Relationship refresh!!
September 4, 2017 6:56 PM   Subscribe

How do I keep a relationship fresh and fun for a long time?

Hi there! I feel that relationships naturally get a bit stale / dull after a while. Does this mean that I'm dating an incompatible partner? Are there practical actions or attitude shifts I can personally do to ventilate a relationship and keep things fresh?
posted by Crookshanks_Meow to Human Relations (7 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Try out new things together - volunteer for a festival or a charitable organization. It gives an opportunity to watch your partner in action getting engaged in something.

Encourage each other to try out new things separately too, so you spend time apart and have something interesting to talk about afterwards, and see them get excited about it.

Some ideas for one or both of you to try - Get involved with a theatrical group and become an actor or stage crew. Sign up for a novel fitness class like circus acrobatics. Take a class in cooking or something more unusual like blacksmithing. Travel to somewhere neither of you have been before. Try homebrewing.
posted by lizbunny at 7:27 PM on September 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Working on your EQ is the biggest thing.

Try to keep an eye on your partner's willingness/ability to (1) talk about things that interest them and (2) talk to you about your interests. If one or both of you doesn't really know how to have a conversation with the other, no amount of doing interesting things will keep the relationship fresh for long.

If you can't connect well enough with your partner to figure out what grabs their attention or to show them what you're interested in, you'll start to find them boring regardless of what they do.
posted by blerghamot at 7:55 PM on September 4, 2017 [3 favorites]

Recognize that everything ends. Cultivating awareness of impermanence keeps everything fresh. It inspires gratitude for the time we have with someone knowing that it, too, will end. It reminds us to say I love you and to not waste a moment.

When we think we have all the time in the world, we get lazy and take our partner for granted. When we take impermanence, interdependence and gratitude as teachers, color and interest and spice become a regular part of life.

Think of all the times that you've heard someone in mourning say "tell your family you love them, because you don't ever know when will be the last time." Believe it. Don't wait. Don't procrastinate.
posted by janey47 at 7:55 PM on September 4, 2017 [11 favorites]

Each of you should develop and nurture your own interests. You can't be interesting to each other unless you have some separateness.

Try as hard as you can not to think for each other -- that is, don't do things based on what you guess or suspect your partner wants or needs.

Speak up for yourself -- don't expect your partner to guess what YOU want and need.

Don't rely too much on compromise. It can result in neither one getting their first choice. Of course, this isn't applicable to everything. But if one wants Chinese food and the other wants Indian, don't go to a burger joint because you're both okay with it.
posted by wryly at 8:52 PM on September 4, 2017

Build lives that are - not "separate," exactly, but complex and interesting in their own right. The spouse and I have arrived at a place where we travel solo on the regular, and the time away allows us to miss one another (which is a nice thing) and gives us ways to talk about things where we're really sharing with ona another. We sometimes follow up with a joint trip, away from kids and the daily grind we share. There's always a sort of orbiting around each other, where the time we spend together is more than just the ground state - it routinely flexes and shifts to accomodate both who we are as a couple and who we are as individuals.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 10:12 PM on September 4, 2017 [3 favorites]

Some of it is DEFINITELY about finding the right partner.

But also, some of it is about being realistic. What does "keeping things fresh" mean to you? Keeping the relationship feeling the same as it does when you first meet? Because that's close to impossible unless you have just the right kind of amnesia - part of the excitement is finding out about each other, and with every piece of the puzzle of them that you turn over, finding a new thing about them to fall in love with.

If you mean fresh as in, not letting the spark die out, then that's all about communication and partnership. Talking about your wants and needs regularly, sharing your desires but also your worries. Doing new things together, and separately, supporting each other in them, and through that, finding new ways and reasons to love them, even when you thought you knew them all. It's not the same as falling in love, but it's similar, and deeper.
posted by greenish at 2:15 AM on September 5, 2017 [3 favorites]

I used to put a lot of work into keeping things fresh with a multi-year partner, the love of my live (tm). We both did we tried and tried. We fought about it, made plans, made lists, tried so hard. It never worked for long. That partner is a wonderful person, one of the best I know, and we grew to hate each other.

10 years into my marriage with my wife neither of us have ever had to really try, or work particularly hard. We never fight, and we have all the stresses to make us fight: own a house, money is tight, have two kids and two aging parents in an inlaw apartment. But it's fun, we have dates, sex, adventures, good food and tons of laughs. And it doesn't really take any work. Find the right person, not the almost right person.

My one piece of actual advice, watch less stuff. Video-games, movies, tv, etc if your sitting quietly facing away from each other, you're not really "together" you're just in proximity.
posted by French Fry at 7:55 AM on September 5, 2017 [4 favorites]

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