21st century relationships are a minefield.
While you’re already worrying about building a successful and genuine connection with someone you care about, you also have to manoeuvre past modern – and often cruel – dating trends such as ghosting and benching.
But not every relationship is destined to fail.
In an attempt to prove that love can prosper even in the modern day, Business Insider staff asked their parents for their number one piece of relationship advice – because who are you more likely to turn to in the throes of heartbreak than mum and dad?
The resulting advice – collated from parents that are married, in long-term relationships, and divorced – all seemed to fall into five categories: listening, being kind, understanding your self-worth, spending time together, and nurturing your connection.
Scroll on to discover the 13 pieces of crucial relationship advice we learned from our parents:
Respect each other’s space — and talk about things that matter.
Mandy, who has been married for 24 years, said: “Give each other space to be who you are and always try to talk about the stuff that matters – your hopes, dreams, and worries – not just the day-to-day things.”
Never hide your emotions — and listen to your partner’s.
“Always, always talk openly with your partner and be a good listener,” said Lucy, who is divorced.
“Never hide emotions or bury what irritates or upsets you and why. You’ll understand each other better if you talk honestly. Honest and open conversation builds trust and strengthens love.”
Don’t let animosity dwell.
“Never go to bed on an argument,” said Andrea, who has been with her husband for 32 years.
Be patient and willing to compromise.
“Patience is the number one virtue, and compromise is key,” said Simon, who has been married for the last 24 years. “Alternatively, just nod and smile – but that’s the cynic in me.”
Be with someone who is kind.
“Find someone that’s kind to waiters and waitresses,” said Caroline, married 26 years.
Understand your own self worth as well as your partner’s.
Jake, who has been with his wife for 26 years, said: “The obvious answer is to remember there are two people in a relationship and that both have equal value, so don’t be selfish but also don’t be subjugated or secondary.”
Accept that no one is perfect.
“Learn to give and take. Accept that nobody’s perfect. Love someone warts and all. There’s two of you [in a relationship],” said Liz, married 26 years.
Respect their opinions and what they deem important.
Glenys has been married for 40 years. She said:”Respecting each other is integral to a successful and long-lasting relationship.”
Value family time.
Justine, who has been with her partner for over 29 years, said: “Eat dinner together whenever possible.”
Find creative ways to spend time together.
“Headphones are a great investment if you want to be together in the evening but can’t agree on what to watch. A sense of humour is also important,” said Jon, who has been with his partner for 29 years.
Let them know how lucky you feel.
“If you are lucky enough to find your soul mate (I was!) – never waste that luck,” said Jon, married for the last 26 years. “Make sure she knows you adore her and never leave her second-guessing your feelings.”
Nurture the things you have in common.
“Choose someone whose values you share and who makes you laugh,” said Brian, married for 40 years.
Focus on the things you share and can build together — from shared interests to a family.
“At the end of the day, a relationship is simply a connection,” said Maxine, who has been with her husband for 34 years. “Nurture it, understand that it’s something you share and are both responsible for, and it will flourish.”
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