All couples in long-term relationships, whether married or not, experience ups and downs. It would be lovely to think that everything would always be like it was in the early days, exciting and filled with romance. But it’s not realistic.
When the honeymoon period is over, things change.
We settle into real life together. We have money worries, work stresses and family troubles. It’s not surprising that we sometimes bicker and disagree.
You might have heard of the seven-year itch. Traditionally, after seven years of being together, people start to have their doubts. Life might have become boring, the bickering might become something more, and the grass can seem greener elsewhere. Of course, many couples survive the seven-year itch without looking elsewhere. But, it’s better to avoid it altogether.
Expect Your Sex Life to Change
Sex is one of the first things to change as most relationships settle. Once those early passion filled days are over, it can become much less regular and varied. You might have dry spells, or even find yourself seeking support for spouses of sex addicts. You can’t know how your sex life will change, but you can expect that it will.
And not just once, over your the course of a long-term relationship it will change many times, and that’s fine. Try to always be open and honest with each other about your needs, expectations and feelings. Be open to new things, and find other ways to be intimate with each other even when your sex life has slowed.
Put Your Phones Down
Mobile phones weren’t a problem when the phrase seven-year itch was coined, but they can be today. Many couples are guilty of spending their time together on their phones, playing games and scrolling through social media, not giving each other their full attention. The internet can also increase the temptation to cheat, feelings of jealousy and suspicion. Leave your phone in another room for a few hours every day, or have a no phones at meal times rule. Give each other your attention instead.
Do things Together
In the early days, we have a lot to talk about. We’re eager to learn as much as we can about our new partner, and have a lifetime of stories to tell. We spend hours and hours just talking. Then, your lives become one, and you’ve got a lot less to talk about.
The key is finding new things to do together. Try a new hobby together, watch films and TV shows, go out for walks, and spend time sharing your interests.
Do Things Apart
It can also be good for your relationship if you have separate interests. If there are things that you can do alone, and share with your partner later. Having space away from each other can be a good thing, and it will give you plenty to talk about when you are together.
Look After Yourself
You can’t look after your partner or your family if you don’t look after yourself. You might also struggle to let them love you, without worrying about them looking elsewhere if you don’t love yourself. Work on your confidence and self-esteem, and you’ll find it easier to believe that they love you too.
- How did you cope with the changes in your relationship over the years?
- Did any of the above points help you strengthen your relationship?