How To Maintain A Long-Term Relationship

How To Maintain A Long-Term Relationship

There’s a reason why people always seem impressed when you’ve been with your partner for a long time – and that’s because those I the know realise how much work goes into keeping your relationship going for that long. It’s not an inevitability that the romance or love will fade from your relationship, but things will always change and it’s up to the couple to roll with the punches. That being said, there are ways to make that long journey through life together far smoother – we asked Rachael Lloyd, relationship expert at eharmony, for her tips on maintaining a long-term relationship.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Conflict

Many studies show the most successful relationships tend to be between two people who share similar core values, sense of humour and personality traits. Yet even the best relationships involve conflict, with our research showing the average British couple argues six times a month. You shouldn’t be afraid of conflict – they’re a great chance for growth and negotiation. The problem is a lot of us get caught up in expecting our partner to read our minds or instinctively know how we're feeling. That’s why it's important take risks and get vulnerable; you’re always going to learn more about each other.

Keep Each Other In The Loop, No Matter What

It always pays to be considerate, no matter what the situation. You don't want your partner to feel stifled - or vice versa - but a quick text to say you're stuck in traffic, or that you won’t finish work till late shows that you care and realise their time is valuable. 
Furthermore, keeping each other in the loop when it comes to things like holidays and events shows mutual consideration on both sides of the relationship; it also avoids double bookings and unnecessary misunderstandings. However, some of us don't like to feel too micro-managed, so, it's up to each couple to work out what works best for them in terms of the frequency. 

Resolve Any Tension

First, park your ego. Remember that a relationship is about two people being willing to compromise and works on things together. This isn't about winning the argument or being unconditionally understood. Avoid accusing “you make me feel”-type statements and try and take responsibility for your own feelings, whilst encouraging them to share their own.

Schedule In Sex

Some people feel that scheduling sex takes away the excitement – that it becomes like another domestic chore to be ticked off a list. But if you both have very busy lives and/or are raising children, you may find that your days of being spontaneous in the bedroom are soon sabotaged. So, work out what you both want. There is no right or wrong here. Some couples like planning time for sex, others prefer to leave it open. Most importantly, the core to maintaining a healthy sex life is to be open to each other's ideas and trying new things, while also respecting each other's comfort zones.

Don’t Underestimate The Importance Of Date Night

I’m a strong believer in making time for each other. Why is this so important? Well, just think of all those couples whose children grow up and leave home, and realise they no longer have anything in common. All those years together, but no time devoted to feeding their romantic relationship. 
Relationships between couples need nurturing and focus, it's not enough to just mumble away over the TV or communicate via devices. Isolating a special night together and taking the odd trip away, just the two of you, allows you catch up with what’s going on in each other’s lives, and keeps things fresh and interesting.

Don’t Immediately Bring Up The Things That Annoy You

First deflect the issue back on to yourself and ask if maybe you are being over sensitive. Is there something affecting your own ability to regulate how you feel? If not, the key is to avoid being hostile, and calmly mention any issue to your partner in a neutral setting. 

Sort Out Your Finances Together

It's great to be able to budget together and make sure bills a are sorted before decisions are made about wider spending. Finance is one of those areas that can cause major divisions in relationships. Again, this comes down to values. Some people value financial security more than others. Some of us are big spenders, others are more cautious. But the more you can agree on your mutual approach to spending, the better.

Embrace Couple’s Therapy

Personally, I think everyone would benefit from couple’s therapy, regardless of how they’re getting along. What a wonderful way to regulate things, and keep a relationship fit and healthy. If anything, it proves that the two of you are devoted to each other and want to make the relationship work, come what may. 

Keep The Magic Alive

Respect each other, communicate and remember to prioritise quality time together. 
It’s so easy to take each for granted after the first flushes of physical intensity have worn off (typically about six months into a relationship), but remember that you chose each other because you saw something magical in each other – keep that spark alive.
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