Most relationships start out as friendships. You meet someone at work, school, or through another mutual friend, and you bond over shared interests and passions. But once you start dating, that connection seems to get lost somewhere.
The longer we’re with our partners, the more we tend to view them as just that: partners. We begin splitting chores and bills, worry and stresses, responsibilities and successes, and stop sharing those things and feelings that initially brought us together.
But maintaining that friendship is essential to having a happy and connected relationship. When you lose that foundation, it can be harder to feel close, to enjoy each other’s company, and to cherish our partner the same way we once did.
So here are three ways to make sure that friendship is being developed and fed as long as you’re together with your S.O.
#1. Foster those mutual interests.
What was it that you and your partner bonded over in the first place? Your love of hiking? Or maybe it was your favorite author. It could’ve been your obsession with superhero movies. Whatever it is, be intentional about setting time aside to do it together.
Carving out time to do something you both enjoy and are passionate about, re-ignites that friendship spark, in the same way that trying new restaurants with your foodie BFF keeps that relationship strong.
Just be sure that this time doesn’t turn into a time to split up chores, vent about work, or pester each other about pet peeves.
#2. Celebrate their successes and share your own.
When your best friend gets that promotion she’s been working so hard for, you’re the first one that she texts, and vice versa. Is that true of your partner? If not, something needs to change.
Our S.O.s are often the first people we go to when something goes wrong. We’ll vent to them about our bosses, or our bad days, but they’re usually second or third on the list when it comes to celebration.
All that negativity can really take a toll on a relationship, and it can suck out the good feelings and make it feel more like a chore.
So next time something good happens to either of you, be sure to celebrate it the same way you would with your other friends.
#3. Share things with your S.O.
Think about the relationship you have with your best friend. They probably know every detail about your life— what you were for Halloween three years ago, how you feel about your new co-worker, or how great your yoga class was this afternoon.
It’s these small, meaningless details that create intimacy with someone. When you stop sharing these things with your S.O., either because you’re afraid of boring them with your life or because you think they don’t matter as much after years together, you stop creating a shared life and sense of closeness with them.
Telling them the smaller things, and being curious about the smaller things going on in their life, helps to sustain a bond and improve a friendship, which leads to intimacy.