5 Ways To Keep Your Long-term Relationship Fresh
Some call it the seven-year itch, others a midlife crisis, but we’re going to keep it simple, sweet, and honest: You are years into your long-term relationship and you’re both bored. The hard work that every great relationship demands seems impossible and daunting, the obsessive excitement is gone completely, and, if we may be frank for a moment, you don’t have sex nearly as much as you used to, or as much as you’d like.
There is some solace in knowing that every couple goes through phases like this, but solidarity only gets you so far. So enough is enough. The time for complaining and resentment is over. It’s time to reclaim what made your relationship so great in the first place.
We’ve compiled 5 tips to get the passion and love back to your relationship. You both deserve it.
Surprise dates are often favored suggestions on lists like these. Spontaneity has that edge, reminding couples of the early, lovesick days of the relationship. You’re both new to each other, so everything feels impetuous.
Of course, intimacy comes from regularity. You get to know someone’s quirks and oddities, the way their breath sounds when they’re sleepy, the way they laugh when they know they shouldn’t be laughing, and so on.
The trick, like so many things in life, is balance. The 9 to 5 work schedule makes spontaneity a daunting task. People are tired after working 1/3 of the day, which means a surprise concert seems loud and draining instead of new and exciting.
Our advice actually goes the other way: make a schedule, and stick to it. Make Monday night movie night, and go see a movie even if you don’t feel like it. It sounds counterintuitive, but building a ritual with someone creates an intimacy that is unique to you and your partner.
This goes for sex, too, even though scheduling sex sounds anything but sexy. At first, sex without inherently being ‘in the mood’ might be somewhat awkward, but if you stick to the schedule you’ll find yourself more excited about Thursday nights than you’ve ever been before.
2) Be A Team
A couple is a team. You face this tumultuous thing we call life together, face losses and victories, battle pressure and enjoy celebrations together alike. Many relationships fall apart when one partner starts to view the other as an obstacle instead of a facilitator. Relationships demand sacrifices, so the temptation to resent your significant other is understandable, but only a losing game.
So much of it is just mindset. It’s you and your significant other against the world. Without your greatest teammate, your source of continued support, where would you be? You should be looking out for your significant other better than you’d look out for yourself and vice versa.
Next time you’re daydreaming about where you could be instead of where you are, try to flip your mentality some: where would you be without your team? How would you feel if you were truly alone?
Travel is expensive. Even when you travel for cheap, it’s expensive. This makes it impractical for many couples, and that doesn’t even delve into how stressful it is to plan or how anxiety-inducing flying can be.
But all of those nagging insecurities are your boring, stale relationship self talking. Take a trip every now and then, even if it’s just a day drive to your nearest national park or a trip to the coast.
Why? Because traveling is fun, or at the very least a good meter of whether or not you and your significant other should break up. Do you spend every moment of your trips in the hotel fighting? It might be a sign. Do you lie in bed sometimes and wistfully remember the long nights you spent in foreign lands? That’s probably an indicator that you two are meant to continue.
And, though it seems obvious, travel means newness, and newness means excitement. There’s never a better opportunity to be a team than traveling to a new place. You’re on equal ground, each overwhelmed and stoked in equal measure, and any fighting is guaranteed to make the trip unpleasant. The many demands of it offer equal opportunities to support your significant other and be supported. Go travel, and go team!
4) Spend Time Apart
Another piece that might seem counterintuitive, but it’s important to remember even years into a relationship, is that you are your own person. Many couplings result in the death of two individuals, but it shouldn’t be that way.
So, take some time for yourself. Go on a trip alone, even if it’s just as an opportunity to miss your significant other. Create experiences that you can excitedly tell your partner. Do the things that you love, even if your significant other doesn’t want to. The resulting independence creates confidence, and confidence is sexy.
We’re not advocating spending six months of the year away, but take a weekend here and there, round up your old friends and go do something fun and exhilarating. It’ll remind you that you’re your own person, and show you how pleasant the normalcy of coupledom is.
5) Go To Family Gatherings
Many people don’t like their own families, let alone their in-laws. This one feels like a true obligation for most people because often it is. But obligations can be good because they demonstrate how much you care. Going to Thanksgiving at your mother in law’s house might make for one mighty long Thursday, but it will create affection that lasts all year.
These types of obligations are the most tempting to bail out on, but they’re also the most important. Family is what made your significant other so fantastic. So, go and listen to the embarrassing stories you’ve heard a thousand times. Your significant other will truly appreciate it and you’ll be a better partner for it.