Things I have learnt to keep a relationship alive.
Yes, I know I’m currently single but man have I learnt a lot from past relationships. Who hasn’t?! Some people think that being in a relationship in your early 20’s makes no sense at all. They assume you’re wasting away your youth; however I couldn’t disagree more. During this time it’s fun (and always should be no matter your age), you learn valuable lessons and you truly find what you need in a partner and what they need in you. Dating & Relationships should be an exciting time and you should never stop making effort for one another. Here are some things I have learnt…
Making time for a “Date Night”
Everyone is busy, I get it! Between being over-worked, having family and social commitments, there is hardly time to fit in an episode of Netflix, let alone have quality time to spend with your partner. When was the last time you and your partner had a Date Night, just the two of you or put away your phones and switched off the TV to have quality time together? I love getting out of the house; I get cabin fever being cooped up all the time. But now and then I do also love a good night in with a movie, doona, a few bevvies and snacks. Date night doesn’t have to always be out of the house nor do you need to spend a fortune. Just carve time out to be focused on each other, once a week or fortnight. I saw on Pinterest this amazing Date Night idea, it a Date Night Jar. What an amazing way to avoid the “What do you wanna do?”, “I dunno, you?”
All you need is a Mason Jar, coloured icy-pole sticks and a Sharpie. Point to note: colour code to identify different categories and make a key on the inside of the jar lid. Make 100 date ideas; include what you love, what your partner loves and what you both love doing together. Better yet how about adding in a few of those Bucket List things you’ve always spoke about wanting to do. Now to categorise the dates; categories can be: Out of the House, Free, Indoor Activities and Outdoor Activities. For some amazing ideas click on link at the bottom of the page.
Set honest expectations from the start
Over the past 7 years of dating and relationships this would have to be in my opinion the most important rule when it comes to any kind of dating and that is to be clear on what your expectations are with the relationship. If you see it lasting for the long run, then make sure that your partner knows that. If you’re looking for someone just to have sex, then say that as well. Being honest with your expectations is fair on both of you, it shows confidence and respect. Too many of us by-pass this whole rule to avoid the awkwardness of not being on the same page and ending up alone. But I know I would rather be honest than to find out weeks later I have wasted my time and energy with someone who did not have the same feelings. Or even worse to actually be that person that lets the other cruise along, all the while they have more feelings on where this is heading.
You can still have friends
Never exclude yourself from your circle of friends to hang out with your partner 24/7. Your partner isn’t the only thing that’s important in your life. You still have other people who want to spend time with you. Be sure to keep up with your friends and do fun things together. They have been by your side for years and you need to give your partner space to keep the relationship fresh.
Nagging isn’t cool
We’ve all been told ‘chill’ and ‘stop nagging me’. If you’re anything like me I like sh*t done yesterday not tomorrow. I’ll admit it; I can be nag if I feel I am not being heard. Your partner will do things that piss you off, as you will to them. Don’t nag. This is immature and you will lose your partner’s respect for doing it. Openly and calmly discuss your opinion and why you feel the way you do. Say things when you think of them before they build up and you explode at your partner.
Keep your relationship semi-private
It’s ok to post a couple of cute pictures here and there on Instagram and Facebook, but the reality is that people really don’t want to see pictures of you kissing multiple times per day *cue the spew bucket*. While people may be happy about your relationship, they don’t want to hear about it 24/7.
Always be yourself and let your partner do the same
Let yourself and your special someone be themselves. You were attracted to this person for a reason, and there’s no need to try and change them. Never let someone try to change you; you are who you are, and if that’s not good enough for either of you, then lets be honest this isn’t really a relationship that’s going to work.
Communication is important
Open communication is critical in a long-lasting relationship. Each night, talk about your day, your concerns, your thoughts and your dreams with one another. There is nothing I love more than to reflect on my day with my partner, all the great things to celebrate and even the shitty things to help you wind down, re-focus and move forward. It can start to feel lonely not having someone to talk to at the end of the day, even just to be asked “How was your day babe?” can go along way. And always remember that when the other person is talking, be sure to listen and communicate your interests and feelings.
You need trust, but don’t be naive
Trust is the backbone of all relationships. Don’t hack your loved one’s phone, this isn’t going to solve anything. If you feel you have to do that, then question yourself “Why?” If situations arise make sure you trust only reliable sources and openly communicate with your partner. On the flip side, don’t be naive about the situation either. You both deserve to be happy, and if things don’t work out, they don’t. Yeah, it will hurt but why put yourself through the pain and anxiety. There is someone out there who will treat you right.
A relationship should inspire passion in both of you no matter what’s going on. When your partner walks through the door, are you excited to hold them in your arms? To kiss them? To want to do nothing but run your hands all over their body? Successful relationships turn on the passion at the start and never turn it off. Yes, of course it might cool slightly for periods of time – like after children are born – but it never dies completely, and it can always be rekindled.
Finally… be adventurous and enjoy your time together
You’re still in your 20s and you should be having as much fun as possible. Take time to do both of your favourite things. Be adventurous and try something new that you’ve both never done before. *cue the Bucket List dates from your Date Night Jar*. And remember don’t take yourself all too seriously.