“How long is it gonna last?” – This kind of question always creeps up our minds when we first get into a relationship. Everyone wants their relationship to be a healthy, long lasting and meaningful. But, many neglect the main thing to achieve the type of relationship – having healthy relationship expectations.
For many, long lasting love is the goal. The kind that still sends you swooning after years or decades together. In fact, as a sex therapist, a lot of the clients I see find themselves wishing they were right back where the relationship started.
When everything was exciting and intense and passionate. When you didn’t necessarily think about healthy relationship expectations because everything just felt… right.
Perhaps you have been intimate every day. Felt completely consumed by each other. Maybe even missed the other person when they went to the bathroom(!). Your feelings were big and expansive, and perhaps overwhelming – feelings which you kind of want to return to.
There’s nothing wrong in wanting it to be this way. And you shouldn’t feel bad if you sometimes feel like you want to go back to that constant state of euphoria with your partner. I mean — wouldn’t we all if we had the choice?
How To Make Your Romantic Relationship Last Over Time
Finding “the one” and living together happily ever after is a fairly widespread ideal, especially in the western world. But ideals are, per definition, unattainable. Looking to reach that ideal of constant euphoria and butterflies galore may, therefore, lead to a crisis in your relationship.
Wanting that ideal isn’t bad — but believing it should be a constant in your life leads to both of you feeling like there’s something missing. And perhaps, worst of all, leads you to believe you shouldn’t be together anymore (when there’s nothing wrong in the first place)!
This is where our expectations come in and why they’re so important to cultivating a great, strong relationship.
Healthy Relationship Expectations
Even if constant butterflies aren’t necessarily the goal – you and your partner can learn how you can make your relationship last and thrive over time, with the reservation that what you’re striving for is a realistic idea of a relationship.
Some researchers, among them John Gottman, call this: striving towards a good enough marriage. And, in reality, that’s perhaps where we should all attempt to set the bar (at least for every day).
A good enough relationship is one where you still want to be with your partner after years or decades together. A relationship where genuinely still enjoy your time together.
In order to maintain realistic expectations of yourself, each other, and the relationship as a whole, you continuously have to evaluate your ideas and attitudes.
You need to ask yourself why you want things to be a certain way, and if those goals are desirable in every situation.
As a clinical sexologist and sex coach, I help clients work towards eliminating possible weaknesses in their relationships and ramping up their relationships for future challenges.
Because one thing’s for certain – no matter how much in love you are now or perhaps how unstable your relationship is at the moment – things are constantly changing. And the change may work in both directions!
What The Research Says
If you’ve asked yourself how people make a relationship last over time – you’re not alone. That is, indeed, the million-dollar question. Everyone wants to know how to do it.
There are a few important principles that govern the durability and success of a romantic relationship. And in order for your relationship to last, you usually need to focus on other things than what initially attracted you to one another.
Your Relationship’s Strengths – and Weaknesses
Dating sites and apps can easily have you believe that similarity in personalities is the most important factor for a lasting relationship. However, being similar doesn’t guarantee a great love affair — even if it can be important in terms of how we become sexually attracted to someone.
So, what is important, then?
Simply put, if you’re looking to create long-term love, you need to focus on both your strengths and weaknesses.
And to do this you need to come at them from a perspective of healthy relationship expectations. Because without the right expectations, no amount of work will ever be enough. It’s not uncommon for us to forget to appreciate the strengths we share as a couple. And – appreciation is easily as important to relationship resilience, as is working on our weaknesses.