One of my biggest tips for a lasting relationships is scientific – but bear with me, as it has implications and advice for the real world. One of the best things you can do to ensure a happy, satisfying relationship that will endure through life’s ups and downs is to recreate endorphins. So what exactly does that mean? Endorphins are the same brain chemicals we feel when we begin to fall in love. They show up elsewhere, too, or course, when we’ve accomplished a goal or done something risky. But they show up in love because we’re anticipating the excitement, risk and – yes- perhaps the accomplishment of meeting someone new, starting a relationship, and all the details that brings with it.
When The “Fire” Dies
But it’s likely that after only a little while, those feelings of risk, excitement and accomplishment begin to wane. We know most of the stories our partner tells. We know all their secrets – and all of the details of their day-to-day life as well. We’ve learned much of what there is to know about their past, their likes and dislikes, their struggles and their hobbies. We’ve probably settled into a routine in this new relationship and what was once exciting and unsure has become second nature. This is not a bad stage in a relationship – on the contrary, it can be exciting in its own way as you get to know someone intimately and become comfortable enough with them to develop a life and support system with them. But that doesn’t change the fact that many relationships plateau here, and this often leads to trouble.
So, put into practice, what can you do to increase endorphins? As I suggest in my book, Make up Don’t Breakup – which focuses on getting through the dips in order to form a lasting relationship – I recommend that you linger. An example is a 20 sec hug which releases the feel good, happy, dopamine rush. Also a 30 second kiss which releases the cuddle hormone Oxytocin and which bonds you to your partner. I’m sure you can come up with more of your own!
More Tips To Make Your Relationship Last
• Make sure you fight fairly. I discuss this in Financial Infidelity that it’s so important to have a 10 minute heart-to heart each week, with a figurative emotional “bullet proof vest” to protect from hurt, anger and defensiveness, as you listen and echo back what you heard. It is essential to walk in your partner’s shoes rather than trying to be right. Instead of shame and blame you should give 3 solutions, and your partner has to pick at least one. Fighting fairly creates the tension that gives you passion and makes you feel safe.
• Make sex a priority, Schedule it in. Some examples are:
“Kidnap your partner” – take turns scheduling something – non-sexual – that you enjoy as a couple. Build on that intimacy, and see where it leads!
Use your imagination and come up with different ways to feel close to your partner, even when you don’t, well, feel close to your partner. Those endorphins will keep your body, spirit and mind happy in this relationship, making it last for the long haul!