Dating can be brutal, but that doesn’t mean that finding love is impossible. It’s out there and happy couples do exist. So what’s their secret to making it work and staying happy together long-term? Easy — they do these 13 things to keep their relationship strong:
They laugh together. Laughter not only has the amazing ability to release endorphins and induce a sense of comfort, but it also makes dealing with the crappy things life throws our way every once in a while a little bit easier. Being able to laugh when things are anything but funny can be a lifesaver at times and really cut the tension when it feels like everything’s going to explode.
They spend time apart. Even love needs a breather. Spending every second with someone can feel confining and it won’t be long until one or both people feel suffocated. Happy couples are smart enough to know that they should take a night off and head out with friends, binge something on Netflix, do some crafts, whatever works.
They stay present and attentive to one another’s needs. Being comfortable in a relationship is what many couples strive for, but it does have its downfalls. It can make us reliant on the fact that we know (or think we know) what’s happening and unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Happy couples know that they can’t take their partner or their relationship for granted and that they need to pay attention to the state of things on a daily basis so they can address any issues that arrive immediately.
They never go to bed without finishing a fight. As tempting as it is to huff off to bed after a particularly intense conversation or argument, staying up and reaching an agreement (even if it is only an ‘agree to disagree’ resolution) keeps the lines of communication open and shows that they care enough to see the conversation through instead of shutting down.
They have their own lives. Whether they’re into karate, take French class on the side or really like going for morning runs, happy couples know that having interests and hobbies outside of the relationship is important not just for the state of the relationship, but for the sake of maintaining their independence as well.
They never stop falling in love with each other. Love isn’t a one stop shop. They don’t meet, fall in love and live happily ever after. They meet, you fall in love and then they work their asses off to make sure they never have to spend a single day not knowing what it’s like to miss that feeling. Whether that’s arranging a weekly date night or ensuring they make small gestures of kindness and affection towards one another on a daily basis, keeping the magic alive is a must.
They’re regularly physically affectionate. Being physical doesn’t just mean sex. Holding hands, running a hand gently down an arm or just laying on the couch cuddled into each other’s arms can all help create a bond and secure thoughts of commitment and being wanted into someone’s mind. Yes, sex is important, but even little kisses and touches go a long way in continuing to make their partners feel loved.
They can see the bigger picture. Just like a movie, the real story isn’t in the beginning or the ending, it’s in the journey taken along the way. Relationships aren’t defined by big dramatic scenes, they’re defined by the small moments that catch your breath and flush your cheeks. Happy couples know that every day isn’t going to be filled with fireworks and moonlit dinners, but they know the state of their relationship is healthy and constantly being cultivated, and that’s what matters.
They constantly commit. Commitment is in the eye of the beholder. One person’s steady relationship is another person’s casual fling. Happy couples are in tune with one another’s needs when it comes to commitment, and whether they want to get married or they’re happy just being exclusive with one another, they make the commitment to stick to that agreement and to continue to care for the relationship every single day.
They always look each other in the eye. The world is a distracting place, but happy couples are ones who turn off the TV, put down the phone and lift their heads to look into the eyes of the person they fell in love with on a daily basis. They’re engaged and involved and know how to pay attention during conversations.
They know each other’s boundaries and respect them. Knowing where to draw the line isn’t easy, and truthfully, every couple will have moments where one will deliberately push the other’s buttons. The difference with happy couples, however, is that they know where to draw the line. They don’t push each other to do things or make decisions the other is uncomfortable with; they accept it and find a way to make things work for both parties.
They remember to breathe. There will be rough times, emotional times, times when they want to tear their hair out and times when they’ll want to tear each other’s hair out. Those happy couples you see wandering around know this, accept this and take it as it comes.