Sunday, March 13, 2011

6 Quick Tips To A Better Relationship

Clear space out in your life for them, literally. Yes, yes, we all heard first-hand from me what a bitch it was to lump all my tank tops and long sleeves together in my closet, but making a shelf for the guy I'm seeing has ended up not only being functional so that the extra pairs of socks and shirts he keeps here don't get mixed in my my cast-off clothing, but also, a great visual reminder behind my closet door that it's not just me and my girl clothes in there anymore. Even when he's not here, his stinky socks are, which is strangely more endearing than it sounds.

Spend the night where you normally wouldn't. I had an important doctor's appointment last week in the morning, and it's a 2 hour drive from here to my hometown. Fortunately, TGIS lives basically halfway between my college home and my permanent, parental address, and offered to have me come down to him and spend the night before there so I only had to drive an hour in the morning and could get some extra zzz's (in theory, at least). It was charming and enlightening to be in his world (and house) for the night, and to sleep in his bed and watch his TV shows. If you never spend the night at his place because, ick, can you say man-cave?, I'd suggest you woman up and do it, if just for one night. Not only is he in his comfortable territory, but you both get to do something new. If you already swap nights between your place and your S.O's, go somewhere else overnight like a B&B or hotel or offer to house-sit for a friend who's going out of town. Moving your relationship somewhere it normally doesn't exist gives you a fresh perspective.

Uphold your couple habits. I've said it time and time before-- you shouldn't have to talk to your S.O every day. And yet, I'm currently involved in a relationship, as shown, that it's weird to not at least send at least a single text in every day. Case in point: I've been going through a lot of personal things lately, and have talked to the guy I'm seeing about how I really need support right now. Yesterday was kind of a down day for me, and I didn't hear from him, which didn't make me feel any peppier-- until he sent me a completely random, inside-joke text at 1:42 in the morning. I may have been juuuust about to fall asleep, but knowing that he reached out before I did let me sleep so much more soundly. The key here with communication is to uphold without going overboard or smothering-- You don't want to be the type of girl who dominates his Facebook wall, and you also don't want to horn into his time with the boys, though I'm sure he wouldn't mind if you posted random, funny things you find on Youtube from time to time, or if you sent him a single "thinking of you, you great big stud-muffin"-y text or a risqué photo to remind him what he's missing on boy's night. Moderation-- as with in things like drinking, drugs, and shopping-- is the key.

Shower together. During that time of the month, extracurricular relationship activities come to a slow-down for me, and showering together is one of the things that I've found that you can do that's a little romantic, a little sexy, and great for bonding. You don't even have to start anything-- just the feeling of your two naked bodies in a close space doing something most people don't get to see promotes feelings of trust and intimacy. Plus, it's environmentally friendly, blah, blah, blah. Just don't, like, shave with him watching or anything. That would kill intimacy, not foster it.

Cook dinner. If he can/wants to help, that's icing on the cake, but more than anything, you can really get off on a big relationship boost of providing for someone's basic need: to eat. Have a few quick, under 30-minute go-to recipes mastered that you know you both enjoy-- I make a mean risotto that I learned in Italy that TGIS calls "bitchin'," so if he's over and hasn't eaten dinner yet, I make sure I always have the ingredients to whip it up. (No one is EVER getting my secret special recipe, but you can find a similar, definite man-friendly risotto with bacon recipe here.)

Enforced bonding activities. This may not sound like much fun, but if I could, I'd make EBAs mandatory in relationships. They're the things that really aren't fun, but prove to each other that you're willing to put up with them when the shit hits the fan. Cases in point: Retracing steps and keeping a level head when they lose their credit card. Digging each other's cars out after a winter storm. Meeting the parents. Attending your S.O's work functional as their +1. EBAs prove that when the chips are down, you're by their side and not going anywhere fast, which is possibly one of the most heartening and affirming things that you can do or receive in a relationship.

What are some of your best relationship tips?


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