Relationships are complicated. There’s no other word to describe it. It’s not always rainbows and butterflies and those who say it is are lying. Besides, the good things in life don’t always come easy and we’ve got to work hard in order to achieve what we want.

Whether you’re in a relationship, looking for a relationship, have never been in a relationship, or are single pringles, keep this in mind for future references.

There are three main pillars of a relationship: trust, communication, and intimacy.

… Okay, yes, there is more to a relationship than just these three things, but work with me here, people.

First, trust. What is trust?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary: trust — assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something

When it comes to a relationship, everything revolves around trust. If you can’t trust your significant other, why are you dating them? If you constantly have to question their motives and whether or not they’re doing something to contradict your relationship, why are you dating them?

These are the types of questions that you really have to think about. You have to trust in the other person and know and believe that they won’t put themselves in a situation that would jeopardize your relationship. Think about it like this. If they are the type of person that throws around your trust and takes it for granted, chances are, they’re not the one for you.

But with that being said, it goes both ways. The people in the relationship have to ensure that they don’t do anything that would potentially break the trust. At the same time, the people in the relationship have to be willing to put faith in their partner. Believing that your partner doesn’t trust you is never a good feeling.

The other day, a close friend of mine asked me how I would feel if my boyfriend hung out alone with another girl.

My honest answer was that I don’t care. Don’t get me wrong. Me saying that does NOT equate to the idea that I don’t value our relationship or that I’m tossing it around as if it’s nothing. My reason for saying “I don’t care” is simple.

It would be extremely unfair of me to expect him to drop every female friend of his just because he’s dating me. Similarly, it would be extremely unfair of me to expect him not to hang out with someone of the opposite gender. In the same way that I expect him to trust me, I trust him. I trust in our relationship. I also trust and expect him to leave any situation that would endanger our relationship.

I believe that he’s his own person and he’s an adult. He doesn’t need someone making decisions for him, especially when it comes to the people he hangs out with. Lastly, I also trust that he is wise in terms of picking out who his friends are.

Second, communication.

Communication — a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior

This doesn’t even apply to JUST relationships. If you can’t communicate with someone (or a group of people), whether it’s your friends, family, significant other, acquaintances, teachers, etc., you can’t expect anything to get done.

Communication is such a vital part of life and we truly need to employ the usage of it.

If something is bothering you, communicate. Voice out (in a calm manner) what’s bothering you and why it’s bothering you. If you want extra points, voice out what the other person can do to address these feelings and try to come to a compromise (after all, life doesn’t revolve around just us).

If something is bothering you and you choose to keep it inside, you’re not only hurting yourself but the other person as well. They won’t know how to fix the things that they’ve done, especially when they don’t know that they’ve done it.

However, don’t forget that communication is all about listening to the other person, a topic which I have discussed thoroughly before.

Don’t forget that non-verbal communication is just as important. It doesn’t really do much good if you say you’re “fine” but you’ve got a frown on your face and your arms crossed.

Third. Intimacy.

… Okay… I won’t go too much into detail about this. If you want detail, just go watch any reality TV show and I’m sure you’ll get a healthy amount of exposure to intimacy.

Now DON’T GET ME WRONG. Intimacy is NOT always about sex and things of that nature. Intimacy refers to both emotional and physical intimacy. Again, if you want the physical intimacy, go watch some TV.

Emotional intimacy, on the other hand, also ties into communication. Our significant others are our partners in crime and our best friends (hopefully not the ONLY one). With that being said, we should be able to open up to our partners and share our thoughts. This can range from a basic conversation about how our days went, to complex conversations about the world and what happens after death.

Being able to share your personal feelings and beliefs about a topic isn’t something that you go throwing around to everyone in the world. We tend to choose those we trust the most and share our inner thoughts with them.

So, basically, if you can’t talk about those things with your significant other, then there’s really no content to it. You can’t always talk about the weather or about how your day went because after a certain point, there’s nothing left to say.

Again, there are many many many MANY parts of a relationship. In my opinion, these three things are some of the most important.

Remember, you can’t lack one and expect the other two to make up for it. After a while, the absence of one factor will cause the entire relationship to collapse.