New love is amazing. In the beginning, everything is great. You talk about everything, giggle at your own private jokes and can’t keep your hands off of each other. And then, without notice, you move from new love to long term relationship and things get a little tougher. All of a sudden, the nature of the conversation has changed and discussions about expectations and desires give way to brief exchanges about what practical obligations need to be met. Boundaries are pushed and the things that used to make you smile just seem to irritate you. And that electric touch is so few and far between that you’ve forgotten what it felt like. Though this is a regular and even normal occurrence, it doesn’t have to mean that this is the final destination for your relationship.

Building, nurturing and restoring a solid foundation in your relationship boils down to regular check- ups on these three issues: communication problems, physical voids and discontentment. Following a few basic guidelines can help ensure that you and significant other enjoy each other for many years.

Speak Often, Listen Actively

With everything that goes into maintaining a relationship, it can be easy for couples to become just roommates or life partners and leave each without emotional support. This can be a problem because your emotional connection can help you stay bonded through any stress or strain on the relationship. Luckily, however, you can bring your relationship back to life in just  five minutes a day! During this time, you don’t have to speak about relationship problems or logistics of managing the home. Instead, spend time remembering why you like each other. Listen to each other and don’t interrupt with opinions or arguments. Simply listen and respond when required, asked or given space to. Remember that you respect the things you have to say to one another.  Starting with five minutes of discussion before starting your day or on your way to bed can easily lead to 15 minutes of deep conversation. That can spur into a recharged relationship where you both feel comfortable talking to one another again. You may even begin feeling like your partner is one of the best people to talk to, but that is a gift that is earned only through pleasant, trustful and consistent communication

Just a Touch of Loveholding-hands-kevar-whilby

Undervaluing sex and non-sexual touch is a major mistake in relationships. Human beings need to be touched to feel safe, comforted and loved and that is accomplished through sex and physical touch alike. If you’re going to watch television together or lay in bed longer on a Saturday, be sure to use the time to kiss, hug, cuddle and welcome one another into your open arms. While doing just this may be enough to revive the fire, I cannot stress enough that sex is also important. You should have it as often as you and your partner can. Several things can create unequal sex drives between partners but these things should not be ignored or dismissed as a casualty of long term commitment. If your sex drive is problematic, see a physician. Consider seeing a therapist if you think depression or anxiety may be at work. Sometimes, trust and vulnerability issues block your sex life.  You should take care of those as well with one another (see first tip above) or with outside help. Whatever you do, don’t settle for drifting apart. Reintroducing physical intimacy into your relationship may be uncomfortable at first. It may not always be easy especially if you’ve been out of touch for a while. This is normal. The key is to start slowly, communicate what you are comfortable with, and be open to what your partner feels and desires.

If It Makes You Happy…

Relationships also tend to hit rough patches when one or both partners are unhappy. Discontentment can manifest itself in several disastrous ways. To avoid this, try to adopt this motto: if it makes one or both of you happy, then do it and do it as often as you can. This will require you to know what makes you happy and willingness to share these experiences with your partner. This could be something as simple as designating a night for dining out, finding an adventurous activity you enjoy or a hobby you can take on together. Many couples find success in having a fitness endeavor to work towards or a dance community (salsa etc.) to join together. These types of activities are bonding, often require touch, keep you moving and raise your endorphins. But also notice that I said if it makes one or both of you happy. That is because while it is always important to do things that make you happy, it is equally important to spend time enthusiastically participating in an activity simply because you know your partner will be happy doing it. This may require you to step out of your comfort zone but it will mean a lot to your partner that you are willing to put your own wants aside for theirs. No matter who chose the activity that you guys decide to participate in, the more time you spend together, doing things you love, the more you will feel like you have a life companion and not just a roommate.

Many people see the benefit of having a loving partner to share moments of laughter and support through difficult times. Sometimes, though, people forget that relationships take work. If you make sure to communicate regularly, address physical voids, and explore both of your happy places, you can see love flourish and last long term. Remember, being active in your relationship and not allowing it to fall into a humdrum routine will keep you fresh, invigorated and inspired daily. Don’t forget to take care of your relationship!

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