You might have met online, perfectly matched by the digital algorithms, whether through an arab dating site, or a veggie one – your interests and tastes perfectly aligned. Whatever your starting point, it’s very natural for communication to break down over time. The pressures and stresses of everyday life take their toll, and everyone handles this differently. Unfortunately, your relationship can be one of the first things to take the brunt of things. Below, you’ll find some ways to keep communicating through the tough times and look after each other when life gets too much.
Bring Back Dating
Remember dating? The excitement of getting ready, where you were going, what you would talk about? It might seem silly, but designating a specific time to you and your partner where you can just talk to one another is a really important part of every relationship, and it’s one of the first things to slide when kids, bills and careers start turning up the pressure. If going out isn’t financially possible, how about an evening in at home, where you cook together (or order a takeaway) and have some quality time? Don’t let it become a meeting where you discuss finances or how the kids are getting on at school, but instead, talk and really listen to each other.
Have an Adult-only Space
So often it’s the parents’ bedroom that becomes a dumping ground for everything in the house. Whether it’s mounds of ironing, or boxes that were meant to be sorted five years ago, this space which should be intimate and, well, sexy, has a tendency to get filled up with the bits and pieces from a life well lived. Have a serious declutter (this is something you can do together, talking about the memories bits and pieces will bring back) and reclaim your bedroom, making it a space you want to spend time in together.
Put Your Phones Away
One of the biggest barriers to communication, it’s easy to feel as if you’re spending time together when actually you’re both sitting in front of the same TV show staring at your individual screens, scrolling or having a conversation with somebody else. There are plenty of apps which will stop you getting social media notifications (but still allow texts and calls through in case of an emergency, unlike if you just switch your phone to airplane mode). Have an agreement that you’ll both put down your devices for the evening and concentrate on each other.
Communication is a two-way street so make sure you’re listening at least half as much as you’re talking. Really pay attention to what your partner is saying and make sure you are asking follow-up questions and engaging. If they mention something happening at work in a few weeks, you could make a note of it on your phone or the calendar so you remember it and send them a text on the day or have a nice dinner together to show your support. You can also expect the same back – try and highlight it if you feel as if they don’t listen to you as much as you would like, or you feel they aren’t engaging.
Remember, there are lots of reasons you are in this relationship and it’s like maintaining a house – look after your relationship and it will be worth so much more.