Modern Day Dating and Maintaining the Magic
Dating is difficult. And while we hope that once we find “the one” that things get easier, sadly that’s not always the case. Just look at the United States, where over 40 percent of first marriages, 60 percent of second marriages, and over 70 percent of third marriages end in divorce. It seems that falling in love is easy, then. It’s staying in love where we encounter hurdles.
Of course, marriage might not be your end goal. A relationship can survive and thrive without nuptials, and indeed even without another person – perhaps your most healthy relationship is the one you have with yourself. But as social creatures, most people do eventually want a soulmate and a relationship that is happy and stable.
Thanks to societal shifts, however – aided by “swipe left” technological tools which have dramatically changed the rules – the complexities of dating are not entirely obvious. If you’re already in a relationship, though, you’ve cracked the code better than the majority. So, how do you maintain the magic after navigating the often-tumultuous travails of modern-day dating?
The first step in creating something lasting and meaningful, is to make wiser choices than the average person, and by balancing choices between your heart and your head. The preference for physically attractive partners is nearly universal, but it’s not always the best trait to chase to predict who will make a great mate. The key, according to the similarity-attraction hypothesis, is personality. Finding someone with similar important attitudes, values, and interests breeds attraction, as well as a better chance at lasting love.
But keeping that fire burning, and your budding – or shrinking – relationship evolving, is sometimes a harder task to control. To maintain that spark, consider and remember the importance of these tips:
Whether it’s relighting the fire, or simply maintaining your romantic status quo, recognizing and meeting your partner’s needs has been shown to increase desire among cohabiting couples. Be it simply making a hot ginger tea for your partner on the days your dearest feels down, or sometimes watching a plot-hole riddled sci-fi flick with them that they love and really want to share with you, being responsive and aware of what works for your partner shows that you understand and see them for who they are, and shows them that you’re a continued haven of selfless consideration.
Continue to Communicate:
Communication – or more specifically, positive communication – is the foundation of all relationships, and goes beyond simply exchanging information. Even without speaking a word, we’re always saying something, in potentially constructive, effective, and supporting ways. A good way for a new dating connection to grow into a rewarding relationship is to be aware of non-verbal cues and listen intently. Don’t be afraid to vocalize quandaries or voice concerns so that you’re both on the same page, because when someone truly gets you, your connection evolves.
Spend Quality Time Together:
Our friends are central to who we are; they’ve helped shape us, often share common interests, and know us intimately. But if you want to develop your romantic connection into a lifelong relationship, you need to give that person the bandwidth to intertwine their life with yours – which will, on occasion, call for your friends to take a back seat. There’s no replacement for quality time together. Why not try something new together? Focus on fun activities, perhaps even something that benefits others – volunteer for a beach clean-up; foster a dog; help at a community garden. This shared experience will aid the building of mutually beneficial companionship and endear you greatly to one another.
Learn to Give and Take:
Don’t make winning your goal, resolve conflict respectfully, recognize what’s important to your partner, and try showing a little gratitude. In fact, gratitude is an incredible tool for strengthening romantic connections. A simple “thank you”, as opposed to payback or one-upmanship reciprocation, can go a long way to captivating and enchanting your partner. Daily gratitude can subtly highlight your significant other’s positive qualities to you, influencing a desire to spend more time with them, and going far beyond repayment – and in doing so, affording both the gift-giver and receiver alike an elevated quality of relationship.
Life is a rollercoaster, and sometimes, you need to put in some effort to smooth a rocky patch. In a relationship, you should be prepared – for ups and downs. By anticipating change – because with each passing year, you’re likely not the same person you were a year ago, and neither is your partner – and overcoming adversity together, you become stronger as a pair. Relationships evolve, and to maintain the magic, or reignite a lost spark, you should evolve with it. There will be changes you know are coming – careers, homes, marriage, children – and by preparing for them in advance, you will be aware when you’re in the moment, see it through to the other side, and likely begin action on a plan you’d already put in place.
Keep Physical Intimacy Alive:
To be desired by the one you desire – in other words, experiencing requited love – is a priceless self-esteem boost. It’s a reciprocating passion that proves your choice in love was the right one. But it’s also so much more than lust: Retaining a level of emotional intimacy is crucial to a healthy relationship, to the extent it's assumed to play a particularly large role in maintaining sexual desire and romance. Physical activity, of course, has incredible benefits of its own, aside from the pleasure. It improves bladder control, lowers blood pressure, is a form of exercise, improves sleep, and eases stress. Perhaps less tangible is the connection it forms in return – a bond that isn’t always quite as obvious as first, but one that can continue to strengthen true intimacy and love in multiple other ways as time goes by.
Most of us want a love story that ends happily ever after, but modern-day dating has made finding a happy and stable relationship harder than ever. If you’ve not found the one yet, maybe you’re approaching your search wrong. Are you looking to find your soul mate? Join our course on The Science of Dating and learn how to develop a comprehensive view of the characteristics that are most important to you and that fit your unique needs and move you toward the type of relationship that you hope for.
All of the content on our website is thoroughly researched to ensure that the information shared is evidence-based. For more information, please visit the academic journals that influenced this article: Intimately Connected: The Importance of Partner Responsiveness for Experiencing Sexual Desire; Nearly Half of US Adults Say Dating Has Gotten Harder for Most People in the Last 10 Years; Genetic Evidence of Assortative Mating in Humans; Your Choice of Life Partner is No Accident; Do People Know What They Want: A Similar or Complementary Partner?; Relationship Satisfaction as a Predictor of Similarity Ratings: A Test of the Attraction-Similarity Hypotheses; The Associations of Intimacy and Sexuality in Daily Life.
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