Disclosure: This is my own opinion from my own relationships, relationships of peers and family, and light reading on relationships… so, yeah.
When the oogly-eyed smitten feeling in the beginning of a new relationship has subsided, that shouldn’t stop two people from making an effort to feel good about each other or make one another feel special. Being comfortable with someone is fine, but being bored with a relationship is not. People shouldn’t stay together because it’s always easy or comfortable or they are worried how the other will feel if a breakup happens. People should stay together because they’re passionate about the other person, they believe their lover is a remarkable human being and they want to make the effort to keep things fun, alive and spicy. People should stay together because each person in the relationship is creating value for the other, as selfish as that sounds- i.e. because my lover is making ME a better person, is pushing ME to move past boundaries to because successful, makes ME feel amazing like I’m magic (re: Frida Kahlo brilliant quote), is supportive through the highs and lows and is there in spirit even if miles away and even if just for a moment through a text.
A lover is someone to admire and be proud of, and have immense joy from his/her accomplishments and empathy in his/her struggles. Being comfortable with someone is so important to a healthy, honest and communicative relationship. That however, is not to be confused with habits that stem from a mundane routine of a relationship- which I think people often confuse with being “comfortable.” A mindless, thoughtless routine is not a comfort, it is a habit (re: The Power of Habit or 7 Habits of Highly Effective People). Just like brushing my teeth is a habit (it’s automatic, almost mindless or thoughtless, it’s engrained in my head to brush my teeth). However, that habit of brushing my teeth creates a fulfilling outcome- the comfort of having clean, white and healthy teeth. As such, if the mindless, thoughtless routines of being in a relationship turns into habits, the outcome of that relationship routine of habits will be based on the inputs of the relationship.
To put it in context, if a routine habit, a.k.a “being comfortable,” equates to not flirting, not supporting, not striving to push each other to dream and fulfill passions, basically being anything not worth doing anymore because the relationship is at that “comfortable” stage, then you will probably not have a comfortable result of a relationship. It will be an unfulfilled, strained, maybe even sex-less relationship. That’s not very comfortable, is it? Take out the omfortable and replace with rappy. (Crappy).
So moral of the story, even after the initial flame is burning a little less, don’t give up on it if you adore your partner. Put in the effort and time to fulfill your own needs and support them in being the best person he/she can be. It’s a team effort, as some would say. And if it is a one-sided effort by a single team member and the other just tries when it’s convenient for him/her, then the relationship I think is safe to say is just a booty call with a title, “being comfortable.” (Unless you’re not getting booty at all, then it’s just a housekeeping call.) So change the course of your relationship on those rough waters of love that you’re trying to navigate and start with some simple, good habits to strengthen a happy and fulfilling relationship.
- This may seem obvious, but if your relationship isn’t a platonic one and it’s more than just a fling, then *ahem* HAVE SEX. If the sex is boring, change up the position! Do some role playing, say something you wouldn’t normally say in bed (granted, that it isn’t hateful or weirdly S&M abusive, unless that floats both your boats then so be it). Shoot a sexy text or photo or do something out of the ordinary habits that you’ve run into that are not measuring up to the type of outcome you want in your “sensual” relationship.
- Given that relationships aren’t all about sex, make some other habits that are positive. If you want more honesty and open communication in the relationship, talk more! Be mindful of how the relationship is going, how communication happens. Does it happen enough, not enough? Is there some overreacting on both ends or biased opinions on issues that arise? If there’s a disconnect, connect back together and talk honestly and openly. I find that when I’m honest and strive to be mindful of my own insecurities and check and balance my bitchiness/whinyness, the conversation can go quite well.
- Do something fun together. When people get into a downward spiral of a routine that isn’t bringing anything to the table in the relationship & not allowing someone or both people to learn, grow, dream, have stellar self-esteem, it’s probably not fun. So do something fun, if cooking a cool new recipe is fun, do that together. Go enjoy some live music if you both love that, or share music with your lover that you’re passionate about. Go on an adventure somewhere, on a hike, to a groovy new restaurant you’ve never been to before, out of your comfort zone and on an excursion of sorts that is their hobby and you know not jack s*** about. Do something active together (besides the sexytime). Whether it’s a workout at the gym, a bike ride, a run outside through nature, etc., the endorphins will make you both feel happier, both people’s self-esteem will be improved because you’re working out that hot bod of yours (or the hot bod that you’re achieving, slowly but surely in my case), you’re making your partner a better person because you’re supporting them and pushing them to be a better version of themselves.
- Scratch the surface of your emotional and intellectual compatibility and talk about trends, issues, dreams, ideas, concerns that you have about the world. Sharing with someone what your innermost desires are for the world and people in general is a pretty intense and daunting thing that a lot people shy away from. To share that and learn about your lover’s big-picture thoughts can shed some light on the type of person they are and help you appreciate him or her as a human being caring about other human beings and important stuff like world peace, science, future of tech, sustainability and not just for appreciating your fab sense of style and impeccable taste in comedian lineups.
- Have away time from your beau and don’t forget to spend time with the other people in your life, like family, friends, friendly colleagues, etc. Don’t neglect your happy relationships with other people by being wrapped up in your own whirlwind of a romantic relationship. Having fun and getting insight about life and love from others can help you step back and get a different perspective on how you’re living, even if you don’t agree or practice what they be preachin’. Be appreciative that there are other people in your life that you get good vibes from and also make you want to be a better person.
- Have alone time, with yourself. After years of being an extroverted, loudass chatterbox, I’ve settled down a bit and learned to love having those introverted me, myself and I parties- at the gym, reading a book, teaching myself something new, watching movies on my laptop alone, listening to music alone, glass or two of wine, the list goes on. More importantly, no matter what the solo time you choose, do it for you, because it makes you happy, and be mindful of those moments that you give to yourself. A majority of our time is devoted to catering to other people’s needs, at work, friends, family, relationships, so don’t forget about yourself. This is the one life we get to live and it is as great as we believe and make it to be, in whatever relationship or no relationship that find ourselves in.
Good habits mean good outcome, mindful and proactive love for another person and yourself will make each moment in a relationship a happy one. Do you, beau.