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Happily Ever After: 10 Steps to Find Yours and Keep It

The “happily ever after”s you find in fairy tales don’t always play as smoothly in real life. But we’ve got 10 ways to work around that.

happily ever after

“The girl who reads such fiction, dreaming her troubles will end ere she departs the altar is well advised to seek at once a rational woman to set her straight.” – Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Every girl is waiting to meet her prince charming, holding out hope against the odds, dreaming that one day, a handsome prince will ride up on a white horse and take her away from the madness that is single life. Yet the idea of the elusive happily ever after seems to be a pipedream.

Is that because there is no such thing as a prince charming, or is that because in real life, stories continue after the penultimate “I do”? After all, how many fairy tales have you read lately that cover when the princess is woken up at half-past-four in the morning by her prince charming’s snoring?

When you find your prince, how do you keep things headed toward happily ever after?

How to be happy in your relationship

You don’t need fairy god mothers, a hoard of woodland creatures, or a poisoned apple to finally find true relationship bliss. Real life is slightly more pragmatic in that regard.

#1 Be realistic about your expectations. Okay, I know it’s unfair to ask you to be realistic about your fairy tale ending, but if you are ever going to find that happily ever after, you have to remove your rose-colored glasses. I’m not asking you to settle or to accept things the way they are, but you have to have a realistic idea of what you want.

It needs to at least be in the realm of possibility. As much as you might want George Clooney to be your prince charming, you might need to start rethinking that last chapter. [Read: How to manage your expectations in a relationship]

#2 Define what happiness means to you. It’s simple, really; you need to know what makes you happy. You need to dig deep into your emotional drawer and find out what happiness means to you. The kind of happy that warms you from the inside, makes you feel safe, and takes away all your worries–even if it’s just for a moment.

I’m not talking about new-shoes happy. I’m talking about an overwhelming sense of joy. If you don’t know what makes you happy like that, how can you possibly start to look for it?

#3 Never give up. Anything that is worth having is worth everything and anything it takes to get it. Just because your prince charming hasn’t come along yet, doesn’t mean you should give up the search! Far from it; nothing in life worth having comes easily, so don’t be deterred.

The same can be said once you are in a relationship. Don’t give up just because it’s getting hard or you are having a few arguments. Try to work things out and see it through. You might be surprised by the ending you get. That being said, sometimes there is no other choice but to leave a relationship if you are really unhappy. Move on, and see what the next chapter has in store for you. [Read: 9 reasons relationships are such hard work]

#4 Accept that nothing is perfect. You can have a happily ever after if you can accept that nothing in life is perfect. It doesn’t matter if it’s a person, a new pair of shoes, or a house–it will always have flaws. The important thing is accepting those flaws and not ignoring them. If you can accept them, then you have a fighting chance of moving past them. [Read: How to get the monotony out of a relationship]

#5 Communicate. Again, I know–that’s not really how the fairy tales do it. In a fairy tale, the girl meets the boy, and within days, they are married and living their happily ever after. The fact is, though, that this is real life, and while you might really like someone you’ve just met, you will be better off getting to know them before asking them to walk down the aisle.

Communication is key to a relationship–at every stage. If you can communicate with your partner, then you have a really good chance of working out any problems you might encounter.

#6 Take note of everything you have. Everything is so fast-paced these days, it can be hard to appreciate the things you have. Work and fast living are the main contributors to stress, which, if not tackled head on, can really bring you down. If you are feeling down about your life, really try to work out the source of that unhappiness; you might be surprised by where it is coming from.

At the same time, try to appreciate the good things you have in your life. Spend more time doing things that make you happy. Spend more time doing what you want to do. This will boost your overall happiness and will help you on your way to the happily ever after you long for.

#7 Don’t take things for granted. It can be easy to forget to make an effort for your partner, especially when you have been together for a long period of time. The little things you once did to earn your partner’s affections are long gone and are replaced with routine and repetition.

So, every once in a while, try to mix things up a little. Make more of an effort and appreciate your partner. This will help keep the happily-ever-after flame burning throughout the years. [Read: 13 small changes that will greatly improve your relationship]

#8 Examine your relationship with the world around you. At some point or another, every girl has asked the question, “Why me?” Most of the time, the reason won’t have anything to do with you, as a person *although sometimes, it has everything to do with your behavior and decisions*.

If you find yourself getting into the same situations over and over again, you might want to question how you are letting it happen. Try to examine the way you interact with the world around you, break out of old routines, and see if it helps you find something new.

#9 The grass isn’t greener on the other side… ever. One of the easiest ways to break a relationship apart is to compare it with those around you–especially if you are in a long-term relationship, and are comparing your relationship to a couple who has just gotten together.

If you want a happily ever after, don’t compare yourself to others. For one thing, you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, and for another, every relationship is different. What might work for one couple might not work for another. If you want your happily ever after to be more than just a fairy tale, you need to focus on what is happening in your relationship, and no one else’s.

#10 Accept that people change. It doesn’t matter who you are, or who you are with: you are both going to change. There is no point complaining about the fact that your partner isn’t the person they were when you got together, because you are not the same person, either.

You can accept the changes and embrace them. Over time, your happily ever after will get closer and closer to you. If you can’t accept that people change, no one will ever make you happy. The fact is, everyone changes over time, and you just have to learn to deal with it.

If you want your own fairy tale ending, you have to be realistic, open, trusting, and willing to accept and make changes. Everything comes at a price. Sometimes, it’s worth the price, and sometimes it isn’t. The only person who can decide that is you.

[Read: 12 quick tips to make your relationship a little better]

Happily ever after isn’t about settling; it’s about finding the perfect compromise and running with it. It’s about putting in the work and reaping the rewards. It’s about discovering that safety isn’t always guaranteed, and finding love that is worth losing everything to hold on to.

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Emma Spencer
Born in a small city that nobody has ever heard of, commonly questioned about whether I have ever owned a farm. I have never owned a farm. I do, however, live i...
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