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How to have a better relationship. Well how do you even know if a relationship is good? On the surface relationships may look good but who really knows what is going on deep down.

Good relationships don’t just happen overnight, it take commitment, compromise and effort. Falling for each other feels like the easy part. The challenge comes when you need to learn to cultivate that love and maintain it in a trusting and lasting way. Here are some ways to strengthen your relationship.

Understand what makes your partner feel loved.

If you have understanding of this, it can help to prevent or resolve conflicts better. For example, if your partner tends towards romance, try to show passion and make loving gestures where possible. If your partner is practical in love, show gratitude when they do tasks for you to show they care and do a task for them.

Keep romance alive.

Love activates the reward centre in the brain, but we all know that the initial excitement and novelty can fade a little over time. It is important to continue doing different and new things together as well as continuing to do things you enjoyed doing together previously. Research shows that partners who engage in new activities and experiences together have higher levels of happiness compared with those who just do familiar and pleasant things together.

Be committed.

Protect your relationship from infidelity.

Start by avoiding opportunity. The strongest risk factor for infidelity is outside opportunity. Your best chance at fidelity is to limit opportunities that may allow you to stray. Yes you could argue that, if you trust your partner it doesn’t make a difference where you are or who you are with. However, being aware that this is a proven risk factor, and acting accordingly, shows a huge amount of respect towards your partner and your relationship.

Committed people tend to avoid situations that can lead to bad decisions such as hotel bars and late nights with their colleagues. Think about your relationship and how important it is to you. How hurt would you be if you jeopardised it? Use this as a focus if ever face with an opportunity to stray. Research shows that the more committed you are, the less attractive you find other people. So the more committed you allow yourself to be, the better your relationship will be!

Deal with conflicts in a productive way.

Every conflict presents an opportunity to improve a relationship. Try to deal with disagreements or arguments in a constructive way instead of a destructive way. Focus on your behaviour during the first few minutes of a disagreement. Chances are, your behaviour in these moments can change the dynamics of the argument in the first instance and the relationship longer term.

Stay generous.

Not necessarily financially generous but when did you last make your partner a coffee in the morning? Express affection in smaller ways more often. More generous couples are typically more happy. Be your own relationship hero!

Breakup Help is a remote telephone or video service that can help support and guide you through challenges towards the end or at the end of a relationship. Book a free 20 minute telephone session here.