Making it to your first anniversary is something you and your partner should be super proud of. After all, not every new relationship will hit that point. But if you're hoping to have many more anniversaries to come, experts say there are a few very important things you need to be doing after one year to help your relationship last.
One of the most important things you need to do once you hit the one year mark is to celebrate. It may seem obvious, but failing to do so or at least recognize its importance can be a pretty big mistake. "Don’t ignore or downplay a first anniversary," relationship expert and author April Masini, tells Bustle. "Even when couples act cool and say it’s not a big deal, it is. Having made it through a first year is a feat worth celebrating." According to Masini, celebrating this feat shows that you respect the relationship and you're grateful that you've made it this far. Again, not many new couples do.
After the celebration is over, it's then time to look forward to the future. If you want your relationship to last, here are some things you do after your first anniversary, according to experts.
Work On Your Conflict Resolution Skills
A lot of relationship problems can be prevented or solved through open communication. "When couples dont communicate, their connection becomes compromised," Dr. Whatley says. So whenever a misunderstanding arises, make it a habit to work it out right away. Don't sweep it under the rug, she says, as that can lead to resentment. There are healthy ways to communicate during fights, so be sure to learn them.
Stop Holding Onto The Past
When the honeymoon period starts to wane, you'll start seeing your partner for who they truly are. Sometimes you'll like their little quirks and sometimes it will irritate you. Regardless of what it is, have a short memory, Dr. Whatley says. After your first anniversary, it's important to learn how to let things go. That also includes the past. "Drudging the past up with each new offense is harmful to the wellbeing of the partnership," she says. These things are blockages to connection, so don't hold onto them.
Keep Laughing Together
Laughter has a way of bonding people together. So use laughter to deepen your connection with each other. Find little ways to make each other smile. As Dr. Whatley says, "It is truly the best medicine and can increase the goodwill in your relationship profoundly."
Plan Something Together To Shake Up Your Routine
"It's important to shake up your mundane work weeks (or months) with something extraordinary," Andrea Amour, Founder at UpDate Coaching, tells Bustle. For instance, you can try planning an exciting trip together. It will not only give you something to look forward to, but it will give you a chance to help refresh your relationship. "Don't lose momentum," she says. "Many people get complacent in their relationships, which makes the fire between them 'die out.' Although you're more comfortable with each other, keep acting like youthful daters and get sexy."
One of the biggest mistakes couples make after the first anniversary is take their partner and relationship for granted. They might reach this point of comfort that they forget to make their partner feel special, appreciated and wanted. "Many couples fall into a routine and with that, the magic begins to evaporate," relationship counselor Kac Young PhD, ND, DCH, tells Bustle. "But with a little bit of creative thought, the relationship can remain vibrant, exciting and full of fun, just like the beginning."
Talk About Your Big Plans For The Future
If you want your relationship to last, create some time to set big goals together. "It's been a year, so talk big picture," Amour says. Do you want to move in together eventually? Is marriage on the cards? What about kids? You want to make sure you're both "roughly" on the same wavelength, she says. Also, be sure to aim for the "big picture." According to Amour, avoid any discussions of a timeline as that will just end in disappointment if that timeline passes and nothing happens.
Making it to one year is awesome. But if you want your relationship to last, you need to put in the work. Maybe even more so than when you first got together. If you make it a point to do these things after your first anniversary, you will have many more anniversaries to come.