13 Guaranteed Ways To Help Sustain A Long-Term Relationship
Have you ever made silly mistakes that ruined great relationships? Below we would like to share with you our tops tips to help avoid disconnections and traits to make your relationships flourish!
There are plenty of opinions out there about what you should do to ensure a happy, long-lasting relationship. Parents say that it's all about communication, your best friend swears by keeping things romantic — and don't even get us started on the lessons we all think we can learn from our favourite TV programmes and films.
With so much conflicting advice out there, it's hard to keep track of what we're really supposed to be doing to keep our relationships going strong. In certain studies successful couples have been calmer than unhappy couples. The individuals within broken relationships often exhibited quick heart rates and active sweat glands in interviews, showing a lack of trust and intimacy, which was evident in their physiology.
Four key traits of successful relationships are compromise, kindness, compassion and generosity. This may seem like a no-brainer, but kindness is about more than just “being nice.” Successful couples generously give their time and attention, with one partner frequently “turning toward” the other emotionally instead of brushing them off. Successful couples of six years plus were observed meeting their partner’s emotional needs nine out of 10 times, while unsuccessful couples met those needs just three out of 10 times according to a recent study.
There are also common correlations between individuals in short term relationships scanning social environments for partners mistakes. Rather than scanning social environments for things to appreciate and say thank you for, which purposefully builds a culture of respect and appreciation.
Here are YK Daily's 13 ways to create happy relationships with longevity...
Pick Your Battles & Fight Kindly With Healthy Conflicts
Surprise—conflicts can be healthy in relationships! If you go into a relationship expecting never to fight, then your first fight could very well lead to the end of the relationship. Instead, learn strategies for healthy conflict resolution, and talk about them with the other person beforehand.
Master couples do argue, but they know how to express their anger constructively. Instead of making accusations in the heat of the moment, explain why you are hurt and upset. Also, when a conflict does arise, start by highlighting how much you care about the other person and the relationship. Talk about both the facts and how you feel about them. Avoid the blame game, and instead be as generous as possible when interpreting the other person’s actions.
Addressing small disagreements in their early stages can actually prevent huge blowouts from manifesting. Learning to embrace conflicts and from the disagreement is an important life skill. Be open to changing your mind, if you discover you made the mistake, apologise quickly and profusely. At the end of any conflict, focus on reconnecting and rebuilding emotional bonds strained by the conflict.
While it’s important to embrace healthy conflicts, it is especially important to prioritise what disagreements are worth fighting about. No one wants to be nit-picked about every little thing, so if you feel yourself picking a fight over something petty, take a step back and reflect on your mood, the situation, and the actual cause of your annoyance or negative feelings.
Be Honest & Trust
Learning to trust another person can be a scary task, because it requires giving up a certain degree of autonomy and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. But, trust is extremely important to cultivate in a long-term relationship, because it creates security which can allow for more emotional connection.
Any issues you avoid, or truths you don’t want to acknowledge, will likely undermine your relationship. It’s better to face the truth squarely in the face right now and address it, rather than let it sabotage your relationship in the long run.
If your partner says they are doing something to make you happy, believe them. Don't overanalyse or try to sleuth out ulterior motives. Generosity is all about being giving with your love and appreciation. If they do not show the same, then re-evaluate your own level of commitment, as the relationship likely will not work in the long term.
In the age of social media, it’s easy to compare yourself and your relationship to what you see posted online. Deep down we know that people curate their social media presences to show the good and exciting parts of their lives. This is the same when people post about their relationships. All relationships go through ups and downs, no matter what is reflected on a couple’s Instagram feed. Don’t fall into the trap of feeling inadequate or unloved because of unfair comparisons prompted by social media.
Show Interest & Share Joy
Having a bad day is not an excuse to disengage. The true test of your kindness and generosity comes when you're not feeling at the top of your game. When a partner makes a bid for your attention and you still turn towards your partner with interest, this expresses your generous spirit.
Share joy genuinely. Instead of waiting for a challenging time to prove you can be supportive, learn to be a cheerleader for your significant at all times. When they come to you with good news, put down your phone and be part of their joy without any distractions.
One of the biggest dangers in close relationships is assuming the other person is exactly the same as you in their feelings and thoughts. At times, our emotional self just doesn’t want to accept that the person we’re so close to is actually different from us—sometimes very different.
As you communicate with each other, don’t listen only to what the other person is saying, but also to the emotions underneath the words. Notice whether the other person seems stressed, frazzled, sad, frustrated, confused, pleased, glad, joyful, etc.
Pay attention to the tone of the voice, body language, and what is not being said, as well as the content of the words. This is a magic-bullet solution to so many relationship problems!
Tell Culture is a communication strategy where you are open and honest with close people in your life about your feelings, thoughts, and what’s going on with you. This makes you more vulnerable and authentic. Tell them information about yourself that you think they'd want to know.
For example, if you want a hug, tell the other person that you'd enjoy a hug. However, in order for Tell Culture to work, it’s really important for you not to expect the other person to hug you. Rather, you are simply responsible for telling them about your needs and desires,. They are then free to act as they choose, based on their own needs and desires.
For open and honest communication to work, you need to remove communication barriers. Figure out your individual communication preferences and then compromise on something that works well for both of you.
While individuality is important, you need to walk the thin line of expressing yourself and your opinions without overshadowing the expression or needs of your partner. Today’s society emphasises individuality, but for any relationship to work, you need to get out of any self-centred shell and put yourself in the shoes of the other person. This means you must understand their perspective, thoughts, and feelings.
