With dating apps and “It’s Complicated” statuses, today’s relationships and modern romance in general just might be more complicated than ever. You can read mags and self-help books and click on any number of articles that come across your desktop, but there isn’t a go-to relationship tome that addresses the fact that we’re all in this together a la Helen Gurley Brown’s Sex and the Single Girl back in the day. Erik Newton, the founder of aptly named new magazine and podcast Together, is trying to create a guide for the modern-day Romeos and Juliets out there and, as a former divorce lawyer, he knows a thing or two about relationships.
Erik describes himself as “someone who has been through a thousand divorces and still believes in love.” In his “research,” it became clear to him that people make the same mistakes over and over again in relationships and that the best partnerships all have something in common.
“The trend I see over and over is that healthy couples are opening up to one another about their deepest selves,” he says. “Modern love means being honest about what we need from ourselves and our partners.”
He wanted to do something to help us all become more self-aware, so Together was born. A dig through the relationship-focused site will unveil articles with titles such as “How Long to Apologize — It Takes Longer Than You Think,” “The Anonymous Valentine That Changed My Life,” and “What Being in Love Is Costing You”; all very valid, powerful stuff.
To foster long and strong relationships, Erik suggests focusing on a few things: facing conflict directly (be “curious, not furious,” he quotes from a famed couples therapist), building trust a little at a time, developing complete communication (which means sharing the happy and the sad, without fear of rejection) and avoiding shame. He warns, “Shame is the anti-love. It erodes communication and trust before it starts,” and notes that it will kill a relationship faster than anything else.
For his part, Erik says that this project has strengthened his own relationship with his fiancée. “I never expected how much this project would impact my own relationship — I have fallen more in love than I ever thought possible from interviewing so many wonderful couples.”
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(Photos via iStock)