Is your relationship stale? It's time to fix it!
Try (exciting!) new activities.Doing things together is obviously key to maintaining a relationship, but doing the same things all the time can lead to boredom, which is linked to decreased relationship quality. Stave off the blahs by trying new and exhilarating activities together (sky diving, taking a weekend trip, riding roller coasters, a couples' massage)—doing so can enhance relationship satisfaction. And don't be afraid to get goofy! Cook dinner naked, play "the floor is lava," or practice your hide-and-go-seeking skills—playing together can boost relationship happiness.
Create a "Couple's Bucket List."Work together to create a list of things you want to do together as a couple, without the "excitement" requirement (cook dinner together once a week, go to a café or bookstore, grab produce at a farmer's market). Then choose three items from the list and tackle them over the next three months.
Kick screens out of the bedroom.Ditch the TV, laptops, tablets, and phones and pay attention to each other instead.
Make mini dates.Too busy for a weekly date night? Try eating breakfast together, meeting for lunch, or designating 20 minutes every evening for talking with each other—no distractions allowed.
The Fighting RutCommunicate about each other's needs.Bottling it up can decrease personal emotional well-being and relationship satisfaction. Plus, when needs aren't met in a relationship, the chances of infidelity and decreased satisfaction go up. Open the bottle by sharing with your partner what you need from a relationship, whether it's emotional support or splitting the grocery bill.
Name what you like about each other.Express appreciation through positive feedback (not just negative, which we're prone to focus on in a "fighting stage")—doing so can help both partners feel more attractive and confident. Challenge yourself to sit down and make a list of things you like about your partner, and then share them.
Work out together.Not only does a duel sweat-blasting session increase workout motivation, it can also improve couples' communication. (Get started with these kick-ass partner exercises!)
Talk through problems with people outside the relationship.It's easy for couples to get stuck in the same old fight patterns behind closed doors. We can benefit from hearing how other people deal with similar situations, because it can give us ideas for changing our own approach—which will hopefully change the outcome of the conflict.
If you live together, share household chores evenly.Unequal distribution of chores is closely tied to rankled emotions. Bonus: Studies find that husbands and wives who do housework together have more sex.
Bounce back post-conflicts.Handling disagreements well—by, for example, practicing forgiveness and not judging each other—predicts more positive relationship emotions and satisfaction. It can help to remember that it's less important to solve the conflict than it is to treat each other well, even if there's no solution to be found.
.Create a "fantasy jar."Write out as many fantasies as you can think of, each on a separate piece of paper, and have your partner do the same. Stick 'em all in a jar, then take turns picking out of the jar and acting out the fantasies.
Put sex on the schedule.Toss out the idea that spontaneous sex is the only way to have good sex. When we're crazy busy, sex can be one of the first things to go by the wayside. But sex (especially simultaneous orgasms!) is also key to maintaining intimacy and relationship satisfaction—so come up with a schedule for doing it and stick to it.
Sext while you're apart.It'll build anticipation for fun times later in the day. Don't want to use your work phone? Create "For Your Eyes Only" email accounts to communicate saucy messages while you're away.
Shake things up.If you're used to long, slow sessions like the ones Sting has (not really) had, change up routines by having the occasional quickie or getting jiggy with it in unusual places.
Don't forget non-sexual touch.Hugs, massages, an arm slipped around a waist—these small actions can all boost feelings of affection.
The General RutDon't be embarrassed to seek external support.It's probably not a great idea to propose couples therapy six weeks into a relationship. But for people in it for the long term, therapy is a reasonable (and sometimes necessary) choice
.Remember not all relationships are worth saving.Yes, relationships go through phases of lesser and greater closeness, but sometimes people just aren't compatible. And emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse is never okay. Not sure if you should stick around? The best bet is to see a personal or couples therapist for their take on the relationship.
Work on yourself first.Relationship satisfaction is tied to personal life satisfaction, so the happier a person is in general, the happier they're likely to be with a given relationship. Don't rely on a partner to make your life great; work to make a great life regardless of whom you're dating.