If only relationships could stay as good as they start out. Many people in long-term relationships often find themselves struggling to get along with their partner. Just so you know, relationship problems are normal, and they can even be healthy. Learning how to accept one another’s differences and resolve problems can make a couple closer and stronger.
Whether you’ve been together for several months or many years, there are some steps you can take to address your relationship’s biggest challenges in a way that won’t dissolve into more conflict and heartache.
Agree to have a conversation with each other where you openly and honestly discuss your relationship. Ask guiding questions like, “What bothers you the most about us right now?” and “Is there anything I could do differently to make you feel better?”
Your partner should extend the same level of interest and commitment to improvement. If they don’t, then do not invest all of your hopes into the relationship. One person can’t make things work, so you’ll need to be honest with yourself and be prepared to walk away if the other person is truly no longer committed.
Validate One Another
One of the biggest reasons people hold back in their relationship is the fear of judgment or rejection. They don’t want to voice what’s bothering them for fear their partner will get angry or leave. You should not have to hide who you or how you feel in a healthy relationship.
Talk to each other and withhold judgment. Strive to listen to their problems and issues with the relationship and offer apologies when necessary. You should acknowledge their feelings whether you fully understand them or not, and you should prioritize their emotions over your own pride or ego.
Learn to Date Each Other Again
The old adage, “Never stop dating your partner,” is sage advice. It’s natural for the all-consuming infatuation with your significant other to subside over time, but you shouldn’t allow comfort to become an excuse for inattentiveness.
The main reason you enjoyed your partner’s company so much in the first place was because you actively pursued them and made an effort to learn more about them. Don’t assume that once you’ve been together for a while that you simply know the other person in and out and there’s nothing new to discover.
It might be something you thought only bored, married couples do, but scheduled sex can actually increase your intimacy and add excitement to your relationship. Many couples often find themselves struggling with an imbalance – one person is in the mood when the other isn’t, or one person wants to have sex way more frequently than the other.
There is no right or wrong sex drive, and every couple will have their own flow. Open dialogue and communication are key to any healthy sex life, and scheduling sex may help take the pressure off a relationship that’s lost some of its spark.
You might want to try something new when you get in the bedroom. Long-term couples tend to fall into a pattern and get used to having sex a certain way. While it’s wonderful being with a person whose lovemaking feels second nature, this can also become a source of boredom when things are already on the rocks.
Use your intimate moments as a chance to bond. Try Karezza, a form of sex that emphasizes vulnerability, appreciation and intimacy in lovemaking. Rather than focusing on orgasm, you and your partner can direct your attention to the sensations of lovemaking and the sensation of being together.
Staying Afloat During a Relationship Storm
Remind yourself why you love your partner and why you chose to commit yourself to them. Conflict might not be resolved over night, but if you and your significant other commit to building trust, practicing empathy and always being kind to one another (yes, even when you’re angry), then you can weather the dark days together and come out on the other side much closer than you were before.
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