The question of what goes into a successful relationship is seemingly eternal, and one that can be asked in countless ways.
Are they ‘the one’? Is this the right relationship? How do we make things last?
Often at the centre of it all is the elusive ‘spark’ – the initial sexual attraction you feel for your partner – and whether or not you can make it, and thus your relationship, go the distance.
While feeling attracted to your partner is undoubtedly important and worth trying to maintain over the years, the pandemic has made it even more evident that a healthy relationship needs more than just sexual chemistry if it’s going to survive the inevitable bad times as well as the good.
Jessica Leoni, sex and relationship expert with dating site IllicitEncounters.com, told us having a spark and maintaining it is essential but it’s not the only thing your relationship should have.
She says: ‘A spark is vitally important to a long-term relationship. A spark – that intense, immediate reaction when you first met your partner – is what got you both together in the first place, and maintaining that spark is the key to keeping relationships vibrant. It is amazing how many couples lose that spark and just start going through the motions when they have been together more than a year.
‘They settle for second best sexually and emotionally, deriving comfort from having a partner but losing all the good things that made them attracted to their partner in the first place.’
‘Sex is the glue that keeps all good relationships together,’ she says. ‘Never under-estimate its importance and always try to keep it as part of your regular routine.’
She adds: ‘Maintaining that physical connection is vital, otherwise you are just friends, not lovers.
When it comes to things other than sexual attraction, Jessica says that sex and conversation are two sides of the relationship coin that need to be present for your partnership to work.
She tells us: ‘Other than sex, I think great conversation is the other key. Do you struggle to hold a prolonged conversation with your partner? Do you have to think up things to talk about when you go to the pub? All the best couples never run out of things to say without even trying.’
Dating app Badoo’s UK brand marketing director Natasha Briefel goes as far as to say that honesty and open communication is more important than that initial attraction when looking for ‘the one’.
She tells us: ‘While it’s always exciting to feel a ‘spark’ when it comes to finding the one, the most important factor to look for is open and honest communication.’
She adds: ‘Whether you’re looking for a one-off match, someone new to date, or a long-term relationship, it’s crucial you are upfront about what you want as this will not only help you find what you’re truly looking for, but will also allow the other person to feel more connected to you.
‘Honesty isn’t something that will fade over time – when it’s a permanent agreement between two people, it shows respect, consideration and kindness, and helps us to achieve and sustain successful, healthy relationships.’
Even when there’s not a pandemic on, life will inevitably have downs as well as ups, so you’ll need a partner who can help you through it all.
Anna Whitehouse, Heart FM presenter and co-writer of the book Where’s My Happy Ending, tells us it was the hardships that really made her marriage.
She says: ‘Personally, I didn’t marry my husband Matt on our wedding day; I married him after we went through a miscarriage, redundancy and postnatal depression.
‘I think there’s always a crunch point in any relationship where it goes from shagging 24/7 and going to the corner shop for a tub of Ben & Jerry’s on a Sunday then back to bed, to a moment where you see your partner in a different light and you become ‘married’ together through experiences.’
She adds: ‘Whether it’s the beginning of your relationship or 10 years in, it’s how you survive those big moments outside of your ‘happily ever after’ that lets us know that actually, we can survive.’
Jessica says we need to find a partner we can trust to not just keep loving us through hardship and tragedy, but who will give us ‘time and space to readjust’ afterwards.
She adds: ‘Bereavement can stress test a relationship in the same way as Covid. People can end up mourning a parent for years and be completely knocked from their normal equilibrium.
‘What you are looking for at these moments of extreme stress is a partner who will love you unconditionally and give you the time and space to readjust.’
Do you have a story to share?
Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk
Source: Read Full Article