By Crystal Becerril > Senior > English and Journalism > Boston University; Photo by AR > Sophomore > Graphic Design > UMBC
“The honeymoon phase”: we’ve all heard the term. While you were likely more affectionate than was comfortable for those around you in the beginning of your relationship, after awhile, sometimes we need a quick course in how to keep the fire burning—beyond the dance floor—when developing the initial stages of a true romance.
The first few weeks can be both tiresome and thrilling: you feel elation and don’t care about showing your passion for one another in front of others. “You never think you’re going to grow out of it,” said Paul Davenport, a student at Emerson College.
But what happens when you grow out of this beginning stage? Surely, when a fire is unattended to, it will eventually extinguish.
“Keeping up a relationship for the long-term is all about constantly putting in the effort and doing little things every now and then to surprise the other,” said Villanova University student Heather Batson.
“An emotional response of gratitude for “everyday” interpersonal gestures can be a powerful mechanism for relationship growth,” wrote University of North Carolina psychologist Sara Algoe in a recent article, “It’s the Little Things: Everyday Gratitude as a Booster Shot for Romantic Relationships.”
For a successful long-term deal, Davenport advised, “don’t stop taking her out. Don’t stop holding her hand.”
While your idea of romance may be candlelight dinner under the stars, he may roll his eyes at the idea. Find common ground in between both of your preferences, and be willing to compromise when you’re not out on your date of choice. Focus on the person sitting across from you at the dinner table, not the setting. He or she is the reason you’re out in the first place, right?
On that note, stay away from routine and stereotype. Don’t buy a girl flowers every Thursday in hopes of getting on her good graces for the weekend when she’s allergic to pollen and loves going out to movies. Instead, take her out. (A key lesson there: take notice of these small facts about your partner, like allergies, that can distinguish a dreamy evening from a disastrous one).
And don’t forget the #1 rule of dating: be on time. You’d be surprised at how tardiness can kill the romance on a date, so don’t get too relaxed that you forget the fundamentals! You need to demonstrate, in any way you can, that being a girlfriend or boyfriend is more than just a title.
“You guys love each other, so show it,” she added.
Batson said her boyfriend’s small, thoughtful gestures during busy college weeks help her get through her days. Last week, for example, “my boyfriend knew I was stressing out so he offered to take me out to a nice restaurant,” she said.
While in a relationship, you get to know your partner more than anyone else – from their best to their worst sides – and should take it upon yourself to cater to his or her needs accordingly, like in Batson’s case. Try to view these acts as opportunities to show your love and concern for the other person, rather than as a responsibility you’re forced to fulfill. But don’t lose sight of your own needs – you could end up driving yourself to misery all on your own.
In the end, the key to keeping the romance alive is in communication: if you feel the romance fading, say something. If you need one night out with your friends, say something. If you notice you are falling into a boring routine and want to try that latest move you read about in Cosmo, say something!