We know that it’s not easy to make a relationship last. Heck, if it were, we’d all be in the happiest situations ever, finding “the one” after just a couple of dates early on in our lives. But we all know that life doesn’t work that way, as it throws curveballs our way to toughen us up, test our patience and makes us really dig deep on the person we’re supposed to end up with.

For all those guys out there who have been in a really serious relationship before, you know how difficult it can be when things end and you’re left all alone, wondering where to turn to next. Even if the decision to end things was yours, it still doesn’t ease the pain of being single again, trying to figure out the path you’re supposed to make to find happiness.

Since, generally speaking, it’s the goal of everyone to find that special someone and make a relationship work, we’re here to tell you that it’s not as hard as you’re making it out to be. Sure, every single relationship takes work — whether it’s with a friend or a sexual partner — but there are different things you should be doing for a higher rate of success.

Rather than have your mind spinning in circles, going back-and-forth about what you should and shouldn’t do while dating someone, take a look at some tips to find true happiness. We promise it’s achievable, guys, but you need to know what you’re doing first.

Make a relationship last by showing mutual respect

Relationships aren’t going to work because you and your girlfriend love each other, or because you two have good communication. While those help in the quest to make a relationship last, unless you two have mutual respect for one another, the entire thing doesn’t stand a chance in hell at surviving.

So, what constitutes mutual respect? It means you two listen to one another during an argument, avoiding the typical slamming of the door and walking away routine that so many people in bad relationships do. It means encouraging one another even when times get bad; whether that’s from something together or on your own.

Mutual respect is about being honest with your feelings and living a life together void of drama. It’s building trust and knowing that, while there might be temptations out there, staying committed to a person who has given you everything they can is more valuable.

When you’re honest and kind, you’ll make a relationship last

Obviously, mutual respect is one of the first things people need to have in order to make a relationship last, but honesty and kindness aren’t too far behind. That’s because, when couples are honest and kind with each other, they’ll show their flaws, which, eventually, leads them to being closer and trust one another more.

When you’re in a committed relationship with someone, we hope that kindness is one of the first traits you identify in your partner. That means it’s on display with more people than just you — like your friends, family and even strangers you two come in contact with.

Taking the positive in as much as you can is important, and that mentality eventually leads to honesty and kindness with both yourself and your significant other, so remember that.

Commitment and support through everything will make a relationship last

When something bad occurs in your relationship, are you there to support your partner or are you running for the hills and telling them to figure it out on their own? If it’s the latter, you’re not being kind or showing mutual respect, so do you really think that the relationship is going to work?

Commitment and support means you’re there through the bad times, too, knowing that life has curveballs, and that things aren’t always going to be great. It means going to battle together and reminding your partner that you’re in this together, that you two will overcome struggle together and be even better because of it. It’s showing them they’re not alone, not just telling them.

Making a relationship last means putting in the work

As you can probably tell from the above points — as well as any of your own personal experiences — to make a relationship last means putting in the work. Like everything in life, you’re not going to accomplish something by just going through the motions, and a relationship is one of the most critical things you’ll need to work on in order to make it successful.

Think about it; if you’re out of work and keep complaining about how you’re unemployed, are you really going to get hired if you spend your days doing everything except looking for a job? Absolutely not. Similarly, when you’re in a relationship and are worried that you and your girlfriend might be drifting apart, are you going to give up and decide not to deal with it, or are you going to do what you can to turn things around?

Circumstances vary, we know that, but if you really, truly want a relationship to last — and some, if not all, of the above points are present already — then don’t just give up, but work at turning things around. Giving up should not be an option.

To make a relationship last, it’s OK to have alone time

Guess what, guys, human beings aren’t built to spend every waking hour together — and that’s especially true while in a relationship with someone. There’s a difference between puppy love and real love, and the former means you’re codependent on one another and enjoy spending time together, but it’s unsustainable in the long run.

A good example of this is that whole honeymoon period — or first three months — of a new relationship. We all have that feeling of happiness no matter what happens during that time, but it wears off as you and your girlfriend get to know one another better. Or at least it should. If you and your partner are still hanging out every single day and can’t help but be apart, that’s usually a sign that things aren’t going to last.

To make a relationship last, both people need to stay independent of one another and do things that fulfill and interest them, too. They need to self-reflect and think without influence. Only when both people realize this will a relationship be in the best position to succeed.