We’ve all been there, you’re a year into your relationship and you start wondering ‘are we in a good place?’ and ‘is this relationship healthy?’. Unfortunately, only you can answer that question, but there are some things that successful relationships have in common.
1. Have similar social groups
While it’s really important to have your own group of friends to give yourself some time outside of your relationship, science says that sharing a social network of friends and family can enhance the quality of your relationship.
Having a social circle which includes your other half allows you to spend time in which you step out of the ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’ mind frame and go back to just being friends. The idea is that this feeling transfers into your relationship.
As my Mum always said – ‘your husband should be your best friend, because romance will fade!’.
2. Box set binging
If you don’t share a social group with your beau, don’t worry. Science also says that ‘shared media experiences’ (aka binging on your fave Netflix show together) helps couples to share the same emotions and feel the same connection to what they’re experiencing.
In some cases, it may just be the fact that you’ve just sat on the sofa with the same person for eight hours straight. But the study asked 128 university students about their relationships and highlighted that watching media together strengthens a relationship.
This is my relationship golden rule. We’ve all had those awkward evenings where one of us is upset, but refuses to share it with the other. This is the wrong way to handle a problem. If you view your relationship as a team effort, it becomes easier to solve problems.
Communicating the things that make you upset, angry, frustrated and especially the things that make you happy can really improve your relationship. Plus, nine times out of 10, your other half probably hasn’t realised what has made you upset and so can’t fix it unless you communicate!
There is a perception that once you’ve clocked up a certain number of years in a relationship, things get boring. This is true in some cases, but the reality is, the state of your relationship depends on you and the effort you put in.
To keep the excitement in your relationship, put time aside each week or each month to do something new or different. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, think picnic in the park, coffee in the city, or even something simple like building a den in your bedroom!
As long as you keep experimenting together, you’ll find yourself doing new and exciting things all the time.
5. Alone time
Even though a relationship is a support system, you can’t lose sight of yourself and the things you like to do, so it’s important to get alone time.
Although I live with my other half, I still make time for myself by going to the gym, watching my favourite TV show in another room, or even just reading my book while he plays FIFA.
All of these things remind me that while I’m in a great relationship, I’m still my own person and I still enjoy my own company. Plus, you know the old saying is true, absence makes the heart grow fonder!
So there are my thoughts on how to maintain a successful, balanced relationship. Have you ever had to work hard at one of these tips? What worked for you?