Are you following your relationship ABCs?

Is your long term relationship alive with passion and friendship? Or does it need some TLC? If so, here’s how to give it the kiss of life with your relationship ABCs.

When we live day-to-day with a special someone we can sometimes forget the importance of maintaining the attraction we felt during those heady first days of our relationship.

But while it’s great to be comfortable enough to relax with each other, it’s also beneficial to reflect on your ABC of the things that are important – to keep your relationship fresh, and remind yourself why you chose to be with this person.

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So, with this in mind, here are your relationship ABCs; some basic principles to remember and keep your long term relationship healthy and happy.

Your relationship ‘As’

Affection

Yes, we know we love each other, but showing affection and demonstrating that you still care is important. So remember to keep providing little touches, giving reassurance that you’re still attracted to your partner and are paying attention to their wants and needs.

Ambitions

Don’t forget your aims, ambitions and goals. Even when you’re in a committed relationship, it’s important to continue stretching yourself and working towards your dreams. Your desire to improve and achieve the things that you care about keeps you exciting and stimulated. Keep sight of the person you were when you both met, with your flame still burning bright.

Activity

Activity matters also matters – and in particular, doing things together, sharing interests and time because you want to be in each other’s company and lives. It’s about being available, eager and enthusiastic together, rather than sitting things out or saying ‘you do it’. And sharing interests gives you the potential to enhance your social life, ensuring you have plenty to talk about together.

Apologies

Be quick to apologise when you’re in the wrong, but focus on what it is that you’re apologising for. Avoid getting into the habit of wearily saying ‘sorry’ automatically. It may be that you felt you needed to speak up, but are sorry for the aftermath and upset that ensued, or the way your tone sounded. Be clear when you apologise.

Your relationship ‘Bs’

Boundaries

Just because you’re a couple, it doesn’t mean you have the right to invade each other’s space. Some people may prefer to keep certain personal things private or want times reserved for themselves. Discuss this and respect each other’s right to have some ‘me’ time.

Beauty

Look after your beauty, the inner big-hearted you, as well as taking care of yourself physically. Self-care is not about vanity; it’s about taking personal responsibility and is also a compliment to your partner that you care enough, and fancy them enough to maintain your attractiveness, both physically and in your approach to life.

Bossiness

Beware of bossiness. Relationships can evolve into one person becoming more dominant, in charge, even controlling. Be alert to slipping into critical teacher or parent mode. Just because your partner says nothing or goes along with things doesn’t mean this behaviour’s okay. A pattern can emerge over time where commands and instructions are routinely issued, along with blame if things go wrong. Notice if you’re becoming unpleasant, over-critical, harsh or judgmental in your approach.

Your relationship ‘Cs’

Companionship

Companionship is important. Demonstrate that you’re choosing to spend time with you partner, and relish being a good friend, enjoying chatting and being together. Closeness is about support, feedback, conversation, delighting in each other’s company and making the most of those opportunities.

Children

Have the conversation about how you feel about children sooner rather than later. Some couples wait until their relationship is well-established before they discover that their partner feels very differently to them about having children and a family. It can be a deal-breaker, so discuss it early on.

Couple time

Ensure that any children you do have appreciate that you regard regular couples time together as important. Choosing to share private time reinforces the strength of your relationship, even if it’s simply spent together over a take-away supper whilst you sit and chat.

Collaboration

Collaborate, co-operate, compromise and communicate. Invest in your relationship every day. What might be important to you may be less so to your partner. Communicate your needs, but listen to what’s important to them too.

Charity

And finally, be charitable. Sometimes there will be slip-ups, mistakes, omissions or faults. Accept those times, be sensitive and have the tough conversations about them. We’re all human after all.

Remember your relationship ABCs

Remembering your own ABC can help to keep your relationship on track, up-to-date and a special part of your life and support network. These pointers ensure you maintain your emotional health and wellbeing, as well as your relationship.

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Susan Leigh practises lifestyle therapy, counselling and hypnotherapy in Altrincham and Cheshire. Find out more on her website.