How to maintain a relationship in 2022?
The world is your oyster, and with that, also our relationship dating pool. Instead of finding your love across the playground, being married off to form political alliances (did we binge-watch House of Dragons already? Perhaps..), or being matched by your auntie in an arranged marriage to someone worthy of your parent’s approval: we nowadays have the bearings of long-distance relationships, freedom of choice in relationships and growing old with the same person for 60 years.
So how does one keep a relationship healthy and prosperous?
1. Take care of yourself first
Que? This might sound strange, but a healthy relationship with others can only start if you first have a healthy relationship with yourself. Make sure you have all fundamentals taken care of: a balanced life with enough sleep, nutritious food, long walks, the occasional sweat broken by a good workout, meditation, and weekly (if not daily) self-care sessions.
2. Communicate and have healthy conflicts
Keep expectations realistic and talk with each other. Take the time to listen to each other and be there for one another, genuinely listen, ask questions and share information. In our last interview with sex educator Danielle Bezalel, Danielle discusses maintaining healthy communications, including healthy conflicts and topics covering pleasure. Have an open conversation during or after sex. Let your partner know what you enjoyed without critiquing their performance, such as “I liked it when you did X; it felt really good when you did Y”. When the time feels right, you can also propose what you wish to see more: "I love dirty talk. Are you down to try that with me?.”
3. (Relationship) Counselling
While many believe that relationship counselling is for one in a crisis, most relationships can benefit from the lessons learnt during relationship counselling: from how to communicate better to spending optimal quality time together - all from a neutral party’s point of view. The most significant investment you will make in your life is your choice of partner, so why not invest in having an expert’s view from time to time to guide you in that relationship?
And no, your best friend does not count as your relationship counsellor.
4. Keep it exciting
Remember how fun the just-getting-to-know-each-other, unpredictable sex period of your relationship was? Hold on to some of that magic even as you are together for a more extended period. Make an effort to be creative, woo, and surprise each other. Take turns planning special dates, go out and explore together and bring some sex toys into the bedroom.
“Whether through your hands, mouth, or a toy, we must normalise sex toys in the bedroom with our partners”, says sex educator Bezalel. Sex toys for couples like the Dream Team make couples play more fun these days with a fun little twister game and remote control for four different vibrating toys.
5. Long-distance relationships
With flights that can get us from Amsterdam to Mexico in less time than it takes to bake home-baked sourdough bread, we now also need to keep our relationships exciting and healthy on different sides of the world. Plan for Zoom dinners and movie nights, and surprise each other with long-distance relationship gifts - ranging from a sweet cupcake delivery from the local bakery to steamy sex toys with remote control and CBD-infused lubes for extra long-distance pleasure and chill.