’ll teach her a lesson
        – this is cruel
        – but look it worked!

      • katie October 2, 2013, 6:28 pm

        oh god those are the WORST. i know what goes in them. its not yummy.

        one of these days ill bring you cupcakes or something with italian meringue buttercream- my personal favorite.

      • HmC October 2, 2013, 6:32 pm

      • Addie Pray October 2, 2013, 6:42 pm

        haha cute!

        confession: i don’t really like cake that much either.

      • rachel October 2, 2013, 3:29 pm

        I dunno, if you have a king size bed, but don’t need the extra room, you can just snuggly-sleep in the middle. Similarly, if you have a tv in the bedroom you can always choose to turn it off. See, no need for debate!

      • othy October 2, 2013, 3:31 pm

        No, TV’s don’t belong in the bedroom. It totally kills the mood. If I could ban smart phones from the bedroom, I’d be much happier. But, try convincing Mr. Othy of that.

      • rachel October 2, 2013, 3:46 pm

        Well, I don’t even own a tv right now, so clearly I’m not gonna argue.

      • rachel October 2, 2013, 4:07 pm

        That sounded snotty, but I just mean I don’t have a dog in the fight. I was just playing…well, the opposite of devil’s advocate?

      • GatorGirl October 2, 2013, 3:32 pm

        Haha, I feel completely opposite (not surprisingly). King sized beds make us sleep far apart from each other, even if we try to stay in the middle. So it’s like a divider for us. And no tv in the bedroom was one of my prewedding stipulations.

      • Addie Pray October 2, 2013, 3:42 pm

        *or* maybe it’s your husband taking advantage of the king size bed to get some space? dun dun dun.

        [i’m kidding, you snuggle bunnies]

      • Addie Pray October 2, 2013, 3:45 pm

        i’m kidding, you snuggle bunnies! <— I had written that in brackets and it got removed from my post!

      • GatorGirl October 2, 2013, 3:46 pm


      • Addie Pray October 2, 2013, 3:48 pm

        i did watch! [test test]

      • Addie Pray October 2, 2013, 3:49 pm


        point is, maybe your snuggle bunny needs some space!

      • Addie Pray October 2, 2013, 3:51 pm

        gonna do another test with the word test in parenthesis

        (test test)

      • Addie Pray October 2, 2013, 3:51 pm

        well fuck. i give up. fine, i’m not kidding!

      • bethany October 2, 2013, 3:31 pm

        I love a king, too. I want to be as far away from Dave as possible while sleeping. I need to be able to more freely.

      • applescruffs October 2, 2013, 6:40 pm

        I like a king sized bed when I’m solo. Which I am always. I don’t fully understand how to integrate another person into said king sized bed…which is perhaps why I remain single.

    • lets_be_honest October 2, 2013, 3:33 pm

      I don’t mind falling asleep close, but once I’m sleeping, I don’t want someone all up in my ass. We never make it a whole night in bed together anyone though, so I guess I would be fine in a queen.

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    • Fabelle October 2, 2013, 3:39 pm

      Yeah, I have a twin bed at my house & my boyfriend sleeps on a futon at his (& when I sleep over, we don’t even open it…) so we basically have NO clue what to do in a king-size bed. We always wind up piled onto one side, sharing a pillow. haha

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      • Christy October 2, 2013, 3:42 pm

        Fab, that’s adorable.

      • Lyra October 2, 2013, 5:05 pm

        I have a twin too. If I had the money I would have a full, but I love snuggling close, especially in the winter. Here’s hoping I have a guy to snuggle up to! 🙂

    • Katie October 2, 2013, 3:54 pm

      Haha, when we went from a queen to a long it was like “hello over there! How’s the weather?” Haha. But now it’s just like a regular bed. But I do like the king better, it’s like the best of both worlds- you still can snuggle if you want, and *usually* there aren’t any arguments over space.

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    • rachel October 2, 2013, 3:56 pm

      Actually I only have a full size right now and it kind of sucks to have so little space when Ross is here. We used to have 2 full size beds next to each other at our old place, which was amazing, haha.

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    • AliceInDairyland October 2, 2013, 3:28 pm

      Ahhmygawd, I want a king sized bed. I am almost 6′ and Benjamin is 6’4″… soo… we have a lot of limbs. It was so nice to not be tangled up in one another and still able to stretch out.

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      • MaterialsGirl October 2, 2013, 4:14 pm

        kings are a must have for tall people. all you shorties can have your queens

    • JK October 2, 2013, 5:05 pm

      A king is an absolute must in our house, Arturo is really tall, and also a lot of nights we end up with at least one of the girls with us. They are also both really tall, and move around like crazy when they sleep.

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      • JK October 2, 2013, 5:09 pm

        Also, because I haven´t made a good friends reference in a while, this debate totally reminded me of this:

      • rachel October 2, 2013, 5:36 pm

        Bahaha, I thought of the same thing. I missed you jk.

      • JK October 2, 2013, 6:50 pm

        Awww 🙂

      • jlyfsh October 2, 2013, 6:03 pm

        moving around! yes, i’m much better than when i was younger, but it’s still pretty bad. even up until high school i would end up sleeping the opposite way i started, feet towards the head of the bed, etc almost every night. even now i tend to sleep diagonally, which works on a king sized bed since i’m only 5’4″ so I can fit basically just on my side without getting too far on to M’s side.

