Pam Stevens - The Reluctant Courier

Love in 2024: Relationship Advice We All Need This Year

It’s 2024 – in case you are still stuck in the pandemic.

Modern life has its demands. Boomers are busy learning how to interact with technology and perfect their social media, Millennials are somewhat close to retirement, and Gen Z is stepping foot into the brave new world of their own making. In all this – some things remain forever constant. The world is still not at peace; technology still has a long way to go; high school is a bear; and relationships are hard.

Relationships, right?

You thought you would need to dress and impress on only the 14th of Feb? Love and relationships are longtime commitments and not confined to a single candle-night dinner or a bouquet of roses and a box of chocolates for your precious. Your girlfriend/boyfriend deserves better.

Time changes things. Love in 2024 is going to be different. And here is some relationship advice we all need this year.

01.  Don’t Play Who’s Right Who’s Wrong

If you’re a rom-com fan, you might have grown up thinking who’s right who’s wrong applies to a relationship. But guess what? You’ve been living a lie. A difference of opinion, yes, can lead to an altercation – the possibility of feeling the need to point fingers and blame anybody but yourself. A relationship is not about trying to decide who the guilty party is every time an argument or something tricky comes to pass.

Instead of playing the blame game, try empathy. Listen to each other’s point of view, not to respond, but to understand. You will find middle ground the same way you found each other that fateful day – or night! We don’t judge.

02.  Allow Yourself to Be Vulnerable

Unless you work construction or are Bob the Builder, don’t put walls to keep your partner out.

Sometimes, especially when we are just week or month-old couples, we want the upper hand in our relationship. We make the conscious decision to hide ourselves, keep secrets – mostly things we are embarrassed or ashamed of. If you’re afraid your boyfriend/girlfriend will leave you if they find out, it means they never loved you; only parts of you. Being vulnerable does not mean telling them things about you that you don’t tell anybody else. It means having faith that the love they have for you is sincere.

Apart from this, you should make your partner feel comfortable enough to open up to you, too. We know of a couple that struggle with this. They are Sandra and Steven in The Reluctant Courier. When you read through this book, you will notice how that changes with every chapter, and their love takes on a turn for the win.  

Practice and preach!

03.  Real Love Does Not Want You to Abandon Yourself

Do not hyper-focus on your relationship. If you go all ‘he/she loves me, he/she loves me not’, the planet might face a shortage of flowers on the surface.

Loving someone can be incredibly addictive and compulsive – at least that much hasn’t changed even in 2024. However, it has been a common misconception that to get the best out of love, you must give it your everything, often implying that you abandon yourself in its pursuit. True love, real love, does not want you to abandon yourself.

Let’s take a chapter out of Sandra’s playbook from The Reluctant Courier. She was only eighteen when she married Peter, and that also for a few hours. Peter, it turned out, only loved her for her Grandfather’s money – something he wished to acquire to pay off his debts.

Sandra could have chosen to ignore this revelation, could have pretended to be happy so that her marriage could succeed. Instead, she simply walked away from the farcical arrangement… choosing herself over make-believe happiness.

True love is now a two-person deal – not one. Write that down.

04.  Communicate! Your Partner Is Not a Mind Reader

This one is evergreen, which is why it made on to our list.

This is not communication 101, but we will say that only people in comics, television shows, and on the big screen can read minds – not us. Being able to anticipate our partner’s needs is not a sign of love, in fact, it is not always possible to get it right, which is why you have the gift of words. Human beings are in a constant state of fluctuation; our needs and wants are forever changing. Sometimes, we need emotional support, sometimes, conversation.

Stop expecting your partner, or people in general, to read your mind and just know what you are thinking or feeling. Speak up! There is a time in The Reluctant Courier when Sandra and Steve communicate with encoded messages! But you don’t need to go that far; just use words.

05.  Don’t Forget About Family and Friends!

Love is free – free from boundaries, prejudices, restraints. When we talk about love, it doesn’t necessarily need to be romantic love. Our friends and family deserve our love and attention, too. Some friendships wither away and die not because they weren’t meant to last the benchmark “seven” years but because they were neglected. The same applies to family members – when we lose touch with our parents or siblings, it can be hard to catch up.

As you read this, take out your phone and think of whomever you haven’t contacted in a while and drop them a text! Plan a coffee date.

Love and dating may come across as a full-time job, and in some cases, it can be. However, when we are so entranced by the magic of love, we end up ignoring other people we have known our whole lives. Here’s an example – Joey and Sandra’s friendship from The Reluctant Courier. Joey is Sandra’s best friend, and they could have been more, but despite Joey’s efforts, Sandra didn’t let it go that far. In all the twists and turns of the story, Sandra encounters a multitude of problems. She has a lot on her plate; however, she makes time for not just Steve, but Joey and other people in her circle.

Friendships and family are equally important as relationships – who else will you talk to about who you’re dating?

So, it is 2024 – and the machines haven’t taken over the world yet. We are free to give our time and energy to people who deserve them. Being faithful, open, and empathetic is no longer “the only way” to succeed in a relationship. You must speak your mind. Choose yourself as much as you chose the person you love and they chose you.

While you’re at it, be sure to pick your copy of The Reluctant Courier, also available on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and other leading publishing platforms. In it, you get to meet Sandra Stanford, a girl whose ordinary life is about to turn extraordinary when she is tasked with delivering a dying man’s “message.” An unwilling courier, Sandra meets Steven Hoyt, who will not only sweep her into a world of romance, but also one of mystery and deceit.

Let’s celebrate love this year, and not just for a day.

Are you happy in your relationship? Have any personal relationship advice? Have your say in the comments below and be sure to forward this blog to that friend you know needs to read this.