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Sex + Relationships

How to Maintain A Long-Term Relationship

“How have you two been together for so long?” is a question I have received more times than I can count. I have been dating my boyfriend, Evan, for almost five years. We met in middle school and we started dating in eighth grade. Truthfully, we barely knew each other. We had mutual friends but we only really knew each other’s name and we shared one class together. We put our innocent hearts on the line for a love that could have been a disaster. I will never be able to explain how we first started dating because it was very random, but I believe it all was fate. The fact that we are both college freshmen at the same university and are still so deeply in love makes me believe that fate was behind our love story.

Over the past five years, we have experienced a tremendous amount of growth together. We were practically kids when we first started dating and now we’re adults and I still get the annoying butterflies when he smiles. A lot of people have tried to shake us down for the magical tips that have kept us so connected. I have had a lot of time to think of what lessons I can teach others from our relationship. Here is a little list for you or someone you may know who may also be curious.

1. Never Let Arguing Become Hostile

In any healthy relationship there will be fighting. Arguments can escalate quickly, but never let your voice go past loud talking because that leads to disaster. You two must stay calm and talk it out! There should never be a time where you two physically or mentally hurt each other because, if that is the case, it is not a healthy relationship. If you truly love someone, you would never want to hurt them. You should want to resolve the conflict and continue on with your relationship.

Even after five years, we never scream at each other and if we need a second to calm ourselves down, we take a minute or two break to breathe.

2. Give Each Other Space

Evan and I spend a lot of time hanging out because we are at the same university. We live only a five minute drive apart from each other at home. We love spending time with each other, even if it means just coexisting. But we still need to give each other space. Being alone is not a bad thing and it can help you grow as a person. You can still spend heaping amounts of time together but I recommend trying to go home a little bit earlier one night or dedicate a day of the week where you relax by yourself. Giving each other space can relieve a lot of tension in a relationship.

If Evan and I are starting to get aggravated with each other, I normally believe it’s because we just need some time to decompress and be by ourselves and there is nothing wrong with that!

3. Communication is Key

This seems like a simple key but so many people struggle with staying on the same wavelength as their partner. As people say, chemistry is what holds individuals together and I believe that. You need to vibe with each other on a soul level and never expect less than that from a relationship. You should always say what you mean because neither one of you are telepathic. You should always be straightforward if something is bothering you, even if it’s something you find to be rather tiny, it will add up in the long run and you will regret not saying something in the beginning. That is one of the reasons why we have never had a blowout fight because we both tell each other how we truly feel. It also makes you two closer because you allow yourself to be vulnerable and that is also very important for a successful relationship.

4. Don’t Lie, Don’t Cheat

This is common sense but you would be surprised how many people have asked us why their relationship is damaged because they lie and cheat. When you cheat, you break a foundational trust that you share between you and your partner. Once it is broken, it will never be repaired. I don’t care how many marriages are still together even though one has cheated on the other, they are not in love anymore. It’s very uncommon for someone to completely heal from someone breaking that trust. If you have the urge to cheat on your partner, LEAVE. Don’t stay in the relationship because you clearly are not ready to be serious with someone. Lying only leads to accusations and fights. I never lie to Evan, I tell him the truth even if he won’t like it. We’re honest about how we feel, what we think of each other’s work, and everything in between. I can’t keep a secret from him. You can keep stuff to yourself, but make sure it isn’t something that if was told, it would damage your relationship.

5. Change the Routine and Be Adventurous

When you’re in a long-term relationship, there is always room for change. While having routines and always being comfortable around each other is very important, changing things up once and a while is always a great idea. Try going to different places, going on unique and thoughtful dates and ultimately enjoy yourselves. This person should be the one you’re most comfortable with which will make the adventures you go on even sweeter. 

6. Be Each Other’s Best Friend

This person should be the one that you trust with everything about you. They should be willing to listen to your problems and vice versa. The relationship is a 50/50 deal, you must love and respect each other equally. When things become lopsided, conflicts arise and that is not a good path to be on for a successful relationship. You should be your natural, raw self around them and if they don’t approve of it, that relationship is not meant to be. You should laugh more than anything in a relationship.

Brooke Conneally is a sophomore at the University of Rhode Island, majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Communications. She spends most of her time playing guitar while singing, pinning projects on Pinterest, cuddling with her cats, and organizing her room. 
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