The road to a low-maintenance relationship
A Low Maintenance Relationship (LMR) is when a couple is mutually exclusive but not in a FULL relationship. A low maintenance relationship means NOT talking to each other every day, maybe a few texts a day, but NOT in excess.
A low-maintenance relationship may sound impossible, but it’s not.
An LMR is for active individuals who have many responsibilities and don’t have time for a FULL relationship.
Notice I said “low,” not “no.” Relationships are like a complex machine with many moving parts. Maintenance is a must, not an option.
Regular maintenance, like putting fresh oil in your car’s engine, will keep it purring for years to come. My manufacturer recommends adding fresh oil every 3,000 miles. Sounds like a lot, but my engine is still running perfectly six years after buying the car.
The point here is that regular attention to the complex machine that calls itself “your relationship” will help avoid the build-up of unwanted dirt and grime that leads to breakdowns.
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many couples get caught up in the daily grind of work, bills, and kids. Thinking about the relationship plays second fiddle to the game of survival.
And yet, if we don’t pay attention to our primary relationship, it will suffer. I know this both personally and through my practice as a psychotherapist.
So that you don’t get depressed: Low maintenance relationships are possible. Ideally, you think about creating one before committing to a relationship. That’s a lot less work.
When you are in a relationship, both partners need to define what constitutes a low-maintenance relationship (LMR) and consciously work towards achieving that state of bliss.
Here’s one way to a low-maintenance relationship:
Find a Low Maintenance Person (LMP)!
If you do that, 95% of your work is done for you. I’ve had high-maintenance partners and low-maintenance partners. Low is a lot less hassle and a lot more fun.
You may be wondering what does a low maintenance person look like?
Here are eight qualities I’ve found in low-maintenance people.
In other words, they can live without you. They want to live with you, but they don’t need you. That’s a big difference.
2) You have lived alone at some point in your life.
Coming straight from living with their parents doesn’t bode well. It’s hard to avoid in some cultures, but it’s something to consider. Are they used to being taken care of?
3) Don’t complain about others.
If they complain about others, it will only be a matter of time before they start complaining about you.
4) Have friends – good friends.
This is a revealing feature. If she or he has friends, it means she won’t be relying on you for all of her psychological and relationship needs. That will be a great burden off your shoulders.
However, you must be able to share your partner with others. Of course there is a balance that needs to be negotiated, but with an LMP comes a requirement for you to support their full engagement in life, which includes friends.
5) Have done personal work.
In other words, he or she has attended personal development workshops , done psychotherapy, or read and studied philosophy, psychology, sociology, and humanities (although the latter doesn’t mean they’ve integrated what they’ve studied. I find that experience-based work is more powerful).
When someone who has worked on themselves gets into a relationship, they are more likely to know their shit and stand by it and not project it onto you.
This alone reduces the number of fights you will have and improves the quality of the fights as well. If you’ve been working on yourself, too, conflict can be an opportunity for mutual learning rather than a disaster to be avoided at all costs.
6) Have a job.
This can be volunteer work, a job, or someone who stays at home and takes care of the children. Sometimes life throws a spanner in the works and we lose our jobs, get sick or have an accident.
We can’t account for all of life’s vagaries, but overall, you should make sure they have a job or passion that keeps them interested in life.
A word of caution, if they are self-employed you could have two problems. One is trying to get any time with them at all and two, you end up doing all the supporting chores around the house because they are “too busy”.
7) Easygoing personality.
If your partner or prospective partner is argumentative, controlling, or a clutter freak, life is going to be tough. You will either passively resist them, fight openly, be on the alert to maintain boundaries, or always look over your shoulder and ask, or know that your efforts are just not good enough.
If that sounds like hell, you’re right, it is. I’ve experienced this before and it’s not worth it. You become a shell of your former self.
On the other hand. If you find someone who is easygoing, consider yourself lucky. A straightforward person will allow you to relax around them, worry less about life and the relationship, and generally have a lot more fun.
When you have found such a person, try not to confuse that an easy-going and low-maintenance person is unpretentious. Every relationship will have claims. These are the wants and needs of the other person.
When your partner is easygoing, it’s easy to take them for granted because their wants and needs may not be so obvious—but they have them.
If you’re going into a relationship, ask about their needs if they haven’t already been expressed. Trust me, you’ll get bonus points for showing interest.
8) Willingness to work on the relationship.
This was an important point for my wife. Before we found each other, she said that she would rather be alone than in a bad relationship and that she wanted someone willing to work on the relationship.
No relationship is perfect and there will always be conflict – it’s a part of life. The willingness and ability to work on or through differences is critical to a successful relationship.
When you have a willingness to learn how to work out your difficulties, then my experience is that the amount of conflict decreases and the time to work through problems decreases dramatically.
The result is that in the relationship, less time is spent in conflict and more time enjoying each other.
When this happens, I see the relationship as a low-maintenance, high-return process.
That makes me want to stay in a relationship.