Sex is great and definitely an important part of happy, healthy long-term relationships. However, it’s far from the only way to strengthen your bond and get closer with your partner. If you want to dig deep and really increase your intimacy, try these things instead.
Laugh until you (almost) pee your pants. It’s almost cliche at this point, but not only is laughter the best medicine, but it’s also one of the best ways to bond with the people we’re closest with. A shared sense of humor can go a long way in helping you feel more connected with your partner, so let yourself laugh so hard that you almost don’t make it to the bathroom in time. It’ll work wonders for your relationship (oh, and your sex life).
Rage against a shared enemy. Whether it’s the unknown jerk who keeps stealing your parking spot in front of your apartment building or Trump’s total idiocy, there’s nothing better than raging against the machine of a common enemy. While this shouldn’t be a huge part of your relationship, you’ll feel comforted knowing that you’re not alone in hating something/someone that so clearly deserves it.
Participate in random acts of appreciation. No one likes being taken for granted and most of us would never do that to our partners intentionally, but it’s true that little acts of appreciation can go a long way. Let your partner know how thankful you are for all they do for you every once in a while—and it’ll keep the bond between you strong.
Hang out with their family (or invite them to hang out with yours) for the holidays/a long weekend. You’ve probably met their parents by now and vice-versa, but I’m talking about getting down to the nitty-gritty and spending an extended period of time with your S.O.’s blood relatives. It’ll likely be a frustrating yet enlightening experience, and it’ll definitely add a new layer to your relationship.
Go through a tough time and make it out the other side. No one in their right mind would wish for hardship, but the truth is that life throws some serious BS our way sometimes and we’re powerless to stop it. If you can make it through a serious hardship with your S.O. by your side, you’re guaranteed to have a relationship that’s stronger and closer than ever before.
Take care of them when they’re sick. The thought of cleaning up vomit or picking up your partner’s 500 snot-filled tissues probably doesn’t sound appealing, but it’s the least you can do for someone you love, especially since you know they wouldn’t hesitate to do it for you. Nursing your partner back to wellness via warm tea, soup, or even just running a lot of hot baths will increase your intimacy tenfold.
Cross an item of each of your bucket lists. There are probably some big things both you and your partner want to do in life. Whether it’s to take a trip to Tokyo or to learn how to crochet, go out on a limb together to try something new and fulfill those dreams for each other. You’ll be glad you did.
Have a good cry. Simple but effective, especially if neither of you is a big cryer in general. It takes a lot of trust and vulnerability to be able to turn on the waterworks around your partner, so get to that space and you’re on the right track.
Share your biggest secret. This is perhaps an obvious one but it still bears inclusion on this list. Sure, you don’t have to tell your partner absolutely everything about you, but if there was a major event in your life or a large part of your past or personality that you’ve been holding back on, sharing that with your S.O. will not only probably make you feel better, it will bring your relationship to a whole new level.
Help them with something they really hate doing/are too busy to do. When we’re young, we daydream about getting roses or jewelry or some other grand gesture from our future partners. When we’re grown up and living in the real world, we start to appreciate the little stuff a whole lot more. Make your partner lunch in the morning when you know they have a busy day at work or wash their favorite PJs before bed so they’re all warm and clean when it’s time to put them on. These small things really do mean the most.
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