Whether you’ve gotten advice from friends or have scrolled through enough
TikTok therapist videos, there are bound to be several relationship tips that you’ve heard time and time again. That’s not to say that they’re wrong — communication is certainly critical to the health of any relationship and setting boundaries does do wonders for your mental health and the connection you and your partner share, but those golden rules are common knowledge for most. If you’re struggling with your S.O. or just looking for ways to continue enhancing your relationship, you might benefit from some lesser-known pointers.
The age-old advice you’ve probably heard a thousand times about things like not going to bed angry or
compromising with your partner might have worked in previous generations, but modern relationship issues require modern solutions — and suggestions that maybe haven’t been repeated over and over again. What about moments when you butt heads with your partner’s family, or when you go through periods in your relationship when you feel stagnant and think, “Is this really it?” Read on for some underrated relationship tips from the pros that just might change the game for your love life. 1 Feeling Bored Is Normal — & A Sign To Put In Effort Getty Images/Rubberball/Mike Kemp
Have you ever been in a
relationship where a lull happens a few months or years in? Did you feel bored or unsatisfied with your partner or the relationship as a whole? Alexandra Solomon, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist, author, and host of the says this is normal — and even a way to challenge each other to put in the necessary effort to make your relationship thrive. Reimagining Love podcast
“Couples will likely experience chapters of boredom in their relationship,” she tells Bustle. “They need to continue to invest energy and enthusiasm into their relationship in order to feel passionate and connected, rather than simply waiting to feel excited.” So take it as a sign to check in and make some changes.
2 It’s OK To Go To Bed Angry
Although your grandma might disagree, the idea that you should never go to bed without fully resolving a disagreement isn’t always as sound as one might think. Allowing yourselves to take a break from the conversation and revisit the next day might actually benefit you more in the long run.
“When you’re upset, you lose perspective, struggle to listen, and it’s harder to see the situation from your partner’s point of view,” says Solomon, noting that this is especially the case if you’re tired, it’s late, and/or alcohol is involved. Her tip? “Agree to press pause and resume the conversation in the morning. Bonus points for saying something generous and kind like, ‘I love us,’ ‘I trust us to get through this,’ or ‘I will be here tomorrow.’”
3 Try To See Things From Your Partner’s Perspective Getty Images/Frank van Delft
You might want to be right in most cases, but licensed psychologist
Jaci Witmer Lopez, Psy.D. says that it’s important to get out of your own head and practice open-mindedness when your S.O. sees things differently than you. “Really step into your partner's shoes and try to see things from their perspective, especially when you're disagreeing about something,” she says. Even if your argument is about something as small as household chores, understanding where your partner is coming from can even help you become more empathetic toward them. 4 Face Sexual Challenges Head-On
No one loves to admit that they’re experiencing issues in the bedroom, especially when they’re in a healthy and loving relationship — but Solomon says that it’s common for couples to face
sexual issues during their time together. “The chances are slim to none that both partners are going to want the same kind of sexual experiences at the same frequency over years or decades,” she says.
When there’s a desire discrepancy in a relationship, aka when
sexual needs aren’t matched up, Solomon says it’s key to face the challenge as a team rather than blaming one another. Talk things out, try to find a compromise, or seek extra help through a sex therapist — whatever the case, know that you’re not alone. 5 Understand That Change Is Inevitable — & Not A Bad Thing
People change, and your beloved S.O. isn’t exempt from that universal truth. “Every year, growth happens and the person you fell in love with will not always be the same,” says licensed mental health counselor
Stephanie Moir. “Understanding this will help you grow with your significant other and not resent them for bettering themself. Change is constant, and that is something both of you can celebrate together.”
Your partner might gain new hobbies, change something about their appearance, or even experience shifts in their beliefs or values. Choosing to love every version of them throughout your relationship will help you to grow together.
6 It’s Good To Spend Time Apart
Even if you’re still in the
honeymoon phase and love being with your partner all day, every day, experts say that having alone time — or even time with other people — is important. “One of the romanticized myths about intimate relationships is that more time together is always better,” says Solomon. But spending time apart can help couples appreciate each other more, she explains.
“When partners cultivate other relationships, they expect less from their intimate relationship,” she says. “There is less disappointment or frustration because partners are cultivating happiness from multiple sources.” Your partner shouldn’t be your everything, so relieving them of that pressure by fostering the relationships you have with other people — and yourself — can alleviate issues down the line.
7 Always Work Through Family Challenges Getty Images/Halfpoint Images
You’ve probably seen movies that involve the classic
monster-in-law trope. While plenty of people do experience conflicts with their partner’s family, Solomon says that the health and success of your relationship will be affected by how you relate with your S.O.’s relatives, and vice versa.
“Every family has a culture, which means that there are going to be differences in what each of your family values, how each of your families celebrates holidays, and how each of your families relates to the two of you as a couple,” she tells Bustle. “It’s important to resist the urge to judge your partner’s family and to instead be curious about who they are and why they behave the way they do.”
8 You Should Regularly Try New Things
As Solomon mentioned, it’s natural to go through periods of boredom where things feel stale in your relationship — but it’s up to both of you to make things feel alive again. According to
Jaci Witmer Lopez, Psy.D., a licensed psychologist, sharing new adventures together will definitely benefit your partnership, even if it’s just a date night at a new restaurant each week.
“It's important to have fun, new, and novel shared experiences together as often as possible,” she says. “This might look like travel, going to a concert or show, or trying a different cuisine.” Making a conscious effort will help keep you and your S.O. enjoying the time you spend together while also offering up opportunities to get to know each other in different ways.
9 Separate Living Issues From Your Relationship
you and your partner live together, then you may be familiar with how easy it is to fall into a routine where you feel more like roommates than partners. Things like slacking on dish duty or taking the dog on a walk can cause tension over time and get in the way of the romance and intimacy you share.
“Roommate problems are for roommates. It’s important to work on separating these concerns from your relationship,” Moir says. By doing so, you’ll become better at picking your battles. “By realizing that some things are not worth an argument, you can strengthen the trust you have for each other,” adds Moir. Rather than stress over who takes care of the laundry this week, maybe even tackle it together so that you can have a date night in to reconnect.
10 It’s Common To Have Doubts
Although it can be scary or even shameful to
question whether your relationship is really what you want, having that experience is valid — and even healthy sometimes. You can feel both madly in love with your partner and sad that you’re losing the independence you had when you were single, and that’s OK.
Choosing a partner is a major decision, after all. “In deciding to invest in this relationship, you are closing the door not only on your singleness but also on the possibility of other relationships,” says Solomon. “It’s OK to grieve the loss of your single identity and to feel somewhat anxious about the size of the commitment you’re making.” She notes that doubt is inevitable because no partner is perfect — and that includes you, so take that feeling as a mere part of being human.
Alexandra Solomon, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist, author, and host of The Reimagining Love Podcast Jaci Witmer Lopez, Psy.D., licensed psychologist Stephanie Moir, licensed mental health counselor
Get Even More From Bustle — Sign Up For The Newsletter
From hair trends to relationship advice, our daily newsletter has everything you need to sound like a person who’s on TikTok, even if you aren’t.
Subscribe to our newsletter >