6 tips for long-term relationship health, according to an expert

tfly ime when you’re in love. The first few years of a new relationship are often filled with fun dates, passionate encounters, and meaningful milestones. However, as the years go by, the current status quo can take hold, putting you at risk of feeling more like you’re being paired with a roommate than a romantic partner.

Long term relationships are hard work. However, sex psychologist, therapist, and psychology professor Laurie Mintz, of the University of Florida, says she has found some common ground among long-term couples who want counseling. Continue reading Dr. Mintz’s top tips for long-term relationship health.

6 therapist-approved tips for long-term relationship health

1. Solve problems as they arise

Dissecting the problems in your SO relationship can be intimidating, but according to Dr. Mintz, it’s easier to let problems get worse because it’s easier to ignore them than to deal with them, only to make them grow. : “The sooner you talk about it, the better,” she says.

Dissecting relationship problems can be intimidating, but according to Dr. Laurie Mintz, sex and relationship therapist, allowing problems to worsen only makes them grow.

In fact, the ability to work together to solve problems before they get worse is one of the most striking signs of a relationship built to last, says Dr. fake of the book. Being cultured: Why orgasm equality is important–And how to get there And A Guide to Passionate Sex for a Tired Woman. This ability is a sign of strong, effective communication between both parties and shows that both partners are comfortable enough to share their concerns with each other.

“That doesn’t mean you’re always happy,” warns Dr. Mintz. “Real couples have real conflicts.” But being able to address issues respectfully, while actively listening, is a positive sign of a couple’s resilience.

2. Prioritize sex

In the 1970s, psychologist Dorothy Tennov, PhD, referred to the early stages of a romantic relationship as the “limited phase.” Marked by excessive infatuation, this stage is often After this period, he said, Dr. Mintz, it is natural for couples to have less sex and physical intimacy.

While dryness and decreased sex drive in long-term couples are common, Dr Mintz said the happiest, longest-lasting couples always prioritize sex. Aside from the myriad physical and mental health benefits of sex, research shows a positive correlation between sex frequency and overall marital satisfaction.

For those who are busy with work, children, and any other sign of a fulfilling life outside of a romantic relationship, prioritizing sex may require you to Put it on your calendar. Planning sex can feel pretty jejune, but according to Dr. Mintz, our idea of ​​”spontaneous” sex actually involves a bit of planning. She points out, “Before you go on a date, you wash your hair, put on makeup, get dressed. “It was not spontaneous. That was well staged. Furthermore, scheduling a date gives both partners something to look forward to.

Dr. Mintz’s best tip for active sex after a dry spell? Just do it: “It’s like driving a car in the winter,” she says. “You have to shave the ice, and Later you can have a nice drive.

3. They accept partner connection bids

According to research by relationship psychologists John and Julie Gottman, the most enduring couples generally accept their partners’ requests for connection, or “emotional communication units.” Popular bids in relationships include—but are not limited to—sharing the highlights of your day, sending a funny video via text, initiating a kiss, or expressing a relationship concern. your relationship.

Turn towards Our partner’s bid for affection instead away Dr. Mintz says they show that we care deeply about their feelings and are thrilled to have the opportunity to connect with them. Reacting negatively or blatantly ignoring our loved ones’ offers of affection lets them know that we don’t care—or respect—their thoughts, feelings, and ideas. “If your partner is turned to you, turn to them,” she says.

4. They show love how their partner wants to receive it

Some people in long-term relationships are lucky enough to show and receive love in the same way; For those who don’t, it’s easy to fall into the trap of not making your partner feel loved or not feeling loved. For example, you may feel smitten when your partner cleans your car, but that doesn’t mean they feel the same way when you do it for them.

Filling up your partner’s cup means “give them what Surname want, not what Friend want,” said Dr. Mintz. If you don’t already know how appreciated and loved your partner feels, just ask them what you can do—or do more—to make them feel loved.

5. They have the same growth mindset

Do you believe that people are responsible for their lives? Or do you believe that fate decides everything?

If you agree with the first line of thought, you will have what psychologist Carol Dweck calls a “growth mindset” and that you are in control of your life. You can change every aspect of it, if you so choose. On the other hand, if people have a fixed mindset about their relationship, they may be less motivated to do the work necessary to maintain its healthy state.

The growth mindset sees conflicts and flaws as fixable problems that everyone can overcome together, rather than relationship-ending obstacles posed by the universe. And, Dr. Mintz says, it’s a mindset that empowers couples for the long term.

6. They try new things together

Although it can be tempting to stick to a comfortable routine, Dr. Mintz suggests SMatch things up a bit for the longevity of your relationship. She says: “Research shows that couples who try new things together engage in novel activities and end up feeling closer. So consider taking a dance class, rock climbing, or trying a new restaurant together.

Dr. Mintz says variety is the spice of life, and that applies to sex as well. “Most couples get into the habit of having sex, but sometimes, even with orgasm, it can still be a little boring,” she says.

She added, just as our sexual desires change over time, so do our sexual preferences and relationships. This doesn’t mean you should try anything you’re not comfortable with (please don’t!), but be ready to explore and try new things in the bedroom. Asking your partner to play in new ways — and inviting them to share their fantasies — can be an exercise in trust and vulnerability. “Always communicate what you want,” adds Dr. Mintz, “and don’t assume you [still] know how to press all their buttons.

Above all, Dr. Mintz says that the most enduring couples have a deep respect for their partner and are willing to change for the better. Deciding that a relationship is worth fighting for—and doing the work necessary to breathe life into it—is what ensures the relationship’s longevity for years to come.

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