Summer romance is great! It's easier to meet at this time of year; the longer days and nicer weather let folks have a freer sense about themselves and getting involved in activities. So as we move into the second half of summer (presuming you live in the Northern Hemisphere), lots of summer romances are in full swing. However, because it's the halfway mark, perhaps you may have started to get some concern about how to make your summer fling into something more permanent.
The truth is that whether you're involved in a summer romance or are already in a committed one, it's a good idea to be aware of your relationship status. It's when your partnership is taken for granted that it runs into problems.
After being a relationship expert for over 25 years and working with hundreds of couples, I have noticed some common bumps that couples fall into. The good news is that if you know where the potential problems may lie, you can be prepared and learn the tools to prevent them. Here are the top five speed bumps to a smooth road in a long-term relationship:
- Annoying habits. Have you found that the traits you initially thought were so endearing when you met your mate actually have become the things that drive you crazy? If so, you're not alone! The guy who plans everything on your first date, later becomes a control freak. Or, the gal who fusses over you is so sweet in the beginning — a bit maternal later on. The remedy for this is to realize that the only thing that's changed is your perception. Try to not focus so hard on the annoying trait but take a broader look at the whole person — both good and bad.
- Not feelin' the love. Not many people are forewarned that love comes and goes. This is normal. There will be times where you just won't be feeling all that good loving energy toward your mate. Don't get nervous and act on it. It will return.
- Boring. In a long-term relationship, one of the benefits is its consistency. We know we can count on our partner. One of the downsides is that this consistency can get boring. The easiest fix for this is to mix it up with some novelty. Don't worry if you're not adventuresome — you can still change things without going to extremes. For instance, if you go out to eat, try different restaurants or try a different activity together.
- Lack of desire. This can occur for a number of reasons: so much is going on in life that's stressful that it gets in the way of your physical relationship. If this is the case, set a time for intimacy. Though this may seem mechanical, realize that when you were dating, you also scheduled intimacy; you knew that the night of your date is when you'd have sex. Another reason there may be a lack of desire is due to some boredom. Try doing some things differently. Finally, you just may be hanging around too much with each other; part of desire for one another will be enhanced by not spending every waking moment together.
- Not mattering. This is one of the most common complaints I hear from my couples. It results because after a couple makes a commitment to each other, the niceties of the "Honeymoon Phase" go away. During that time, it was as if nothing else was more important than your mate. But, after you make the commitment, you tend to put other things first. The easy solution is through doing little things like showing appreciation, asking about his or her day, noticing things about the other person, etc. Basically, the little things will go a long way.
Oh yes — please know that it's normal to fight ... as long as you fight fair! Nothing in life comes without challenges. However, being aware of what they are and knowing how to handle them will empower you and your ability to have a successful relationship!
Finally, as you work towards these goals, and start to reap the connected, loving relationship you desire, bask in the glory of knowing that you worked hard and have created something very special!
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