Dear Uncle Dave
What can we do to keep the magic alive once we’ve been through the first flush of romance?
Glad you asked about this all too common problem. If you look at typical measures of relationship satisfaction there are a few key things you can expect based on the research.
During the first three months you have a honeymoon period. You have made a big decision to change partners and you are focused on the things that validate that choice. They look after you better, they are more attentive to your needs – they may even give you better food! Everything is sunny.
After about 6 months reality sets in. You notice they turn up late to things you have arranged, the extended family holds some odd views and suddenly you notice – for the first time – that some of the things they told you when you first started dating are true, but not quite how you see it. You may stop going to the gym and want to spend more time with other friends. Maybe even see people from past relationships – it’s just coffee, it’s not cheating. Or so you tell yourself.
From this point on things do get better. As you climb towards the two year mark the problems become ‘loveable foibles’ and the bond becomes stronger. Your decision to stay is rewarded by pride in your relationship.
To help get through the early rocky patch there are some things you can both do
– listen to each other attentively
-understand every relationship has its ups and downs, those that survive are based on both sides being honest
-keep checking how things are going, maybe have regular meetings to do this
-go out for drinks together, keep it informal and fun before you fall into a routine
-speak to other people about your relationship, not to wallow but to provide perspective
-avoid speaking to dating agencies, they will always claim to have someone perfect for you, but you’ll never have a long term relationship if you don’t commit
-All those things that you always wanted to do with your old partner? Do them in your first six months with your new partner so you can understand that you have ‘traded up’.
If you plan together, you will stay together. Any relationship works with shared history, an enjoyable present and a future to look forward to.
Hope this helps,