Keeping your relationship interesting when you've been with your partner forever can seem like a challenge. The big worry here is that someone may get bored, lose interest, and leave. But according to experts, it doesn't have to be that way. In fact, there are a few small things you can do to keep each other interested in your relationship long-term. The best part is, it's not that hard.
If you're already thinking of ways to keep your relationship moving forward, you're on the right track. Because complacency is a major relationship killer. "If you don't put energy into the relationship, you allow the energy to seep out elsewhere," Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, licensed clinical professional counselor, tells Bustle. "We all long for connection and if we don't experience at home, we will find it in other activities."
This doesn't necessarily mean that your partner will look for connection in other people. But it does mean that there will be distance in your relationship, and if you don't do something about it, that distance will only continue to grow.
According to Slatkin, it's important to make a conscious effort to prioritize your relationship. Making it a goal to keep your relationship interesting isn't a bad way to do that. So here are some ways to keep the spark alive, according to experts.
Show Your Partner You Care By Listening To Them
When you've been with your partner for a long time, it's easy to let little everyday distractions get in the way of your connection. Because of that, psychotherapist Vanessa Watson, LCSW, tells Bustle, “The importance of actively listening to your partner cannot be understated. Whenever possible, put down your phone, stop scrolling through your IG, turn towards your partner when they are speaking, and actively listen to what they are saying. This truly shows interest and it shows they are important."
Although it may seem like such a small thing, it's really the small gestures that count. According to Watson, these little things increase happiness, which is important for sustaining a long-term relationship. When your partner feels like you're interested in them, they're much more likely to pay close attention to you as well.
A simple compliment can go a long way. "People tend to stop telling their [partner] how good they look or how nice a fragrance smells on them," Cole says. "By giving compliments, you boost their confidence and raise the level of appreciation in your relationship." When you're giving your partner compliments, be intentional and specific. And be sure to show appreciation when they do the same.
Spend A Brief Moment Each Day Looking Into Their Eyes
"Taking the time to gaze into your partner’s eyes is a refreshing reminder of the deep intimate connection you share," Slatkin says. In fact, a 2016 study published in the journal Neuroimage found that when people make eye contact, their blinking becomes synchronized. As researchers concluded, mutual eye contact binds people and their brains get in sync with each other. It's why making eye contact with someone can feel so intense. It's a simple thing that you can do anytime, anywhere and it can help "reignite the flame of a seemingly stale relationship," Slatkin says.
Revisit The Location Of Your First Date
One way to keep your relationship interesting is to remind your partner of the reasons why they fell for you in the first place. As Slatkin suggests, revisiting a physical location where you have fond memories together is a great way to "turn back time" and feel what you felt when you were there together. "By returning to that place and remembering those positive experiences, you can actually relive in your mind and heart what happened," Slatkin says. All you have to do is maintain those feel-good vibes.
Find Time To Get Away Together
A romantic weekend getaway shouldn't be used to solve major problems in the relationship, but it's great for maintaining the spark. "Take a break from your surroundings and experience the possibility that you can live in a completely new reality," Slatkin says. "Besides providing much needed time away, traveling returns you refreshed and invigorated and hopeful that you can establish new patterns." You don't even need to splurge on anything big. A quick overnight trip to the next town over can be perfect.
Spend Some Quality Time By Yourself
Keeping your relationship interesting doesn't require you to take a solo trip or make more plans with friends in order for your partner to miss you. "Relationships stay alive and vibrant when each person is alive and vibrant due to taking loving care of themselves, sharing their love with their partner, and continuing to learn and grow," Margaret Paul, PhD, bestselling author and relationship expert, tells Bustle. Relationships need a sense of "newness" to remain interesting. That newness comes from the emotional and spiritual growth of each partner, she says. When you're constantly doing your own thing and evolving individually, there's always something new for your partner to discover about you.
Keeping your relationship growing isn't about doing things in order to get a reaction out of your partner. It's as simple as making your relationship a priority and doing small things to nurture your partnership every day. If you can make your partner feel loved, appreciated, and wanted, they'll likely do the same for you.