When you are in the initial stages of dating, you are eager to impress one another and you do whatever it takes to make it work. But as you get into a relationship and settle into it, you start taking each other for granted or get lazy. Sometimes, a kind of apathy sets in. This is never good for a relationship. In order for a relationship to grow, the couple involved has to grow with it.
If you are in a long-term relationship and you feel it’s stagnating, take a long, hard look at it. And just to help you along the way, here is some advice – ten tips to strengthen your long-term relationship.
It is important to accept your partner with all his strengths and weaknesses, faults and failings. If you start trying to gradually change your partner to suit your requirements or your ideal, it will begin to affect the relationship. Sometimes things that you found endearing when you just met, may start annoying you after being together for a while. He can’t change overnight for you, so try and remind yourself of the reasons you fell in love with him in the first place.
Trust is as basic to a relationship as food is to survive. If you are constantly hiding things from one another or holding back, it doesn’t bode well for a relationship. If one or both of you have insecurities – jealousy, possessiveness, etc., you need to be able to confide in the other about it. If you give your partner reason to doubt you, or to be suspicious, it is like sounding the death-knell on your relationship.
You have to keep the lines of communication open in a relationship, for it to work out in the long run. Whether it is about finances, kids, career plans, short-term or long-term goals or even your day’s activities, talk about it. And listen to what your partner has to say. Almost as important in a two-way conversation as talking and listening, is feedback. Voice your opinion and your views, but don’t impose them or shove them down your partner’s throat.
4. Being demonstrative
In the early stages of a relationship, a couple tends to be openly demonstrative and affectionate with each other. The urge to touch and be near the other person is very strong and overwhelms you. But when you spend time together and are in a long-term relationship, very often, you tend to get used to the other persons’ presence and don’t make the effort to hold hands, hug, caress, and kiss like you used to. Touching each other creates a bond that often goes beyond words and makes your partner feel very special - a vital part of your existence.
5. Appearances count
When you’re dating, you take extra care over your appearance and make an effort to look good for your partner. As you grow comfortable in a relationship, you start getting casual about your appearance. It is important, both for the relationship and a personal sense of self-esteem, to keep fit, stay in shape and look attractive to your partner. You don’t have to look the way you did when you were dating and ten years younger, but try and make the most of your appearance.
6. Conflict resolution
Long-term relationships go through their fair share of disagreements. For the relationship to stay healthy, it is vital that couples learn to resolve conflict quickly and effectively. Dragging on conflicts or staying at loggerheads with each other are barriers to keeping the relationship happy. It is also unhealthy if one partner is always making amends or eating humble pie. Both partners have to be willing to compromise and arrive at a mutually beneficial solution.
7. Keep the romance alive…
…In and out of the bedroom. When you first started going out, every date was special and occasions like birthdays and anniversaries were celebrated and treasured. Now that you have been together for a few years, it is even more reason to celebrate and create more wonderful memories. Set aside time to spend together, have fun doing something you both enjoy, pursue a couple activity or a sport and share a few laughs. Do something small every once in a while, to get the message across to your partner that he/she means the world to you. Physical intimacy is also a very important aspect of a long-term relationship. When boredom sets in in the bedroom, it’s time to do something about it. Talk about your likes and dislikes, what turns you on and if you’d like to try something new.
A long-term relationship benefits from a sharing of responsibilities, decision-making and authority. If one person is in charge all the time, the other partner can begin to resent it. Consulting one another and making decisions jointly gives both partners a sense of satisfaction and a feeling of being an important part of the relationship. Also, if one partner is assuming a major part of the responsibilities in terms of financial planning, household chores, child rearing and a career as well, it places an enormous stress on him/her. Responsibilities must be allocated so that there is a balance maintained and there should be flexibility and a willingness to help each other with tasks and duties.
9. Mutual support
Encouragement and positive reinforcement can help immensely in making a long-term relationship grow. Partners must help and support each other in planning goals and achieving them. Motivating and actively encouraging each other to engage in new pursuits, or grow in a career, or be successful in a particular field, go a long way in promoting the growth of the relationship too.
10. Never take each other for granted
Constantly appreciating each other’s worth and the value that he/she adds to your life provides a tremendous boost to a long-term relationship. Give your partner a pat on the back for a job well done, express your gratitude verbally or with a hug. It can serve to make your partner feel cherished and give him a reason to be glad that he is an important part of the relationship and eager to be in for the long haul.