Early on in a relationship, your significant other can do no wrong. A couple of years in, though, some of their quirks you once found endearing now might make you want to roll your eyes. How do you manage this
once the honeymoon ends? These 11 pieces of advice from people who've been in relationships for over 10 years will help.
Once you take off the rose-colored glasses, everything starts to look a little different in your relationship. People talk about the seven-year itch, but honestly, things start itching even before then. A few years in, stuff starts to change. More fighting.
Less sex. And seriously, if their mother makes one more snide remark about how the pillows on your couch don't go together...
Here's something not enough of us are talking about: you might "fall" in love, but you don't stay there. Eventually, those fuzzy feelings of being head over heels fade away. When you wake up in the morning, you have to actively
decide you're going to continue loving this person, even though they leave leftovers in the refrigerator so long that they start to grow hair. (WHY?)
Keeping a romantic relationship going long-term is harder than most of us realize. These
11 pieces of advice might help.
Be Really Good Friends, Not Just Partners
Romance comes and goes. That's life. When it's temporarily absent from your relationship, what holds you together?
In fact, a survey published in
The National Bureau of Economic Research found that people who view their spouse as their best friend are almost twice as happy in their marriages.
Grow a strong friendship and you'll have a strong relationship.
Learn How to Best Communicate With *Them*
Communication is great. You know what's even better? Communicating in the specific way your partner needs.
If you've ever heard of the
five love languages, you're on the right track. Gary Chapman developed this philosophy, which says that a certain type of communication dominates each of us: Words of affirmation. Acts of service. Receiving gifts. Quality time. Physical touch.
Find out what type of communication your partner needs, and your relationship will continue to blossom.
Be A Team — Not Opponents
Ugh. This is so huge. We butt heads. We fight. And then suddenly, the goal becomes winning the argument, as opposed to finding a solution where you both feel better.
Next time things get heated between you and your SO, remind yourself that you're on the same side and ultimately, you want the same thing.
Almost all couples fight in some way, shape, or form. It happens because we're human. Believe it or not, fighting doesn't have to be a bad thing.
However, the couples who've got it figured out engage in
healthy fighting as opposed to hurtful fighting. Psychotherapist Vikki Stark tells HuffPost that you need to avoid attacking the other person's character, and instead focus on expressing your own feelings.
It's the difference between, "You're lazy," and, "I'm upset right now because you left your dirty dishes in the living room again."
Be Grateful For Your Relationship
Gratitude is good for the body, mind, and soul. It's not just some new age-y hippie dippie concept, either.
Harvard Health Publishing notes that research has found a strong connection between gratitude and happiness — including more positive emotions, better experiences, improved health, and — wait for it — stronger relationships.
Give thanks for your partner.
Practice Kindness Toward Them
After spending so much time with someone, we kind of become desensitized. Hurtful words can roll off our tongue and we might not even realize it.
Think about how you would speak to a guest in your home. Would you ever say, "Did you seriously forget to put the toilet seat down
again? What's your deal?"
Of course not. Treat your partner with the same kindness and respect you'd give to a guest.
Our precious, fragile egos hate this one, because we all like to believe our partner is always in the wrong. As nice as it would feel to be right 100% of the time, we
all take our turns being the one who screwed up (and that's OK).
When you make a mistake or do something hurtful, give your partner the same thing you'd want: acknowledge it, apologize, and commit to being better moving forward.
Be Willing To Compromise
Relationships need compromise to survive, period. Sometimes, it's small — like going out for Thai when you really wanted Italian. Other times, it's big — like spending the holidays with your partner's family because it's been a few years, even though you'd rather be literally anywhere else on the planet, including inside a dumpster that's been set on fire.
Don't Sweat The Small Stuff
You do this for your own sanity as much as for your relationship. Think of that thing that happened last week. You know, the thing — whatever it is you've been holding onto the anger from.
Wait. Pause. Think. Whenever your partner ticks you off, take a breath and ask yourself: Is this really worth getting angry over? A lot of the time, it isn't — in which case, let it go.