Between situationships, delusionships, one-night stands, and lifetime commitments, you might be struggling to understand the definition of a romantic relationship. Romantic relationships – whether you’re daydreaming about that hot barista who touched your hand or your future husband – are complicated.
Why’s that? Well, because humans are complicated. We all come with a myriad of wants, needs, desires, and fears. We carry childhood trauma with us wherever we go. And we flaunt our baggage, emotional scars, and battle wounds like they’re things to be celebrated and desired.
We wouldn’t argue that’s the sole reason romantic relationships are complicated, but there’s something to be said about the fact that we all expect our needs to be met without wanting to meet our partner’s needs or being willing to meet them halfway. What even are romantic relationships, anyway?
Romantic relationships are a huge part of our existence. And that’s why we need to figure out how to navigate them, and how to build happy and healthy relationships from the get-go.
We’re bringing you a few of our favorite tips and tricks to get you started down below. What are you waiting for?
What are romantic relationships?
We might as well start with the definition of a romantic relationship.
By definition, a romantic relationship comes with intense feelings of infatuation, intimacy, attraction, and commitment. But romantic relationships aren’t one-size-fits-all, and you might be surprised by how different people view different romantic relationships.
When you’re at the beginning of a romantic relationship, for example, you’re likely going to experience a surge of emotions that make you feel like you’re on top of the world.
When your relationship matures, your feelings will likely change – not for the better or for the worse, but they’ll lessen in their intensity and deepen in their meaning.
With time, feelings of attraction and passion will fade and feelings of trust, emotional intimacy, and commitment will grow stronger. We do need to underline that there are different types of romantic relationships and that these facts might not apply to all of them.
Open relationships, one-night stands, situationships, and delusionships, for example, aren’t defined by commitment. Monogamous relationships, committed relationships, platonic relationships, and even on-and-off relationships are.
With that out of the way, you might be wondering what’s the best way to ensure you have a happy and healthy relationship. What can you do to empower your romantic relationship? And what’s the secret behind loving, long-lasting romantic relationships you see everywhere you go?
We’ve got your back!
Tried-and-true tips for a happy and healthy relationship
1. Make time for fun
Couples who play together, stay together – and that’s one of the best ways to ensure you have a happy and healthy romantic relationship.
That doesn’t mean you have to pretend that you’re a gamer or that you’re great at playing football because you’re confused as to what type of games to play with your partner. Make your relationship fun, and you’re guaranteed to have your partner enamored with you for years to come.
Whether that means sending each other memes throughout the day, making every Sunday evening comedy night, or playing silly games you used to love as a child (Twister, for example), we’re sure you can find something the two of you can do together.
2. Talk it out
Communication makes the world of a difference. Contrary to popular belief, couples that communicate; talk things through; and go over their expectations, boundaries, needs, and desires every now and then aren’t destroying the romance – they’re keeping the romance alive.
More times than not, couples resort to an open and honest conversation when they’re fighting over something or trying to settle a debate. But… There’s always a “but” when that’s the only way you get your partner to talk.
Couples, you can talk about your feelings, your expectations, and pretty much everything that’s on your mind. Go ahead and add romance, passion, and excitement to your relationship with a simple conversation.
3. Hug it out
Physical touch can make or break your romantic relationship, we’re all aware of that. When you’re going through a tough time, a hug from your partner can make you feel like you’re able to tackle whatever life throws at you.
When you’re fighting or snapping at each other for no apparent reason, snuggling with your partner at the end of the day can make you wonder, “What were we even fighting about!?” Hold hands, take every opportunity you get to sneak in a hug or a peck and reach for your partner whenever you’re down.
4. Learn your love languages
Wait, what are love languages!? If you’ve been living under a rock, you might have missed the memo about learning your and your partner’s love languages to better your romantic relationship. Love languages refer to the way you or your partner prefers to express or show love.
Words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and receiving gifts are the main love languages. And now might be the right time for you to figure out your and your partner’s preferred love language. With that in mind, we urge you to have a chat with your partner about this ASAP.
5. Work on your team mentality
“It’s not me against you, it’s us against the problem.” Whether you’re trying to settle a fight, make a difficult decision, or figure out what to do about a serious situation, you might be prepared to go on and on about why you’re right and why you get to have the final say.
When you’re in a happy and healthy romantic relationship, however, you need to have a team mentality. No matter what you’re going through, you need to come up with a solution that’s a win for everyone on your “team.” Needless to say, that’s when you create a sense of camaraderie with your partner.
6. Spend quality time together
Whether that means going on a date every Friday night without exception, putting your phones down when you’re sitting down to eat, or thinking of fun ways to spend your free time, do whatever you can to be present and be there for each other.
Watching Netflix every night might be fun, but you need to step up your relationship game and figure out a way to make it more spontaneous, creative, and complex. We know you’re swamped with work, but you need to make your relationship a priority. Speaking of which…
7. Be each other’s priority
Whether you’re working on your career, spending most of your time caring for a family member, or even wrapped up with raising the kids, the two of you come first.
When your partner needs you, you need to be there for them. When you’re celebrating something, you need to make time and do something special to mark the occasion. Whatever you do, don’t forget about how important you are to each other.
8. Recreate romantic moments
What do we mean by that? When you’re out of ideas on what to do together, where to go for date night, or how to surprise your partner, recreate some of the most romantic moments you’ve experienced together.
Return to the same spot where you saw each other for the first time, recreate the outfits you wore on your first date, or go through your old photographs and figure out a way to commemorate them.
Rather than complaining about how “I don’t know why we should go on a date when we spend all of our time together already,” you can kick-start a flood of happy memories.
Romantic relationships sometimes go through a tough time. If the two of you feel like you’ve lost the spark that made you fall for each other or like you’ve grown apart because you’ve been busy with life, you can take a trip down memory lane to reignite the spark.
Look through your old photographs, bring out your old Valentine’s Day cards, or simply sit down and talk about your favorite memories of each other. Lead the way, and you might be surprised at how much passion your partner holds for you.
10. Talk about the future
If the past doesn’t do the trick, it’s a great idea to talk about your plans for the future. It’s a great way to remind your partner of what you’re working toward together – whether you’re planning on getting married, getting a dog, or traveling overseas together.
If that’s something you’re not comfortable with because you’re at the beginning of your relationship, consider only the short-term future. You can sit down and create an ongoing list of things you want to do together in the next couple of weeks or months. It could be watching Bridgerton together, taking a road trip, learning how to cook, or planting a garden.
What matters is that the two of you are focusing on what the two of you want.