The exhilaration of the first flush of love may be temporary, but it is possible to keep a long-term relationship interesting -- even after 21 years. To have a passionate, exciting relationship, a couple must invest time and effort to avoid the common traps into which long-term partners often fall. It's easy to get complacent and take someone for granted after 21 years together, but bearing a few simple points in mind can revitalize the relationship.
Make each other laugh. Having a sense of humor helps to diffuse potentially tense situations. Being able to laugh with your partner shows that the relationship has positive energy, says clinical psychologist Lisa Firestone in an October 2012 "Psychology Today" article. Share funny stories with your partner and reminisce about past comical situations. After 21 years, you have a lot of shared history and no doubt many funny memories.
Strike a balance between enjoying hobbies and activities as a couple and maintaining separate interests. Support your partner's passions. Give each other the freedom and encouragement to explore new interests. Learn to enjoy doing your own thing from time to time. Keep in mind that if you don't maintain your individuality it can threaten your intimacy.
Use small, spontaneous gestures to show the love you have for each other. Making eye contact and holding hands can be key to an interesting relationship, says Firestone. Set aside time to talk to your partner, free from distractions. Listen to each other properly. Talk about things other than your work and kids. Slip a love letter into your partner's pocket for him to find later. Email or text him when he's at work, telling him you miss him and can't wait to see him. Plan a special date night every so often -- and do something together that you both enjoy.
Find time for intimacy because sex is important at all ages. In fact, research from the University of Chicago in 1994 indicates that the best quality sex occurs in couples who are together for 15 years or longer. Have regular sex and keep it exciting by trying new positions and locations. Communicate about what makes you feel good and how you would like to be pleasured. Look after your physical health by eating and sleeping properly -- and exercising regularly to benefit your sex life.
- Psychology Today: Six Tips to Keep Long-Term Relationships Exciting
- Linda Berlin, Psy.D. & Psychological Associates: What Makes Relationships Last
- The Hart Centre: Maintaining desire: Keeping Sex Exciting in a Long Term Relationship
- MailOnline: Yes, Love Really IS Blind! Rose-tinted Glasses aren’t Just for Foolish Romantics - They’re the Key to Lasting Bliss, Say Scientists
- The University of Chicago: Edward O. Laumann
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