RELATIONSHIP SECRETS:

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Relationship Secrets:

How to Like (& Love) Your Partner for 30+ Years

Next year, in 2021, my sweetheart and I will have been together for 30 years (coupled for 6, married for 13, divorced for 2, and now reconciled for 10). 

Me: “We should do something out of the ordinary, perhaps a lil’ bougie to celebrate. What do you think?”

Him: Radio silence + insert the shoulders lifted “I have no idea” emoji. 

I did reach out to our friends on Facebook for some inspo and it was both heartwarming and semi-inspirational to see how others would celebrate life milestones such as this. Perhaps we will hop on that train and do something interesting—stay tuned.

A bit more “juicy,” in my opinion, is the topic of “how to stay with the same person for 30+ years, harmoniously (mostly).”

I asked the Mr. for some insight on how to do this, how he thinks WE did this.  I put his sage words below mine, as they are less beefy and also, I like to be first. 😊

 

 

My  Recipe for Long-Haul Intimacy

 

 

Strength Sleuthing & Annoyance Snuffing

Make a list of things you love, like, and appreciate about your mate. Make an actual physical list, not just in your head: a note on your phone, a list in your journal, or a Word doc on your computer. Here’s the hot sauce: sprinkle them in *authentically* and frequently in your communications to your mate and to the rest of the world, too. Simultaneously, shrink the list of items you dislike, that sap your energy or occupy too much space in the relationship. These waste precious moments together with historically zero resolution (shit like non-hamper usage, too much phone time, forgetting the way you take your coffee/favorite color/your mom’s birthday, loud chewing, not complimenting you, etcetera, etcetera). Investing brainspace here is not serving your own well-being. 

 

Here is my list, from a note on my phone (the PG items 😊):

Visit your list during blurry or strained times. Or daily. Maybe those are the same times for you, {{{Hugs}}}. Or perhaps you create a calendar alert to peek at and add to your list weekly. However you choose to do it, make growing your Things I Love About You list a regular practice. The point is to always be on the lookout for new things you appreciate, and keep building your list. Because people are infinite and surprising, you’ll never be done growing here.

This practice of “strength sleuthing” and “annoyance snuffing” is ongoing and forever.

WHY THIS WORKS:  Firstly, you don’t need to wait for your mate to change or agree to do a “relationship fixing thing” (like therapy) together. You can m’f’ing choose to see things through a different lens, right f’ing now. Yes, my love, you really can, if you choose to.

Second, It FEELS so much better to be reveling in how delightful your mate is versus building up a robust case AGAINST him. How could that help YOU, by the way? YOU picked him. Now, keep picking him by discovering more ways he is your dream guy. Perhaps he will rise up in the other areas, buoyed by the cradle of admiration from you.

Only yesterday, my man pal overreacted (imho) to something I said, then later in the evening on a completely different infraction was caught in a “lying by omission” situation. It never ends; there will always be things. After my doling out some punitive silent treatment, him submitting his explanations/apologies/doghouse-driven honey-do’s, coupled with me spending a few moments with the Things I Love About You list, we are on the mend and all is well.

Maintain Physical Connection

Think MICRO and consistent, “something is better than nothing,” as a helpful rule to adopt. Squeeze his butt, sneak up behind him and kiss the back of his neck, wrap your arm around the small of his back and bring him close when you’re walking together, turn over and spoon him in bed, initiate a hug and hold it longer than you normally would. Insert NEW, additional “we kiss here” moments, like when he delivers a beverage to you, opens a door, looks up from his phone and meets your gaze, gets visibly fired up about something he’s excited about. Sex of course falls into this category, but please do not downplay the value in frequent snack-size physical bits.

WHY THIS WORKS: Human touch is a core need (babies die without it) and ample helpings lead to thriving and connection. Start small and where you are, with no expectations of reciprocity; simply BE the example and enjoy the tidbits of energetic connection sprinkled throughout your day and night with the person YOU picked to be your one. All of the above are available to us all, in most moments.

Bonus: if you are parents, you model what a healthy physical relationship looks like.

This one is ongoing and forever: ’til death do you part.

Self-Improvement

 Did you attend a “how to be a loving partner who is emotionally fluent, secure, and objective” course? I sure as hell did not. And rarely does my partner follow the commonly-accepted-in-my-brain operations manual on how one should conduct himself in a relationship. Learning on the job is mandatory, but here’s the means to a faster and less corrosive path: fix yourself. How, you ask? Therapy is not only for people who are on the verge of a 5150 (72-hour psychiatric hold). It is for those of us who interact with other humans, aspire to exhibit appropriate, healthy responses to life’s never-ending buffet of circumstances. Or for those of us who were raised by people who themselves didn’t do the job fantastically. Or even for people who wonder, “Is this it? Is this what life is all about?” There are myriad options in the self-improvement department, from books (library = free), podcasts (also free), online articles (free), courses, life coaches, seminars, audiobooks (library = free), Instagram accounts (free), therapy via text, group support groups, secular and non-secular organizations, and DIY journals (stay tuned—I have one coming!).

WHY THIS WORKS:  Firstly, it is available to you without the other person doing even one thing differently.

Trend alert:  Partner participation not required.

 

 

Secondly, it benefits every facet of your life. Working it out becomes easier to make happen when you love your whole self a bit more. When you’re not inadvertently taking on other people’s shitty baggage (because you now have the tools to create and uphold healthy boundaries), time gets freed up to discover your unique gifts and tools to objectively manage icky emotions. This can transfer to managing things like chronic pain or boredom or drivers who shouldn’t be driving, pandemics, and even tragedy. Thirdly, it forces you to excavate and purposefully process the items previously tucked away that ooze into and impair your daily thriving.

My Man-Friend’s Recipe for Long-Haul Intimacy

 

Love yourself.

Support your partner.

 

Isn’t that quaint? (Note to self: add his ability to be succinct yet effectively communicative to my list of things I LOVE!!)

There you have it—all our secrets!

What are you ready to make your new normal? Please let’s chat in the comments. I think this is a juicy one! What is working for you to keep the passion fired up and mutual respect growing as the years pass? Ask your mate what they think the secret is and let us know the answer, please.

XOXOXO loves

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