- New couples experience more day-to-day variability than long-term couples in areas like satisfaction, commitment, and conflict.
- To keep desire alive in a relationship, one must learn to flow with it.
- It helps to build a solid foundation with your partner in the initial stages to unlock the joys of a long-term connection.
- “I know she is the love of my life, but what if we get bored of each other over time?”
- “We’re disagreeing on almost everything at the moment. Is this how it’s going to be for the rest of our lives?”
- “I don’t think my partner is my favorite person all the time. How do I tell them this without hurting their feelings?”
Relationships are living, breathing entities – they are not supposed to stay stable throughout your life. However, many long-term couples will tell you that the first few years of their relationship were especially difficult – full of adjustments and arguments.
While pop culture might have you believe that finding love makes your life perfect in every way, there are many things you should prepare yourself for when the buzz of the honeymoon phase begins to wear off. Here are two.
1. How you feel about your partner changes every day.
You are not going to dote over your partner 24/7. They will bug you, bore you, or sometimes say things they do not mean. As a result, the way you view your partner might shift, followed by your view of your relationship. Today, you may feel like you were meant to be. Tomorrow, it could all feel like a big mistake.
According to research published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, new couples experience more variability on a day-to-day basis compared to long-term couples in the following six relationship areas:
Therefore, it is natural for your feelings for one another to wax and wane, especially when you are still learning about each other. If you still feel bothered by the volatility of this early phase of your relationship, remember that if most problem areas of your relationship are addressed now, it will help pave the path for a more stable future.
It is almost always better to have the argument (civilly) and make up after instead of suppressing your anger and having it blindside you and your partner later.
2. A long-term relationship does not guarantee long-term attraction.
This is usually a hard pill for most young couples to swallow. It has been well-established that desire and attraction are fluid. To keep desire alive in a relationship, one must learn to flow with it.
According to NYU professor and researcher Zhana Vrangalova, this journey begins with open and vulnerable communication about one’s desires and sexual fantasies. Simply assuming that your partner will always be attracted to you and doesn’t want to experiment sexually can be dangerous for the longevity and quality of your relationship.
Keeping the flame alive is a responsibility both partners have to take. Vranaglova highlights that the risk of infidelity increases with time in a relationship. It is far easier to maintain attraction and sexual desire than to bring it back from the dead.
The honeymoon phase of your relationship will not last forever. Research published in Personal Relationships identifies two relationship stages after the honeymoon phase: "defining" and "established." During the defining stage, couples label the relationship, determine the seriousness and longevity of the relationship, and begin mapping out individual and shared responsibilities. Established couples embark on a more committed and future-oriented relationship, where they may begin planning years, if not decades, in advance.
Anyone who has been in a fulfilling long-term relationship will tell you that there is so much more to cherish in a relationship than just the initial spark. You should work hard to build a solid foundation with your partner in the initial stages so you can unlock all of the joys of a long-term connection.
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