How to keep love alive: dos and don'ts of long-term relationships

Finding love is not an easy task. Keeping it alive and strong is even harder, and unfortunately proves impossible for some people.

In reality, many couples are unable to sustain their initial attraction. Daily life, often exhausting and lacking in excitement, has a way of slowly dampening the passion felt at the beginning and of turning loving partners into bored roommates or, worse, frustrated enemies.

Avoiding this descent into marital purgatory is not impossible but it requires awareness and persistence. Here are a few tips about what you should and shouldn’t do if you want to keep the spark alive:

1- Do communicate: communication is the key to a good relationship. And there can never be too much of it. Don’t be afraid of expressing your feelings: the little things that bother you, the things you enjoy, your thoughts about life, family, friends, etc. The more you talk, the better your partner will know you and the stronger your relationship will be. This, of course, goes both ways: be a good listener and embrace every bit of information your partner sends your way. Making a consistent effort to know each other better will prevent you from growing apart.

2- Do set time aside for each other: you are busy, your partner is busy, many things have to be dealt with, your friends and family want to spend time with you … Before you know it, days, weeks and sometimes months go by without any intimate moments. And we don’t mean only physical intimacy.  We mean a “communication moment”.  A moment when you give each other undivided attention and catch up (no phone, no TV, no kids).  If your schedule doesn’t let those moments happen naturally, make a conscious effort to spend time together and talk at least once a week (dinner in a restaurant, a long walk on the beach, etc).  The more often you do it the less likely you will be to lose touch with your partner.  Once a week is a minimum.

3- Do support your partner:  People change.  Without projects anyone can become bored and frustrated, which can be fatal to a relationship.  Encourage your partner in his/her trials and accomplishments.  Do not feel threatened by them.  If you do have good communication channels, you will accompany your partner in his/her changes and you will be able to rejoice and reap the benefits of the successes together.  A good relationship is a relationship where everything is shared, even the most individual accomplishment.  The happier and more confident both partners are, the better the relationship will be.

4- Do show appreciation:  Whether he/she has a job and makes money or stays home and takes care of the house and kids, your partner does something — and maybe a lot of things — which makes your life easier.  Do not take him/her for granted or assume he/she knows you are grateful.  Feelings are always better expressed.  Make sure you show your appreciation the same way you like to be appreciated.  Say “thank you”, send little notes, buy small presents, etc.

5- Don’t focus on the negative:  when you first met your partner something — or many things — attracted you to him/her. These qualities still exist but they are now outnumbered by shortcomings you didn’t notice at first.  Or maybe it just seems that way because you are choosing to concentrate on the negative and you take the positive for granted.  Make an effort to remember what you liked at the beginning of your relationship and express your appreciation for those qualities out loud.  It will make them more obvious to you and it will give him/her a hint of what you like.

6- Don’t keep anything bottled up:  even if you make an effort to focus on the positive, some things your partner does are bound to irritate you.  That is normal.  Feel free to express these negative feelings before they get so strong that you are ready to lash out..  Remember that disagreements are often based on misunderstandings and can easily be dealt with if you don’t let your anger and frustration get the better of you.

7- Don’t harp on the past: being encumbered by “baggage” is always bad for a relationship because there is nothing anyone can do to alter the past.  If you want to give your relationship a fighting chance, you have to take your partner as he/she is and trust him/her.  If you can’t do that, it is time to move on.  Staying in the relationship while holding a grudge is unfair and counter-productive. So let go of your jealousy, resentments and other hard feelings or get out of the relationship before you make it self-destruct.

8- Don’t consider separation as an “easy” option: Faced with the difficulties or lack of excitement of everyday life, many couples today have a tendency to think of separation as their only and easiest option.  Here are two things to consider:  first, separations are never easy.  They hurt the people you once loved most or, even worse, those you should protect – your children.  Second, if you keep opting out of your relationships as soon as you are bored with your partner, you will miss out on the chance of having a profound relationship.  One where you get to know not only your partner but yourself better, and where you draw your happiness from sharing meaningful times with someone.  Excitement is short-lived.  You can think it will be easier to find happiness elsewhere.  It sometimes takes a bit of an effort to get to a good place.  But it is definitely worth it. It is definitely more satisfying to deal with problems and overcome them than to run away.

Choosing a life-partner, one who will be willing to accompany you for the rest of your life and to “do the work” to keep the flame burning is not an easy matter.

If you have problems finding that type of partner, your beshert, please contact us at www.simantov-international.com, and we will be happy to advise you!