How Can I Make My Relationship Better? 8 "Taboo" Activities Experts Say Can Help
Some old-fashioned dating and relationship rules have stood the test of time for good reason. For instance, kissing before you leave for work in the morning and again when you get home, is an easy way to maintain intimacy. But sometimes, doing things out of the ordinary can give your relationship a much-needed boost. According to experts, there are some "taboo" things you can do to make your relationship even better.
"For couples who decide they want to put in the effort to make their relationship better, it's important to first establish where they are," Robyn Koenig, certified professional dating coach, tells Bustle. "This can be difficult because it requires emotional maturity and trust in each other to shine a light on the darkest corners that they may be avoiding."
Some couples see talking about their problems as "taboo" because nobody wants to feel like their relationship is less-than-perfect. Talking about touchy issues like sex and finances can seem risky. It may seem better to not say anything at all than cause problems.
But that's the last thing you should do. As Koenig says, "Being real, looking at the relationship together with an open and non-judgmental perspective, and giving new habits a try allows for greater potential success for the long-term."
Doing things that are uncomfortable or may not seem "normal" for a healthy relationship may be better for your relationship than you think. So here are some "taboo" things that can help make your relationship better, according to experts.
1. Communicate Less During The Day
Good communication is one of the most important things you can have in your relationship. But you don't need to text each other back and forth throughout the day to maintain a strong connection. "While it can be seen as romantic, being available instantaneously can also have its drawbacks," Celia Schweyer, dating and relationship expert for Dating Scout, tells Bustle. It may not seem like it initially, but having less communication throughout the day can make you closer. When you're completely focused on work, school, or whatever you're doing throughout the day, you're giving your partner the space they need to do the same. At the end of the day, you can spend some quality time together and catch up. "Long and solid conversations can be better than quick and short ones all throughout the day," Schweyer says.
2. Sleep In Separate Rooms
Traditionally, when couples sleep in separate rooms it must mean that something is going wrong in the relationship. But as Christine Scott-Hudson, licensed marriage and family therapist and owner of Create Your Life Studio, tells Bustle, sometimes getting a "sleep divorce" can do wonders to improve things. "Many couples truly love each other, but can't sleep in the same bed without serious health and well-being consequences," she says. "Sleepless nights can lead to feelings of irritability, grumpiness, and resentment." It's easier to react to things poorly or say things you don't mean when you're exhausted and running on very little sleep. So if you really can't get enough sleep with your partner laying next to you, try sleeping in separate beds. According to a report by the National Sleep Foundation, over a quarter of married couples sleep apart and their relationship has greatly benefitted from it. It may be worth trying out.
3. Take A Trip Without Your Partner
One thing couples do to stay connected is go away together. When you're away from your normal day-to-day routine, it's easier to stay present and completely focused on each other. But according to Schweyer, taking a solo trip or going on a vacation with friends, can also make your relationship better. "Exploring the world apart can help your relationship grow," she says. "These healthy spaces you give out are reminders of how much you still want to be together. We usually ignore what’s always there and only realize its value after it is gone, so doing this could help with the balance." When you come back, it also gives you something new to talk about.
4. Explore Each Other's Sexual Fantasies
"When couples get too busy with their own lives, they tend to grow apart," Schweyer says. "But one thing that can keep them connected is their sexual activities." Sex isn't the only way to build intimacy, but it can have a way of making you feel close to each other. If you already established what you both like and don't like in bed, it's easy to stick to the same routine every time. But people constantly change or get curious about trying something new, so it's important to keep talking about sex. "They can try things that they might be both scared or shy to do," Schweyer says. "Taking the risk will be much easier because they 're in it together." Just make sure there's active and ongoing consent.
5. Spend Time Alone When You're In The Middle Of A Big Fight
When there's tension in the relationship, the logical thing to do is sit down together and communicate until you've resolved your issues. But sometimes, giving each other some alone time before talking out your issues can be a much better strategy. According to Schweyer, it's important to clear your head. "Have some time to think about how you want to resolve the issue, and if you can get past the issue after finally deciding what to do about it," she says. If you don't take some time alone to think about what you want to say, there's a good chance you may say the wrong thing and that nothing gets resolved.
6. Go Out With Your Own Circle Of Friends Regularly
Just because you're in a relationship, doesn't mean you have to do every single thing together. According to Schweyer, you don't even need to have the same group of friends. "Sometimes it gets dull when you just always see the same people every day. Meeting up with your old friends or new colleagues can be a good breather," she says. Needing some time apart from your partner doesn't mean that your relationship is suffocating. It's natural to want to be around others from time to time. Spending some time with your own group of friends can help your relationship stay healthy and interdependent.
7. Get A Pet Together Before Deciding To Move In Together
Deciding to get a pet together will definitely affect your relationship in more ways than one. It's a lot of responsibility. You can't easily go on a spontaneous adventure together without thinking of your pet and making necessary arrangements first. "A lot of people say that getting a pet before moving in together can potentially put extra stress on the relationship," Maria Sullivan, dating expert and VP of Dating.com, tells Bustle. "However, getting a pet shows signs of commitment and stability, and can sometimes benefit your relationship and prepare you for what's to come in the near future."
8. Go To Counseling
"Despite the mass amounts of people who utilize counseling services and have benefitted from them, there still seems to be a stigma around it," Jeannie Assimos, eharmony’s chief of advice, tells Bustle. If you and your partner have a hard time seeing eye-to-eye, turning to a professional can help. Counseling may not work for everyone, but it never hurts to try. They can work with you to give you tips on how to communicate better. They can even help you see things from another perspective. "If it all works out, you'll be glad you took such a significant step," Assimos says.
Having a good relationship means having to do things you may not have thought of before. Every couple is different. Some do really well by following more traditional relationship rules, and others do better by breaking them. These are just some of the "taboo" things experts say you can do to make your relationship better.