Long-term relationships have become something of an enigma for many as divorce rates soar and the number of single parents keeps climbing. So here are our top tips on how to maintain a long-term relationship to help keep you and your other half happy within your relationship.
Base your relationship on friendship
There’s a mutual respect that comes with a friendship that is essential for a successful relationship with anyone – partner or not. Building your relationship on the basis of a friendship can help you learn about them without the added intensity of a relationship. For example, talk about everything, literally. If you’re watching the news together and a controversial story comes up, talk about it! You’ll learn a lot about each other’s moral compass and whether you are compatible as a couple or not.
This sounds obvious but is a surprisingly common pitfall. If you have any respect for your partner and the sanctity of your relationship then don’t play away. Even if your partner can bring themselves to forgive you, they will never forget. It will ultimately eat away at your relationship and the trust will have gone.
When you get comfortable in a relationship, it’s natural to fall into a routine which can become mundane over time. To avoid this, surprise your partner every so often, even if it’s something as daft as a fridge magnet you thought they’d like. The little things count and its gifts like these that show you’re thinking about your partner when you aren’t together.
Another obvious one, but if you don’t spend any time together alone as a couple then you’re inevitably going to drift apart. Relationships need intimacy in order to succeed so regular contact is essential. If you don’t see much of your partner and don’t feel like you miss them or need to see them more regularly, then maybe it is time to reassess whether you still have feelings for this person. (This of course excludes long-distance).
Tell them you care
After you’ve been together for a while, the fact that you care for one another becomes a given. But not verbalising your feelings for your partner could lead to them to think you no longer care for them and become disillusioned with the entire relationship. So make sure they know how strongly you feel.
Don’t hold back
This follows on from the last point, don’t be embarrassed to show intimacy for your partner in public. Whether it’s when you’re out with friends or in a room full of strangers, make sure you aren’t neglecting your partner because ‘people might see’. If anything, showing intimacy for them in front of others solidifies your relationship by showing you don’t care what others think and you aren’t embarrassed to be with them.
Keep your individuality
Brangelina, Bennifer, and TomKat are just a few of the celebrity power couples to have been given a nickname by the press to define their relationship. Whilst there is nothing wrong with becoming an official ‘couple’ in this way, it is important to maintain your individuality as a person. Make sure you dedicate yourself some
‘me’ time, even if it’s just having a relaxing pampering session or half-an-hour chilling in the bath reading your favourite magazine. Your relationship will do better for it.
Make time for your friends
Making time for your friends is an extension of the last tip. It’s hard not to spend 24/7 with someone you deeply care about, especially if you live together, but making time for friends outside of your relationship is essential for inner happiness for both you and your partner. One evening every week where you meet up with friends for a girly catch up or a meal out will give your relationship the space it needs as well as giving your other half the opportunity to catch up with their friends or finish that book they’ve been reading for ages.
Make date nights
Spending time together in a ‘date’ scenario will remind you of the early days of your relationship and keep that spark alive. An occasional shopping trip, night at the cinema, or meal out will bring back all the feelings you had in the beginning and bring you closer as a couple.
Setting mutual goals together will enable you to understand where your relationship is heading. Sitting down together and talking about the future can be a daunting task, especially if you’re worried you might not want the same things. But explaining what you want and where you want to be in 5 or 10 years will help your partner understand what you want from them in the relationship and the longevity of it.
Experience new things together
Going travelling, trying new things in the bedroom, and even moving away to university are experiences you can share together. This can be an a bonding experience and can make or break relationships but without giving these things a go how will you know if your partner is truly the right person for you?
Don’t wear rose tinted spectacles
Glazing over issues you have as a couple is not a healthy way to deal with them. These things never stay buried and will eventually come back to bite you later, which could do more damage than if you had tackled the problem head on. No matter how small or large the
issue is, it is best to air your feelings straight away so that you can deal with it together and give your relationship the chance to recover and get stronger from it.
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable
Bottling up feelings never did anyone any good, so if you have had an emotional experience, sharing it with your partner can be a great way to bond. Showing your vulnerable side will make them want to care and protect you, strengthening the romantic side to your relationship.
Remember why you got together in the first place
There are moments in every relationship where you come to the point of despair, often during an intense argument. But when the feelings of ‘why do I even bother’ arise, remembering why you initially got with your partner and all the happy moments you’ve had together can lift this feeling and help you realise that all relationships have their ups and downs, it’s how you deal with them that matters.
Don’t forget to listen
During an argument it’s easy to see red and scream obscenities at each other. But calming down and listening to each other rather than having a screaming match will help you resolve the problem much quicker.
Appreciate the little things
Whether it’s doing the washing up, cooking your tea or surprising you with flowers, learning to appreciate the small gestures your partner makes to show that they care can only be beneficial. After all, if you don’t give any response at all they might stop bothering!
Don’t get sloppy
Maintaining your relationship is a two way street. Making sure you keep your hygiene and grooming habits to the same standard they were at the start of your relationship, should be another obvious one but it’s surprisingly common for standards to slip. Remember how in the beginning you would take forever to get ready for your dates? While your partner might not expect the same level of dedication every day, they will at least expect you to make a bit of effort or they will lose interest. That person they fell for shouldn’t disappear over time. Making an effort with your appearance shows you want to remain attractive to them and your commitment to the