      • JK October 2, 2013, 6:52 pm

        Yes! Whenever they sleep with us Arturo usually ends up going to another bed, it´s insane how they turn around! Lately they´ve been sleeping hugging each other, which of course is the cutest thing ever.

    • CatsMeow October 2, 2013, 7:21 pm

      WHAAAAT, I have a California king all to myself. I feel trapped in anything smaller.

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      • McLovin October 3, 2013, 2:51 am

        Completely agree. More is always better when it comes to sleeping real estate.

        I always start out with the mindset that cuddling is the awesomest way to fall sleep, but, the reality is……I just wanna effing unfold myself without being all wrapped up like a friggin gordita.

        Same thing with waking up, I need space. I need to stretch every muscle in my body before I’m ok with any contact. Rumor has it that I once declined a morning beej – while still asleep – by saying “there’s no way that you can wash all those windows in 10 minutes.”

  • jlyfsh October 2, 2013, 3:29 pm

    Change wine to wine + king sized bed and your list is perfect! Because yeah, sleep is important! And if you start to add in extras like two 60 pound dogs your kind sized bed becomes very small. It’s amazing the ability of a 60 pound dog to take up the same amount of room as the average sized adult.

    Although a lot might be forgiven for the perfect cheesecake but hold the milk and change it to wine. (Does anyone else hate milk?)

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  • Leslie October 2, 2013, 3:32 pm

    I’m working on 5 now. After being in a relationship for 2 years and living together for a little more than 1 year, it’s become crucial, now more than ever, to have a life outside of each other. It gives us something to talk about when we are together and helps both of us grow in ways we couldn’t do together. Living with a partner has been one of the most difficult adjustments I’ve ever been through and it’s taught me a lot.

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  • mrmidtwenties October 2, 2013, 3:35 pm

    Shit, no wonder I’m single. I thought the list of six things was:
    1. watch 90’s wrestling for no less than 2 hours a week
    2. get really drunk at sporting events and talk to the kids sitting next to you about how their parents always shop at your store.
    3. Prepare for the zombie apocalypse, advertise said preparations
    4. Be a fan of two really bad sports teams
    5. Alternate being really healthy one week, with being disgustingly unhealthy the next week
    6. making really sarcastic lists.

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    • GatorGirl October 2, 2013, 3:36 pm

      You’d win me over with 2-6! That’s pretty much my life!

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      • mrmidtwenties October 2, 2013, 3:40 pm

        Damn flames and steelers are making the part of my life that is supposed to be fun, miserable.

      • GatorGirl October 2, 2013, 3:45 pm

        Did you know there is a minor league hockey team in Orlando called the Solar Bears??!! I neeeeed some apparel and to go to one of their games asap.

      • veritek33 October 3, 2013, 9:23 am

        mrmidtwenties, as a fellow Steelers fan, I am feeling your pain so hard right now.

    • lets_be_honest October 2, 2013, 3:54 pm

      90’s wrestling for the win!

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      • mrmidtwenties October 2, 2013, 3:59 pm

        Yes to someone else enjoying 90’s wrestling and to Orlando’s solar bears, how badass would it be if there was such a thing as a solar bear? I picture them as polar bears that can live on the sun, but then come to earth to take over. My imagination is extreme.

      • GatorGirl October 2, 2013, 4:06 pm

        The logo is super badass. I’m smitten.


    • othy October 2, 2013, 4:21 pm

      I’ve got a problem with #3. If I’m going to prepare for the zombie apocalypse, I’m not going to advertise for it. I don’t want everyone to know they can come to my house for supplies.

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      • Banana October 2, 2013, 4:28 pm

        Don’t worry, they’re probably just coming to your house to eat you.

      • mrmidtwenties October 2, 2013, 4:33 pm

        we’ll just say my plan involves a dump truck with a battering ram on it and the dumper part is filled with motorcycles.

  • Banana October 2, 2013, 4:33 pm

    Yeah, I think maybe the most quality you need to be in a successful relationship is not to tie up your entire idea of self-worth and your entire identity in that relationship (or being in a relationship in general).

    I say “entire,” because I do think it’s inevitable that some of your self-worth and identity will get wrapped up in the relationship. And that’s not necessarily bad. I peg at least a bit of my self-worth on my performance as a girlfriend: that I’m kind to my boyfriend, do nice things for him, etc, and that practice makes me a better person overall. And my identity has inevitably become partially woven into what we are together. But I still have big parts of myself that belong only to me — I chose to share them, but they’re mine, and they give me the stability and independence to be a good partner and do things that fulfill me, too.

    Gah, inarticulate? It’s been a long day

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  • Lyra October 2, 2013, 6:57 pm

    For me three big things for creating and maintaining successful relationships are respect, responsibility, and maturity. If you don’t have those things as a foundation, the relationship really can’t grow very much. There will be some kind of resentment or regret later on.

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  • landygirl October 2, 2013, 10:32 pm

    We have a king sized bed. The dog hogs most of it.

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  • SasLinna October 3, 2013, 8:01 am

    1. Enough self-knowledge to know what you need/desire in a relationship and what you’re able and willing to do for a partner.
    2. The ability to speak up about your needs and desires and to really listen to your partner when s/he tells you about theirs.
    3. Enough maturity to not sabotage your longterm goals for shortterm satisfaction.
    4. The ability to keep yourself happy and balanced (most of the time).
    5. The ability to keep things in perspective: Having fun in spite of difficulties.
    6. The ability to make a leap of faith and be vulnerable, in spite of the dangers.

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