Saying you’re in an “old relationship” doesn’t sound too flattering – in fact, given a somewhat negative connotation we associate with the word “old,” attaching the word to just about anything is less than idea. Yet a so-called “old relationship” can be a comforting, reassuring, and – yes – even an exciting thing. What I mean by “old relationship” is simply a committed relationship that may have passed the initial spark or already experienced the honeymoon phase. In this type of relationship, both partners are now dealing with the day-to-day life of a relationship and learning how to relate to and nurture each other many months or years down the road.

Admittedly “old” is a bad adjective to use for this stage of a relationship as it brings many bonuses with it – you’re more comfortable around each other; you’ve gotten through some of the exciting yet awkward parts of getting to know the other person, their past, their hang-ups, their family, their good and bad habits and so on; you have a partner to rely on in any situation life throws at you. And there are many more such bonuses that come with a long term relationship; but what people can tend to focus on when things are lackluster, as they sometimes can be when you’ve been with someone for a long period of time, are the things they may be “missing out” on by continuing in a committed relationship.

Whether or not your long-term relationship is in one of these lackluster phases, as we begin the new year it’s a great idea to commit to renewing your relationship. You may not be able to go through the exact phases of the early relationship that can be so exciting, but you can inject some surprise and romance into it!

*Make a decision to fall in love again.

Fidelity – both sexual and financial – results from intent to REMAIN in love. These types of commitments don’t just happen. A strong relationship may feel fun and exciting at first, but it’s not based on those feelings! It’s normal that these initial impulses start to fade, but you have to commit to growing your love stronger than it was before.

*Treat each other like you did at the beginning.

Why does it seem to be the case that we only hurt the ones we love? We tend to show our “best selves” to the people who play less-important roles in our lives. Aside from learning to be nice to each other again, and learning to treat each other respectfully, bring back things that you did when you first met – and feel free to spice it up. Make these activities your top priority!

*Have an affair with your partner

Just about everyone craves some sort of excitement in their life – and some people push boundaries to find it. Anything from skydiving – to having a physical, emotional or financial affair. If you’re lacking excitement in your relationship and are heading into dangerous territory (i.e., considering some kind of infidelity), know that wanting to seek the high that comes from a risky experience is normal – but how you handle the situation can make or break your relationship.

The great thing about doing some of these things is that they’re even more meaningful when shared with someone with whom you have a history. So enjoy your “old” relationship in the new year!

See my book, Make Up Don’t Break Up, for more ways to connect with your partner and take part in activities that will last throughout the year.

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