Falling in love with someone is the easy part. You're naturally more excited about being with someone when things are shiny and new. But when the honeymoon period fades and you've settled into a more comfortable state, that's where the challenge arises.
How can you stay deeply in love with someone for so long? According to experts, it's definitely doable.
"Relationships can last a lifetime when each person is willing to go through the muck to get there," relationship coach,
Jenna Ponaman, CPC, ELI-MP, tells Bustle. That means they're willing to work through the hardships, the boredom, and whatever else comes their way in order to create a relationship that's long-lasting.
It may not always be perfect and it may not come easily, but those couples know that. According to Ponaman, couples who manage to stay deeply in love for a long time do certain things more often than those who don't. For instance, they're good at taking care of themselves as well as their partner. They also know how to
set healthy boundaries for each other and the people in their lives. "They're mindful to keep boundaries that support the relationship and do not allow interference from external sources," she says.
But that's not all. So here are some things couples who stay deeply in love do more often than couples whose feelings eventually fade, according to experts.
They Make It A Point To Really Connect To Each Other
"On New Year’s Eve I was in an amazing restaurant in downtown L.A. and sat next to a couple who spent the entire dinner scrolling through their phones," Jane Reardon, licensed therapist and founder of
RxBreakup, tells Bustle. That's a major problem that affects many of our relationships, regardless of whether it's romantic or not. The reality is, it's hard to truly connect with your partner when you're distracted during couple's time. That's why Reardon says couples who manage to stay deeply in love are fully present when they're alone together.
They Keep Their Expectations In Check
Relationships typically change over time, and so can your feelings. As Ponaman says, couples who stay deeply in love know to keep their expectations in check. "People create the expectation that in order for a relationship to last you must be in love with your partner 100 percent of the time but that is not true," she says. "Couples that stay deeply in love are willing to face the facts that they are not feeling love for their partner at [every given moment]." When you're together for a long time, it's
not uncommon to feel bored. Acknowledging the fact that there's something off allows you to openly communicate your feelings so you can work together as a couple to turn it around.
They Show Appreciation For Each Other
Couples who manage to stay deeply in love know that the grass isn't always greener. "While it may be tempting to explore a new, exciting, attractive, and interesting person, couples who stay in love know that people come with their own set of flaws,"
divorce lawyer Joryn Jenkins, tells Bustle. They're happy with the ones they have and actively work together to remember why they chose each other in the first place. They're appreciative of their partner and show it. "If you're married, remember that you vowed to be together 'for better, for worse,'" Jenkins says. "Sometimes, it’s a 'for worse' period. But, this too shall pass. The good times will return if you weather the storm together and don’t jump ship."
They Have New Adventures Together
Over time it's very easy to fall into a comfortable routine with your partner. But as we all know, that can lead to stagnation. That's why
Stella Harris, certified intimacy educator and author of Tongue Tied, tells Bustle that couples who stay deeply in love know when it's time to get spontaneous. "It's important to keep trying new things, both separately and together, to keep a sense of excitement and novelty in your lives," she says. "Learning something new together can also help with the anxiety and self consciousness around asking for or trying something new." This can be applied to trying new things both in and out of the bedroom.
They Have Lives Of Their Own
Couples that stay deeply in love know when to spend time apart. "If you are deeply in love you are able to see the clear boundary between a healthy relationship and one that is not," Ponaman says. "You support the relationship by allowing yourself and your partner to have time alone because you understand that having that independence brings you back to the relationship in a well-balanced mindset." Having a balanced mindset is essential to relationships that thrive. "This can only be achieved by working on your self independently of anyone and anything," she says.
They Keep It Light And Playful
Relationships don't always have to be super serious. Couples who stay deeply in love know how to push each other‘s buttons in a healthy way. They tell jokes, tease each other, and get the inside scoop on each others lives. They like staying "in the know" and connected. "If you can be lighthearted just as easily as you can be open and vulnerable about the deep things then you know you have a solid foundation for a relationship thrive," Ponaman says.
They Find Little Ways To Keep The Relationship Moving Forward Each Day
Couples who manage to stay deeply in love keep working on the relationship especially when things are going well, psychotherapist and relationship expert,
Laura F. Dabney, MD, tells Bustle. They don't take the relationship for granted. No matter how in love they are with each other, they know things can change and will find ways to keep each other interested. As Ricciardi says, you should always be trying to make your partner feel special. Working on the relationship each day doesn't even have to be a big deal. Being a kind, respectful, and thoughtful partner shouldn't be too difficult. "Keep things flirty and fun, but always keep your word and be there for your partner," she says. Consistency and reliability are also key.
Relationships are tough to maintain long-term. If you get too comfortable and allow things to slip, it can have consequences. But if you make the conscious effort to nurture your relationship and stay connected to your partner, you two can stay deeply in love for many years to come.