We have been together for 7 years. I would say we got together on an impulse however had a happy few years together. Today I told him I wanted a break. After a year of up and downs, I’m at lost of how to make this work. We are enrolled in couple counselling however its too little too late… At the moment I don’t think we can make each other happy, it seems that it takes too much effort. A part of me thinks that this break will give us our last kick in the ass. I can’t believe I will have to start allover again at 32. Rather not think about it. 2 months ago
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Well this will always be a work in progress and never a goal I can just tick off as relationships take work each and every day. But now at least we have a normal relationship after being long distance for 7 years! We can finally live together and have a life as a normal couple – it’s taken a long time to get there but he’s worth the wait :-) 10 months ago
1. Laughing together
Some of the happiest couples in the world aren’t necessarily the ones with the fewest problems — they’re just the ones who know when to see the humor in those situations. “We have been married almost 10 years, and I have spent most of those 10 years sick,” says Las Vegas blogger Natalie Wahl. “However, we are happily married and have been the whole way throughout. I think one huge factor is our mutual commitment to the other’s comfort and well-being; our other key ingredient is humor.”
2. Regularly reconnecting in small, kind ways
“I help couples build on what already works,” says Elayne Savage, Ph.D., relationship coach, psychotherapist and author of Breathing Room: Creating Space to Be a Couple. “Give each other a warm hug when you first come together. When you get a night out, take a short walk arm-in-arm for 10 or 15 minutes before returning home.” When couples connect through touch and exchanging kind gestures, the relationship provides a natural haven from stress. “Keep your bond strong by spending at least 15 minutes a day with each other just talking,” suggests Christina Steinorth, licensed psychotherapist and author of Cue Cards for Life: Thoughtful Tips for Better Relationships.
3. Traveling and trying new things
Couples in love appreciate the value of making a venue change now and then to keep things fresh and exciting. “Travel together and do new, fun and exciting things together at least once or twice a year,” advises Danna Norek, owner of AuraSensory.com. “Traveling is one of the biggest relationship-renewal activities my husband and I have personally experienced. Simply getting away to a new location — away from home and all the obligations, routine, chores and everyday stresses and banalities of life — really sparks the passion in your relationship again.”
4. Effectively communicating and being able to admit when they’re wrong
“Couples in love take responsibility for their own words and reactions,” explains Peter and Heather Larson, co-authors of 10 Great Dates: Connecting Faith, Love & Marriage. “People are highly invested in proving that their partner is the source of their relationship struggles. Unfortunately, this posture leaves them completely disempowered in bringing about any positive change.” One of the main aspects of taking responsibility is participating in genuine and productive communication with each other. “Solid communication skills are essential if a marriage or relationship will stand the test of time,” agrees Sandy Arons, MBA, a certified divorce financial analyst. “The common denominator in divorcing couples is that somewhere along the way, one or both of them stopped communicating with the other.”
5. Forgiving each other and letting go of the little annoyances in life
Loving couples build up their tolerance for forgiveness and keep that skill active. “I’ve seen many people refuse to forgive even small infractions,” says Jennifer L. Fee, Psy.D., a licensed psychologist in Placentia, CA. “These issues will fester and remain like a toothache, thus causing people to ‘fall out of love.’ Being in a close relationship means that you will hurt your spouse, because we’re all human; forgiveness, however, is a skill, and the more we are willing to do it now, the better we can get at it in the future.”
6. Maintaining romantic elements from their courtship period
Couples in love don’t check out on the relationship for months (or years) at a time. “Pay attention to the interests, needs and desires of your partner while trying new things with one another,” suggests Brenda Della Casa, author of Cinderella Was a Liar: The Real Reason You Can’t Find (or Keep) a Prince. Often, all it takes to bring back the wooing vibe are a few small thoughtful or romantic gestures. “Micro-behaviors are all the little things that people do for one another when they are in love, but often stop doing over time — and then they wonder where the love went,” explains Dr. Simon Rego, director of the CBT Training Program at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. “I think it’s a case of chicken-vs.-the-egg: Do the behaviors stop as the feeling of being in love decreases, or is it vice-versa?” If you used to kiss each other good-bye every day or write each other notes and stopped at some point, it’s time to get those sweet, romantic little habits back into your routine again.
