Long term relationships are the best. You and your SO know each other so well, finish each other's sentences, and spend practically all your time together. But this comfiness can also lead to complacency, and even bouts of boredom. And that's why it's so important to keep your long term relationship fun.
Older relationships are way different than band new ones for this very reason. When you first meet someone, those first few months are a blur of excitement and movie-worthy romance. You spend most of your time with your SO, only to break free momentarily to over-share all the mushy details with your friends But, as time goes on, the whirlwind date nights are replaced with nights in watching Netflix; the sexy lingerie is replaced with dirty sweatpants, and soon you realize you are both normal people living normal lives. Sure, the chemistry is still there, and so is the love, but it all simmers down and becomes a normal part of life.
And that's totally fine. Long term relationships have a certain calmness about them that only happens after being together for years. In fact, that's what most people want out of life — the security, love, and trust that comes from having a stable partner.
There's nothing to worry about if your relationship has gotten to this point, but you definitely don't want to drift apart, or feel bored with each other. So here are some things you can do to spice things up in your LTR.
1. Do Something Daring
Why do you think horror movies are such a popular date night choice? Because nothing will bring you closer to another person than a shared thrilling, or even scary, experience. So if you want to keep the fun alive in your LTR, consider doing something exciting. According to Cosmopolitan, "When you get your adrenaline going with your man, you automatically feel more passion towards each other." And who doesn't like passion?
2. Let Each Other Try New Things
If your partner wants to try something new, even if it doesn't involve you, go ahead and let them do it. Not only is it good to have separate lives, but it's also important not to step on each other's toes. According to Lisa Firestone, Ph.D., in Psychology Today, "Love doesn't exist in a vacuum. We have to share time and activities to keep it thriving. Pay attention to what makes our partners happy, their interests, and be careful not to take actions that will restrict that happiness."
3. Surprise Each Other
Of course you aren't going to bring each other flowers every day (or maybe you are!), but the occasional surprise is a nice way to remind your SO that you're still into them. According to Amy Morin on Lifehack.org, "Arrive home with a small gift, cook your partner’s favorite meal, or book a surprise weekend getaway. These types of surprises will keep the excitement alive and prevent you from getting stuck in a relationship rut." You can also surprise each other in emotional ways. For example, if you're normally quiet, shock your SO by being the one to strike up a conversation at dinner. It'll go to show that while you know each other well, you still can't always predict what the other will do.
4. Verbalize Your Feelings
Sometimes couples can forget the L word exists, and they merely nod at each other in the morning, or pass whole evening in silence. Of course, you know how they feel about you, but it's still nice to hear your partner verbalize it every once and awhile. According to Morin, "Don’t forget to use your words to express your feelings. Sometimes people forget all those mushy things they used to say to one another once the relationship matures. Say, 'I love you,' often and don’t shy away from words that truly express how you feel."
5. Keep Your Own Identity
There's nothing creepier than a couple that's assumed each other's identities. You should both have your own lives, friends, and hobbies outside of the relationship, especially for the sake of having something to talk about when you see each other again. According to Firestone, "Losing yourself in love is one of the biggest threats to maintaining intimacy. Getting close to someone shouldn't mean fusing our identity or losing respect for our innate separateness. Couples should try to complement and support each other in an effort to become their fullest selves instead of merging together to become something else. Appreciate your partner’s unique interests and enjoy them for the vital individuals they are."
6. Spend Some Time Apart
When you spend all of your time with one person, of course it's going to get a little monotonous. But that doesn't mean there's a problem in the relationship. All you need is a little alone time. After all, they say "absence makes the heart grow fonder," and it's really true. Even just spending the evening alone can make seeing each other feel fresh and new again, and help you to really appreciate what it is that you like about your partner.
Long term relationships are so fun, but it's totally normal, and not that difficult, to continue to need to work to keep a spark alive.
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