Personal experience proves it too: From our eighth-grade romance to our most recent breakup drama, "love isn't easy" is a life lesson we know all too well.

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We can 'abandon' ourselves in many areas: emotional (judging or ignoring our feelings), financial (spending irresponsibly), organizational (being late or messy), physical (eating badly, not exercising), relational (creating conflict in a relationship), or spiritual (depending too much on your partner for love).

When you decide to learn to love yourself rather than continue to abandon yourself, you will discover how to create a loving relationship with your partner."— Margaret Paul, Ph.

When people feel recognized as special and appreciated, they're happier in that relationship and more motivated to make the relationship better and stronger. Make small gestures that show you're paying attention: Hug, kiss, hold hands, buy a small gift, send a card, fix a favorite dessert, put gas in the car, or tell your partner, 'You're sexy,' 'You're the best dad,' or simply say 'Thank you for being so wonderful.'"— Terri Orbuch, Ph.

D., professor at Oakland University and author of "There’s no such thing as a failed romance.

not just how you feel about each other in the moment."— Jeremy Nicholson, Ph.

D., psychologist and dating expert "There is one major cause of relationship problems: self-abandonment.

And whether they end with tears and empty Ben & Jerry's or last until forever maydepend upon countless factors, but your own actions, words, and thoughts undoubtedly play a role.

One thing that'll give you an advantage in the game of love?

As part of Committed, we're exploring partnerships ranging from a textbook marriage between high-school sweethearts to a gay couple creating a life together in the conservative deep South.