7. Giving each partner space to have some quality time alone
Being in love doesn’t have to mean staying in constant contact with your mate…there can be healthy renewal found in some separation now and then, too. “I’ve been married for eight years. It’s a second marriage for both of us, and I have learned a lot from French women on what keeps couples together,” explains Jamie Cat Callan, author of French Women Don’t Sleep Alone: Pleasurable Secrets to Finding Love. “Surprisingly, it’s not about staying close. Yes, some closeness is wonderful, but then it should be followed by periods where you have a sense of being apart — i.e., separate. Once you come together again, you bring something new and interesting into the marriage. Plus, there’s the deliciousness of a romantic reunion.”
8. Staying physically fit and active together
“When couples exercise together, they are supporting one another, spending time together and releasing endorphins, which connect you with your partner and make you feel good,” says Leon Scott Baxter, founder of CouplesCommittedToLove.com and author of The Finance of Romance: Investing in Your Relationship Portfolio. “Also, when you exercise together, you motivate each other — which helps keep you both going.”
9. Showing frequent appreciation and affection for each other
“I believe nurturing fondness and admiration can be one of the biggest factors when it comes to couples who are still in love after many years,” says Carrie Krawiec, LMFT, a therapist who practices at Birmingham Maple Clinic who also serves as executive director of the Michigan Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. “Showing frequent and genuine appreciation for your partner’s positive traits and behaviors and accepting and understanding your own role in the qualities you resent is the best way to keep a relationship positive and loving rather than letting things become hostile.”
10. Keeping things steamy in the bedroom
Couples in love know how to express themselves between the sheets. “Keep your sex life active,” advise Patty and Greg Kuhlman, the originators of Marriage Success Training. “Schedule a regular date night together, especially if things are slowing down,” advises the couple. “You’ll be surprised how much the anticipation will whet your appetite — just like it did back when you were dating. Overcome any disagreements about initiating intimacy and active/passive roles by taking turns. The brain chemistry stimulated by sexual activity is critical to renewing your bond.”
tend to go for women with too much money who are needy and as shallow as me. also sign on and steal off friends and family. 18 months ago
How I did it: I met a wonderful man almost 4 years ago. I never thought that I would meet someone that was this perfect for me. It does take a lot of work, it did not just show up on my door step. We are all humans, we all make mistakes, we all have flaws. People have to learn to love eachother, no matter what. I mean I totally understand that some people just are not right for you and I've been through relationships where it has been that way.
Never miss an opportunity to tell someone you love them. I hope with my whole heart that everyone can find and have a relationship like I have. :) Read how I did it… 2 years ago
How I did it: So, let's start by saying: this relationship did not end in "happily ever after" or marriage or moving in, etc. We broke up. That's OK.
The relationship was a process of growth for me and I love the person very much. He loves and cares about me too. Unfortunately (and fortunately), part of having a healthy relationship is to realize and acknowledge compatability, strengths, weaknesses, what works for you and what doesn't.
I was somewhat depressed before I got reconnected with the guy and so I had started going to therapy (TOTALLY RECOMMEND THIS TO EVERYONE, DEPRESSED OR NOT) and then I got reconnected with the guy. Lots of trust issues with this guy and with myself, lots of abandonment issues in my life, etc. So, therapy turned into a process of working on myself through my perspective and relationship to the relationship itself.
Through the months I learned when I was reacting at him for things internal to me and when I was actually healthfully relating to him. Communication was somewhat lacking and I had trust issues I had to overcome (and still do) but I learned where my limits are and how to communicate them to him. Through that, we also learned eventually that in the current situation (long distance, about to get longer because of his work) that we just couldn't sustain the relationship and that maybe some day when he's back and things are different that we'd try again (no waiting, no expectations, just positive caring feelings). I also learned that learning to trust someone is both earned by the other person and a leap of faith at the same time. We hit some bumps but the fact of the matter is, if you don't WANT to trust someone you can undermine that (and so can other people). Trust starts with the benefit of the doubt and you can't factor in what OTHER people have done into a new situation.
So, all in all, I did it through therapy, lots of communication and ASKING that the other person be there too, advocating my needs and speaking up (which I've had a tendency to do).
This is not a one size fits all sort of thing. You have to identify what is blocking you from having a healthy relationship and strive on.
He and I are shifting into a new sort of relationship and it's had its bumps and turns. It's been hard to navigate for me but I feel successful in this goal. We were healthful even through the end and when it got to a point where it was going to lose that aspect of itself we called it quits. I'm proud of myself for that. Read how I did it… 2 years ago