However, be sure to balance your own needs with the other person’s needs. Seek a mutually beneficial compromise on any areas of disagreement. You and your partner want to reach mutually beneficial decisions as a team. Sometimes this means not always getting your way, and that can be a hard pill to swallow, but in the end it is important for relationships to have give and take. It’s important to note that compromising isn’t about keeping a scoreboard of who gets their way, it’s about acknowledging flexibility will lead to a happier relationship.
Respect Goals, Boundaries & Privacy
Technological developments make it so easy for us to track each other and to be in constant communication. However, permitting each other to have privacy and boundaries helps increase happiness in relationships, since it builds up mutual trust.
Carve out much needed personal space in both new and long-term relationships. Encouraging this same behaviour in your partner will allow you both to grow and succeed individually. Partners that support each other’s individual growth are also able to grow together. Remember that you are in the relationship for yourself, not the other person. So, aim to meet your own goals first in any relationship, although you can also have mutual goals as a couple.
Creating shared goals early on can help the longevity of a relationship by ensuring that both you and your partner are on the same page about important life decisions like having kids, living near your extended family, owning pets, etc.
Listen & Communicate
Learning how to be a good listener is a huge asset to any long-term relationship. Being a good listener isn’t limited to just active listening skills, it also involves understanding what your role should be in the conversation. Realise when your partner is or isn't seeking advice, and is solely needing to vent. There are time to be an empathetic listener, or just a sounding board, to get something off of their chest.
Just like everyone has their own astrology signs and personality types, everyone has a communication style that influences how they interact with people and how they handle conflict. Understanding your personal communication style as well as your partner’s communication style can help you navigate misunderstandings and conflicts as a couple with more empathy and ease.
Respect & Forgiveness
Respect is an imperative aspect in any kind of long-term relationship. You must respect your partner as an individual, as a decision maker, and as an equal in your relationship. Respect doesn’t necessarily mean seeing eye-to-eye on every little thing, but it does mean valuing your partner’s point of view and input. It is also very important to respect yourself in a relationship. You know what type of behavior is and is not okay, don’t accept anything below your standard, and hold yourself to that same standard with your behavior.
Some conflicts are absolutely necessary, but in order for a relationship to recover from a conflict, both people need to embrace and perfect the art of forgiveness. Healthy, long-term relationships thrive when you can love your partner despite differences and disagreements.
Support Your Partner Through Sickness
Maintaining your personal health is key to promoting good physical and mental health. Being active is a good way to stay in shape, and boost the endorphins associated with mood and productivity. Encouraging this behavior in your partner is a way to show them that you care about their long-term health and well-being. What’s more romantic than that?
If life does take a turn, while equality is important in every relationship, some circumstances, such as sickness, require you to step into a care taking role. It’s important to show your partner that you care about them, and are willing to sacrifice some of your autonomy to support them through difficult times.
The Little Things Make A Big Difference
Let’s face it, life can get hectic! Between work, shopping, general fatigue and stress, you might be tempted to ditch date night every now and then to stay afloat. Even if you live together, it is important to take time out of your busy schedule to discuss things other than everyday life. Date night doesn’t need to be a fussy ordeal, it can be as simple as a movie night in or cooking your partner’s favourite food. Showing that you prioritise shared time together, amidst the hectic nature of life, demonstrates your long-term commitment.
Buy flowers. Compliment your partner. Take a little extra time to look nice before a date night activity. Activities associated with the courtship phase of a relationship don’t have to end just because you’ve won each other over! Continually feeling desired by your partner is an important component of long-term relationships. Simple ways to show your desire and dedication are through small romantic acts that initially attracted you to one another. Whatever worked in the beginning will probably still charm your partner, but don’t be afraid to try new things! Acts of romance can and should evolve as your relationship does.
Intimacy is a huge part of every romantic relationship, it’s what separates platonic relationships from romantic ones. Intimacy isn’t just about sex, (though that is also important!) it’s also about a physical and emotional closeness cultivated through tender day-to-day acts.
Not everyone is into hand holding or PDA, and that’s okay! Cultivating intimacy is about finding what makes you feel loved and safe in your relationship. Sex should actually be secondary to your emotional connection. If you cannot foresee yourself with that individual without sex, maybe they are not the one for you?
Take Responsibility For Your Happiness
If you expect to be completely infatuated with your partner at all times, you’re setting both your relationship and your partner up for failure. Instead of expecting a whimsical type of love, evaluate what your needs are in a relationship. Communicate those needs and move forward with your shared expectations and goals.
Relationships can and should be a source of joy in your life, (if they weren’t why would you invest all this time and energy?) Your partner can contribute (hopefully in a positive way) to your mental state, but it is your job to take action to maintain your mental health and happiness.
A huge, and very common, fear in any relationship is staleness. When the honeymoon phase eventually wears off and you feel stuck in a rut. To avoid these periods, or to help yourself break out of them, try something new with your partner. Learn a new language or how to cook together, find new music to listen to or a game you both enjoy.
When in a long-term relationship, both partners must be open to change. Afterall, change is an inevitable part of life, so there is bound to be some degree of change in your relationship. Change is often a scary concept to think about, especially if you view change as the loss of a certain aspect of your relationship. It can help to reframe change as evolution. Evolution, especially a co-evolution with your partner, should be something a long-term relationship aspires to. Co-evolution demonstrates a connection strong enough to weather change and come out stronger on the other side.