Long-term relationships have become something of an enigma for many as divorce rates soar and the number of single parents keeps climbing. So here are our top tips on how to maintain a long-term relationship to help keep you and your other half happy within your relationship.

Base your relationship on friendship

There’s a mutual respect that comes with a friendship that is essential for a successful relationship with anyone – partner or not. Building your relationship on the basis of a friendship can help you learn about them without the added intensity of a relationship. For example, talk about everything, literally. If you’re watching the news together and a controversial story comes up, talk about it! You’ll learn a lot about each other’s moral compass and whether you are compatible as a couple or not.

Don’t cheat – obviously

This sounds obvious but is a surprisingly common pitfall. If you have any respect for your partner and the sanctity of your relationship then don’t play away. Even if your partner can bring themselves to forgive you, they will never forget. It will ultimately eat away at your relationship and the trust will have gone.

 Share your thoughts

Your hopes.  Your fears.  Your passions.  Let your partner know who you really are.  Set aside some time daily just to talk about the things that are important to each of you, as individuals.

 Respect each other when arguing

It is all too tempting to use whatever ammunition you’ve got in the heat of battle.  Ask yourself, where will it get you? A partner who is likely to come to your side, or one who will get even more defensive?  Ask your partner how he or she sees the problem.

 Tell them you care.

After you’ve been together for a while, the fact that you care for one another becomes a given. But not verbalizing your feelings for your partner could lead to them to think you no longer care for them and become disillusioned with the entire relationship. So make sure they know how strongly you feel.

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Keep it sexy.

What might change in your relationship if both you and your partner committed to increasing the behaviors you each find sexy and limiting those that aren’t? Think about this in the broadest form. “Sexy” can certainly refer to bedroom preferences, but it also represents what excites us about our mate in our day-to-day lives.  Do you find it “unsexy” when he/she uses the restroom with the door wide open? Talk about what it specifically means to “keep it sexy” in your relationship. Be amazed, be humored, be inspired!

Experience new things together

Going traveling, trying new things in the bedroom, and even moving away to university are experiences you can share together. This can be a bonding experience and can make or break relationships but without giving these things a go how will you know if your partner is truly the right person for you?

Remember why you got together in the first place

There are moments in every relationship where you come to the point of despair, often during an intense argument. But when the feelings of ‘why do I even bother’ arise, remembering why you initially got with your partner and all the happy moments you’ve had together can lift this feeling and help you realize that all relationships have their ups and downs, it’s how you deal with them that matters.

Appreciate the little things.

Whether it’s doing the washing up, cooking your tea or surprising you with flowers, learning to appreciate the small gestures your partner makes to show that they care can only be beneficial. After all, if you don’t give any response at all they might stop bothering! You can always surprise your partner with some cute statements.