Are you having trouble with your sweetie, or just wanting to keep your relationship healthy? Relationships require time and effort, whether your love is on the rocks or you’re on cloud nine. Many couples give up when they encounter bumps along the road, not knowing that some simple strategies could have helped them withstand the tests of time. Make your relationship work by maintaining some excitement and appreciation, improving your communication, and learning to handle conflict effectively.
Method 1: Keeping It Interesting
Play together. Develop mutual interests with your partner to help your relationship grow or stay strong. It’s important to have common interests other than your love for each other. At first, passion may be enough to keep your love going, but once your relationship matures, it’s important to share common interests or activities so that your relationship stays fresh.
- You should work on sharing hobbies, whether you bake desserts together, go hiking together, or find a good book that you can both read.
- Have a couple culture project. You can decide to watch at least one movie together a week, or have your own mini-book club. That way, you can motivate yourself to learn new things and keep your conversations interesting.
- It’s just as important to spend the night with your sweetie hanging out with friends as it is to have some alone time regularly. Balancing time apart with time together promotes interdependence. Both of you absolutely need it in order to maintain your own interests, as well as to realize how grateful you are when your partner is around.
- Whatever makes you happy, be sure you are doing that for you and not expecting your partner to bring you happiness. Set objective goals and take action daily to reach them. Build a strong support network outside of your relationship. Do work that adds meaning to your life.
Show appreciation and support for your mate. Even if you think your love is rock solid, never take your loved one for granted. No matter how busy your days are, make time away from computers, phones, and televisions to catch up on each other’s days.
- Compliment your significant other at least once a day. For bonus points, find something new to say every time!
- Don’t come to expect your partner’s good deeds. Tell your date or partner “thanks” when they show up with flowers. Showing appreciation reinforces positive behaviors.
- Schedule weekly date nights where you spend time together one-on-one. These don’t have to be ostentatious—go to a movie, have a candlelight dinner in your home, or feed the ducks at the local pond.
- Check in with your partner often to make sure they are content in the romance department. You might start by sharing your own feelings like “Our date last week was really fun! It was nice to be with you in a different way. What did you think about it?”
- Just because your best friend shacked up with her boyfriend of three weeks doesn’t mean that you and your beau have to go apartment hunting ASAP.
- On the other hand, be wary if your partner delays making a commitment. It’s important to have a dialogue to ensure both of you have the same goals for the relationship. Ask, “Could we talk about where we see our relationship going?” to spark a conversation.
Method 2. Being a Good Communicator
Share your thoughts and feelings openly. If something is bothering you, it’s important to let your loved one know so you can tackle the problem together. On the flip side, your communication shouldn’t exclusively revolve around discussing issues. Spend time sharing your opinions, ideas, and dreams, too.
- Set aside time daily to chat with your significant other. Pick the right place and time to talk, somewhere free of distractions.
- If discussing an issue, stick to “I” or “we” statements. These minimize any fault-finding and allow you to take ownership of your feelings.
Be an active listener. The healthiest relationships are undermined when partners listen to respond rather than listening to understand. When your partner is talking, make them feel like they are the most important person in the universe. Turn to face them. Make eye contact. Nod or encourage them to continue.
- Use a few techniques to become a better listener. One helpful technique is paraphrasing, which involves retelling your partner what they said to be sure you got the right message. It may sound like, “So, it sounds like you’re saying…”
- Because you and your partner have an emotional relationship, it’s also good to attend to their feelings when communicating. Validate their emotional experience by saying something to the effect of “I can see that you’re hurt.”
Communicate your personal boundaries. Personal boundaries define the line where your partner ends and you begin. Even though the two of you are close, you will still have different needs, wants, and limitations. Each of you should take time figuring out what your boundaries are, and then communicate them to your partner.
- Share your boundaries in a calm and polite manner. For example, you might say, “I have been thinking about my personal boundaries and I wanted to share them with you…”
- Boundaries can be any principles you want to live by. These may include making sure your partner respects your privacy, allows you time to yourself, and acknowledges your values and spiritual beliefs.
Method 3. Resolving Conflict
- A healthy relationship should involve primarily positive interactions. If either partner is always complaining or nagging, your relationship could be in jeopardy. Know when to lay off on the nitpicking.
- Approach your partner with issues that compromise your values or the health of the relationship. Ask yourself, “Will this matter in a month, a year, or five years?” If not, let it slide.
Pause before saying something you’ll regret. Follow the 48-hour rule when resolving conflict. Anger can corrode communication and lead to words being exchanged that you later wish you had kept to yourself. Take time apart to cool off before rehashing an argument.
- When you feel angry, give yourself a day or two before discussing the problem with your partner. Use the time to care for yourself emotionally. Spend time with friends (without venting about your partner). Journal. It may even help to jot down your thoughts about the disagreement.
- When you’re feeling calm, bring up the issue in a courteous tone. Again, use “I” statements like “I was really disappointed that you flaked on my performance the other night. It was a big deal to me. And I’d hoped you’d be there.”
- When you and your partner are on different sides of an issue, decide who cares about the issue the most. If it’s not that important to you and your values aren’t violated, be willing to give in for the sake of your relationship.
- Always remember that it’s important that both people are willing to make a sacrifice. If you find yourself always giving in to your loved one’s needs, big or small, it’s time to have a talk.
Check-in regularly to catch small issues before they blow up. If you want to avoid having big serious talks all the time, remember that if something small ticks you off, you can tell your significant other without making a big deal about it. That way, you can avoid being passive-aggressive or having built up tension.
- Choose a time when you both are free to sit down each week and discuss the health of your relationship. It might be a good idea to jot down some feedback, both positive and negative.
- For example, you might compliment your partner and offer some constructive criticism. Say, “It was so thoughtful of you to pick my mom up from the airport on Monday. Thanks again for that. I did want to point out that you’re still having problems getting your chores done. Is there something I can do to help you improve in that area?
- Also, give them the benefit of the doubt always. It’s easy once you’ve known someone for a while to start assuming what they did or didn’t do. Avoid this tactic and give your partner the liberty to evolve with time like anyone else.
- Professional counseling may be just what the two of you need to build healthier communication patterns and make your relationship work.
So, now you know how to make from online dating into relationship and keep it going. Use it and give us feedbacks