It’s a sad but true fact that when the honeymoon period of a relationship fades (as it inevitably does) and couples settle into a comfortable and familiar routine with one another, damaging habits such as taking each other for granted, not spending quality time together and negativity can creep in and threaten to ruin a relationship.
We asked Kate Taylor, Match.com’s resident relationships expert for her top tips on how to nip these potentially destructive relationship behaviours in the bud.
Bad habit 1: Being negative
Kate says: “If you’re the one who’s being negative – moaning about work, feeling low, not looking forward to anything – the secret is not to burden your partner with all of it. Spread the load between your friends, family and – if you’re feeling depressed for some time – maybe your doctor too. Not only will others give you insights that your partner can’t, it will take some pressure off your other half and enable you to have more fun together.
If your partner is the negative one, listen as much as you feel you can then gently suggest they discuss the problem with someone else who might be better able to help. Don’t feel you have to play cheerleader – if you’re always listening to your partner’s problems, who’s listening to yours?”
Bad habit 2: Not spending quality time together
Kate says: “Staying-in together is a natural stage in a relationship, as it’s intimate, easy and fun. It’s also cheap! But it loses its appeal – not only do neither of you make as much of an effort to look good for At Home evenings, you’ll be interrupted by domestic duties too. Keep the glamour and fun of dating alive by scheduling dates out and about at least every two weeks. They don’t have to be expensive – picnics, walks, museums and galleries are all free, whilst a few drinks in a pub won’t break anyone’s bank. Look for discounts and offers for local restaurants online, or go to fancy places for lunch instead of dinner, it’s usually much cheaper.
If your partner is the stay-at-home type, challenge them to think of fun date ideas. Take it in turns to think of new things to do. The competitive nudge should get them off the sofa.”
Bad habit 3: Taking your partner for granted
Kate says: “Every year when Match compiles the Lovegeist report – the largest independent survey of the UK’s attitude towards love and dating – we find that small gestures of love are appreciated far more than huge, lavish affairs. Kind and thoughtful is the way to go. Often this just requires listening – if your partner has a big meeting at work coming up, text them that day to wish them luck. If they start skipping sugar in their tea, remember it and make them the perfect brew every time. If you feel you’re hopeless at this, use a diary or calendar to remind you!”