If you’re someone who’s been bouncing between relationships for a while and wondering how you might crack that ‘officially long-term couple’ mark, here are some tips.
It’s very easy to fall into a routine in a relationship, or inadvertently make the same mistakes as before.
Couples and sex therapist Isiah McKimmie says it is not uncommon for couples to form habits or rituals the longer they are together.
She says the key to the relationship lasting long-term, is for those habits to be the right ones.
Here she shares the top things we could all learn from really happy long-term couples.
Make time for each other
“It’s easy to feel that our relationship will be there when we’ve done everything else we need to do, and to take our relationship for granted while we work on our goals,” tells Be.
She says the truth is, spending time on the relationship needs to be a habit and a priority now, so the relationship is there in future.
“Make spending quality time (with just the two of you and no TV) a habit. And make date night a priority.”
Appreciation builds love and trust. Telling your partner the things you appreciate about them will brings you closer, according to Isiah.
“We can fall into the trap of thinking our partner knows all the reasons we love them, but often they don’t,” she says.
“We all have self-doubt at times and being told what is appreciated by others is uplifting, nourishing and intimate.”
So, if you appreciate something your partner does for you, let them know.
Make sex a habit
Often things in the bedroom may have been roaring at the start of your relationship, but then it was only happening a couple of times a week or even less.
“Sex isn’t the most important aspect of a relationship, but an enjoyable, intimate sex life can nourish a relationship, bring us closer and build love,” Isiah tells us.
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She explains that keeping your sex life healthy requires energy and attention.
“Regular love-making can become a ritual that is both beautiful and satisfying.”
Say sorry often
“I’m the first to put my hand up and say I find it hard to say I’m sorry. I become defensive, I feel like there’s something wrong with me and my shame blocks intimacy in our relationship,” Isiah admits.
She says that saying sorry builds connection, love and compassion.
“Taking responsibility helps us grow, so apologise whole-heartedly and often.”
Reassess where your relationship is going
Really happy couples talk about how their relationship is going, what they love about it and what they would like to work on.
“Happy couples feel comfortable voicing their needs and reassessing your relationship reminds you it’s a priority and keeps it fresh,” Isiah says.
“I recommend couples take time regularly to talk about where their relationship is at and how to make it even better going forward.”
Take time apart
Just as important as growing closer together is also taking time apart. It’s vital you keep your own interests, goals and desires.
“Time to ourselves is nourishing. Taking time apart allows us to give more to our relationship and keeps our relationship alive and fresh,” the therapist says.
The great thing about habits is that once they become habits, they don’t feel like work anymore.
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