According to a new survey commissioned by Warner Brothers, the seven-year itch has been shortened significantly, and it’s now at the three-year mark when relationships go south and couples start to take each other for granted.
Within 36 months of being together, couples surveyed were showing signs of discontent, which can lead to the development of bad relationship habits.
Whether or not you’re currently facing the three-year mark, we’ve put together some relationship advice on how to avoid taking each other for granted – no matter what stage your relationship is in.
1. Show appreciation
Even something as simple as saying thank you when your spouse or partner brings you a cup of tea can go a long way in making sure they don’t feel taken for granted. Go one step further and tell your partner how much you appreciate certain things they do – how they make you feel, why you love them, what you miss most about them when you’re apart – to really show your appreciation on a deeper level.
This kind of behavior helps foster even more kindness and love between the two of you and will go a long way in boosting your bond.
2. Ask, don’t expect
Once you’ve been with your partner for a while, it’s easy to just assume they’re going to do certain things for you – take out the trash, make sure there’s gas in the car, deal with the household finances – but making these kinds of assumptions is a form of taking someone for granted.
The alternative is to ask for things you need or at least make sure there is a discussion around who is supposed to do what, rather than having unspoken expectations. It’s natural to fall into individual roles as the relationship progresses and especially once you’re sharing space, but if you want to improve your relationship and avoid potential conflict, it’s a good idea to make sure each of you is comfortable in those roles, and if not, make some changes.
3. Be affectionate
Being affectionate with each other – kisses, hugs, back rubs, holding hands – will help boost intimacy and make both of you feel more connected. If you get a hug or a kiss on the forehead from your partner, you’re going to feel loved and appreciated whereas getting little to no affection will eventually lead to unhappiness.
It’s easy to forget to hug your partner goodbye in the mad morning rush, but make up for it when he gets home. The more you can show your love physically with touch, the better you’ll both feel about the relationship.
4. Work as a team
One of the best ways to avoid taking each other for granted is to think of the relationship as a team with each of you working together towards a common goal. The happier the team is, the stronger it will be, so remember that you’re out to make the relationship work together.
If both of you feel like you’re on the same side, you’ll be more likely to treat each other with respect. Being in a relationship takes effort and it can’t be up to one person to do all the work and make sure things run smoothly. If you both take responsibility for moving things forward – as a team – you have a much better chance at a lasting, fulfilling relationship.
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