I have been in a relationship with the same person for almost six years now. If that doesn't entitle me to write about being in a long-term relationship, I don't know what does. And living with the boyfriend (for a year and a half now!), there are times when I just feel like
This is for the people who've been with one person practically all their lives (It does feel that way, doesn't it?). Here's how I stay sane throughout the hair-pulling/ voice-raising/ pillow-fighting (and the nicer in-between) times.
1. Get excited about something together.
It could be anything! A party that you're going together, a planned holiday,
2. Go on regular dates.
Just the two of you. A strict rule is that you can't have friends tagging along because the whole point is to reconnect. Kai and I only just started making it a habit to have at least one date night a week. And this is where we go for dinner at a new place that we've not tried before and then a movie after -- It helps bring back the old courting days when dinner and movies were 'romantic'. For couples living together, it can be quite difficult to see the point of this since... well, you live together! But seriously, it makes all the difference in the world!
3. Have time apart.
Or different hobbies. Before living with Kai, we were in a long-distance relationship for three years. Those three years apart were not nice, to say the least, but it gave us an opportunity to grow as individuals and to discover separate interests. I know there are couples who pride themselves with being recognised as One person -- I'd rather be a separate entity. But it certainly doesn't mean that I'm not any closer with Kai, it just means that I appreciate myself as being my own person.
4. Choose a hobby.
I know what you're thinking -- 'But you just said...' Well, I know what I just said. But while having separate hobbies and different interests is important, it's equally as important to have things that you both like to do together. Go fishing, watch a movie, play board games or fix a puzzle! It's all about spending quality time together. :)
5. Surprise each other.
Ok, so I haven't surprised Kai in a while now. I should probably get to it. Kai, on the other hand has planned a getaway for the two of us for my birthday without my knowing (at first anyway, he's not very good at keeping secrets tsk.) but a surprise doesn't have to be extravagant or anything. I remember there was one day when I was feeling particularly stressed about an assignment and Kai came home with Gloria Jeans' caramel latte and muffin, Hello Panda chocolate biscuits and other small treats. And it just happened that that was the pick-me-up I so desperately needed at that time. So surprise one another, it's a surefire way to put a smile on your faces. :)
These are just a few things that we can do to maintain closeness in a relationship -- there are so many others that I can think of! But ultimately, every relationship needs a good foundation; one that is built upon mutual respect, communication and appreciation for one another.