New relationships can be so exciting, fun and sexy. You and your partner aren’t able to keep your hands off each other and every conversation is full of laughs or deep, serious revelations that bring you closer and strengthen your bond. But after some time goes by, things cool off in the bedroom and there are lots of conversations about what to get for dinner, or worse, arguments over silly, everyday issues.
Unless you are literally in a long-term relationship with a robot, you have probably experienced at least one of those issues. That’s why I talked to a couple of experts (and sexperts) about how to keep things going even after the initial sparks and flames have died down do a dull glow. Now that all sexual orientations can marry, and staying with your significant other for the long haul is in the cards for everyone, let’s take a look at how to make your very special, and very fragile, relationship last.
1. Make Time for Intimacy and Your Relationship
It’s not much of a surprise that in this day and age, one of the major killers of relationships and intimacy is just having a busy schedule. “A lot of couples put their relationship on the back burner. They put their job and their children first, instead of putting the relationship forward where it should be,” states Rob Alex, relationship counselor with Mission Date Night, an organization he runs with his wife, Janelle, in Colorado Springs. “When you have a good relationship it helps your job, and it helps your children. It helps you have a better life overall.”
“I think we have so many ‘options’ available nowadays, from whom we have sex with, to relationship statuses, to keeping in contact with others, to even career opportunities,” states Alysha Trujillo, psychotherapist and relationship counselor with Modern Love Counseling in Denver. “Although having the right to make these choices can be empowering at times, we often tend to get caught up in the excitement of having these options so easily available that we forget to focus on the true importance of being connected with another person, which is usually our long-term partner.”
2. Don’t Take Things Too Seriously
Another common mistake in relationships is to become super serious if things are going badly. You may feel the need to be talking about your issues all the time, or putting way too much emphasis on making sex better and stressing out. According to our experts, this is one of the worst ways you can go about things.
“Maintain the playfulness – be goofy, be silly,” advised Janelle of Mission Date Night. “A lot of people lose that because, especially in the corporate world, we are so conditioned that we cant joke around, we have to be completely serious, so it is easy to loose that. However, always be respectful to your partner – recognize what is a joking, playful thing to him or her – and play in a way that both of you are having fun.”
“You also have to bring that fun and adventure into the bedroom,” Alex told us. “You cant be serious in there. Open up, have fun and keep it light.”
3. Remember You Both Deserve the Best
Another reason seasoned relationships fail is because one the partners may feel like they deserve better or could do better, or they start comparing what they have to what others have. Well it’s true – you do both deserve the best possible partner, but that doesn’t always mean you have to leave who you are with to seek out someone better. Sometimes it means both of you being better so that you each have the partner you deserve.
“Couples need to understand that OK is not good enough – if your relationship or sex life is just OK, then you need to work on it,” Alex stated. “You don’t need to settle for just an OK relationship – everyone out there is a wonderful, amazing individual, and you need to put work into your relationship to make it amazing. You deserve an amazing relationship. Your partner deserves an amazing relationship.”
“Don’t stop dating each other!” Trujillo suggests. “Get dressed up, go to new places, take mini vacations as often as possible and keep conversations and laughter rolling. When you feel yourselves start to venture off mentally with thoughts of, ‘wow, so and so’s boyfriend/girlfriend is so awesome – I wish I had that,’ communicate your needs to your partner and put in the effort to fix it!”
4. Try New Things
“Trying new things” in general is an old adage and almost a cliche at this point, but it really applies when it comes to spicing up your relationship, especially in the bedroom. “Get a little bit outside the comfort zone – just put your toes outside your comfort zone,” Janelle suggests. “A lot of people are afraid to bring up something different – just step your foot out a little, because when you expand your comfort zone, your comfort zone is bigger. Along with that, when your partner makes a suggestion, instead of just saying ‘no way,’ stop and say ‘I don’t think I want to do that, but why? What are my beliefs around that? Why is that something I don’t want to do?’”
“Be flirty with each other by texting naughty messages to each other through the day, have playful foreplay when your partner least expects a fun surprise (which leads to sex randomly throughout the house), create an experience that feels sexy and thoughtful,” suggests Trujillo. “Bottom line, be yourself. When you feel comfortable being yourself, you can feel empowered by embracing your sexuality with your partner, which make sex hotter, more enjoyable and more emotionally connected. Have fun and be fully invested in being present with your partner.”
5. Realize Perfection is Not an Option
A big mistake that couples normally make is that they feel they need to be perfect, or be with someone perfect, or make the relationship perfect. This type of perfection is never going to be achieved in your current relationship or any other, so that is a goal you can get rid of.
“I want couples to stop thinking there is a finish line they have to get to, where there relationship is going to be perfect,” explains Alex. “We don’t cross the finish line, and we aren’t in a race. People’s relationships are going to keep evolving, and you are going to have good times and bad times. You have to be able to bend with the wind as it comes along.”
“The reality of modern relationships is, we expect our partners to fulfill so much for us: be our best friend, our confidant, our support system, our security, our sexual fantasy, our emotional rock, our fun outlet,” says Trujillo. “That is a lot for one person to fulfill entirely at all given moments of every day and we rarely give our partners credit for trying because our expectations are often way too high and demanding.”
When we can let go of these ideals and just be ourselves and be truly comfortable with what we have, then we will start having happy, and nearly perfect, relationships.