Relationships, like fine wine and Daniel Craig, tend to get better with age. More trust, deeper intimacy and true partnership make long-term relationships pretty spectacular. Truth be told, though, there are few things more exciting than the first few months of dating.
Sure, feeling so nervous that you trip over the restaurant door mat and can’t say your own name without stuttering is tough, but the anticipation and newness of dating is a unparalleled rush. Relationships don’t necessarily need to lose the excitement of those early months along the way, though.
It takes a little work (and a few relationship tips), but as Hannah Montana so eloquently put it, you can have the best of both worlds. Need a few pointers?
Never Stop Dating
First things first: Remember the very beginning of your relationship, when even a trip to Chipotle was exciting? (OK, going to Chipotle is always exciting, but you get the idea.) Dating someone is so fun largely thanks to the dates you’re going on, whether they’re trips to a local brewery, a days spent at the beach or a night in at home making your own homemade guacamole.
It’s the intention behind these events that counts– so don’t stop planning activities to do together once you already know you’ll spend every Friday night together. There’s a time and place for “Bob’s Burgers” marathons, and that time is not every single Saturday.
Spend Time Alone
The time you spend when you’re not with your significant other is just as important as the time you do spend with him or her. When you love someone, it’s easy to want to spend every waking hour with that person– and that’s OK! Just like “Bob’s Burgers” marathons, though, you can have too much of a good thing– and stop appreciating it.
You want to make sure you’re still spending time doing your own things, focusing on yourself and hanging out with your friends and family. No matter how much you care about your significant other, it’s important to remember all the other people and things you care about, too.
Not only will this keep your life outside of your relationship totally intact, but carving out a little of your own time is great for keeping things interesting in your relationship.
My favorite thing about the new phase of a relationship? Flirting. This is different for everyone (for me, it’s witty banter– sarcasm is my language of love), but it’s one of the only things that will get you so flustered that you spend 10 minutes crafting your next text message.
There are a million ways to flirt (and none of them are wrong), but it’s best to think back to what sparked your mutual interest in the first place. Flirting can be as simple as simple as texting throughout the day or playing a round of pool. It takes a little extra effort after a while, but it’s well worth it.
Don’t Forget Your Friends
You already know you should spend some time with your friends outside of your relationship, but it’s just as much fun to spend time with your friends together, too. If your circles don’t overlap, don’t sweat it. You can take turns going out with each other’s groups or stage a massive hangout with both. (As a bonus, your single friends will probably thank you.)
As crucial as one-on-one time is in a relationship, there’s something so fun about spending time out with a bunch of people you know and love. If you two constantly find yourself curled up on the couch in your sweats with a pizza, it may be time to mix up your routine. (Not that I’m bashing pizza, of course).
Make a Bucket List
One of the best things about having a significant other is having a partner, so why not take advantage of your awesome situation? Sit down and write out everything you’ve wanted to try and do– your goals can pertain to everything from careers to traveling to adventure sports to sex.
The longer the list, the more fuel you’ll have. After you’re done, start with the tasks that are viable now, and do as many as you can with each other. Everything on the list is something that’s guaranteed to get you excited– about your relationship and your life in general.
Learn Something New
This tip goes hand in hand with making a bucket list, but is usually a little easier (or more embarrassing, depending on what you’re learning). Many couples take cooking and dancing classes together, but you can also mix it up with something totally different.
Have you always wanted to get scuba certified? How about brew your own beer? There are a million cool classes out there to take, and who knows? You might just find your next passion when you try them out.
Keep It Low-tech
Don’t get me wrong, I’m as emotionally attached to my smartphone as anyone else, but technology has a way of hampering face-to-face (or, err, body-to-body) interaction. We tend to keep our phones by the bed, our laptops on the floor next to the bed and the TV 5 yards in front of us on– all at the same time.
Unfortunately, it’s pure logic: Our environments are so tech-saturated that the stuff we find on our screens becomes more appealing than the people around us. It happens to everyone, but it’s important to know when to unplug.
If you find that intimacy and excitement are dwindling as your relationship progresses, try turning off your tech devices as often as you can when you’re together. Plug your phone in across the room, keep your laptop in the living room and turn the TV off for a couple hours each night. Don’t worry– there will be plenty of time to catch up on “Game of Thrones” later.
Last but not least is a personal favorite of mine: mini vacations. Taking trips with your significant other is an almost foolproof way to spice things up and get a little closer in the process. They don’t need to be an extravagant trips by any means– even spending a night in hotel across town or renting a cabin on the lake for the weekend will do the trick. The key is to get away from everything– and everyone.
Of course, no amount of dating advice is more important than communication. If your relationship is fizzling out, there’s one thing you should always do first: Talk about it (and then head to that brewery).
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