Heather and I will celebrate our 7th anniversary this November, and although we're thankfully not in need of any ways to avoid the 7-year itch, that's the point where many long time couples become a little disenchanted with their relationships. Whether you're in a long term commitment, such as Heather and I, or you're married to your partner, sometimes the fires turn to embers and the smolder dies down a little with time. This is entirely normal, although it may make you start doubting your relationship. Think about how important your partner is to you, and if you come to the conclusion that you really want to keep the love alive, start employing some foolproof ways to avoid the 7-year itch.
I've tried to find several really helpful ways to avoid the 7-year itch, but not one of them will work if you don't make time to spend with each other. School, work, kids, individual hobbies, and the tedium of day to day life can all interfere with your relationship, especially if you let all those things eclipse your union. While meeting deadlines, picking up the kids, and studying for exams are all important, so is your relationship. If you've decided you don't want to give up on your partner, make time to see it through.
After making time to spend with each other, you have to start talking – but stop talking about the things you always discuss. If your conversations revolve around mundane topics and you experience deja vu every time you talk to each other, branch out and start thinking up new topics. You should certainly have a dialogue about the 7-year itch, but you'll also benefit from discussing the books you're reading, the conversation you had with a mutual friend, your interest in what your partner's doing at work, and his or her intrigue with how things are progressing at school.
To get past or altogether avoid the 7-year itch, you have to work together as a couple – that goes without saying, even though I just said it anyway. However, you also have to get to know yourself again. Your partner does as well. Reintroduce yourself to yourself, reevaluate your likes and dislikes, pay attention to your goals, take a look at your sense of humor, and focus on your current sense of style. Nothing is too big or too small to escape your notice. You'll probably discover that you've changed in the years you've been together; you're not the person you were at the beginning of the relationship, and neither is your partner – and that's fine. People are constantly evolving, and that's a wonderful thing. You simply have to take time every once and a while to get to know the new you, and then reintroduce your partner to your new incarnation as well.
Nearly every relationship falls into a rut. Yours might involve getting up, getting the kids ready, doing the school run, going to work, coming home, having dinner, going to bed, and repeat. You have a busy, fulfilling day, but it's still a rut, especially if you and your partner aren't making time for each other. You may have a designated date night or a sex schedule where you're intimate every Friday night. While those things are sometimes necessary to spend time together, they still create a tired pattern. Shake up your routine, do something different, and don't let yourselves wear a rut right through the middle of your relationship. You might fall in and never find your way out again.
Whether you have financial concerns, trust issues, or a problem with the way your partner cleans up, you have problems. No relationship is perfect, and if ever you spot a couple who acts like they've got no issues whatsoever, rest assured that someone in it is busy keeping their problems to themselves. Don't do that, and don't keep saying that you can discuss it later. When is later going to arrive? Talk about your problems now, no matter how large or seemingly insignificant. That's a key aspect of communication.
Your relationship should have plenty of exciting variety. While you can certainly spice up your sex life for some extra thrills, don't stop there. Go out to eat at places you've never tried before. Plan a vacation to a place brand new to both of you. If it's feasible, think about moving, or simply take some kind of class together. Variety keeps your relationship exciting and adventurous, and excitement and adventures will keep the 7-year itch at bay.
Just as every couple has problems, every couple has fears as well. Maybe you fear the idea of marriage, maybe you're worried about having kids, or perhaps you're just worried about where your relationship is going. No matter what scares you, face those fears together. Doing so will make you stronger as a couple. It will bring you closer together, and it will keep you from getting or staying bored with each other.
The 7-year itch doesn't hit everyone, and it won't always happen during your seventh year together. Whether it happens during the third, the fifth or the eleventh, however, you don't have to give up the relationship you've nurtured or the partner you've loved for so long. You just have to rekindle the romance, and you have to work at it together. Have you ever experienced a lull in your relationship? Let us know how you got past the hump!
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