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Sex + Relationships

5 Simple Ways to Improve a Struggling Relationship

In my (far-from-expert but still valid) opinion, one of the most important aspects of a relationship is the equity of effort that is put into it. Nothing is solved overnight or on its own, and long-term resolutions can only stem from an equal intrinsic drive from both people to do better. Here are some ideas on how to work towards improvement!

Identify the problems.

No relationship is perfect, no matter how long you have been together. But sometimes, issues can be easily resolved by just determining what the root cause is. Take some time to seriously think about what you’re looking to improve before talking to your partner.

Ex. Not seeing enough of each other? See if you two have been scheduling enough time to be together. Busy people can’t go out on a whim; you’re not children anymore! You both probably work jobs and/or are in school, and life can be pretty hectic. Try setting specific times to go out, or even just get together and do homework!


Set up a time to have a serious conversation about what you both feel could be improved. Humans aren’t mind-readers—and even if you may have mentioned issues before, your partner needs to take them seriously. Take theirs seriously as well! Respect each other’s grievances.

Go on REAL dates!

It can be hard to resolve to go out on an official date, besides that 10 pm trip to McDonald’s or some Netflix. These activities are great, but it’s important to put effort into a relationship in the form of the extent of your romantic activities. Go ice skating! Get fro-yo! Go to the movie theater! Have a picnic!

This applies to long-distance relationships too! Schedule “dates” to just call and talk, or try one of those cool websites that let you watch television together!

Let your guard down.

A HUGE part of intimacy is allowing yourself to be emotionally raw and vulnerable with your partner. This shows that you trust them with your feelings and with your troubles. If needed, let your partner know that they should do so as well! Tell them that you can be trusted with their troubles.

Figure out each others’ love languages.

The problem could be that, even though you are trying to express to your partner how much you care for them, they may have different love languages that you need to adhere to! The love language theory says that everyone responds best to certain intimate actions: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, or physical touch. Discover your partner’s love language(s) and try to concentrate on appealing to those areas to show how much you care for them.

There’s a reason that the title of this article includes the word “simple.” None of these things are costly or extravagant because, at their core, healthy relationships revolve around trust, communication, effort, and—of course—love.

Nicole Guernsey is a sophomore at the College of Charleston Honors College and is pursuing a degree in Political Science with a minor in International Studies. Nicole enjoys discussing social justice and equality, LGBTQ+ and women's rights, and political theory. After graduating from CofC, Nicole intends to pursue graduate school and wants to earn her Ph.D. in Political Science to work in political consulting and academia.
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