You hear about what to do or not do before getting into a relationship and after a relationship — but what about during one? I don't know of a relationship I have that doesn't involve a certain level of work. Hell, anything in my life that I want to succeed in involves work. If I want to stay in shape, I have to push myself at the gym. If I want a solid group of girlfriends, I have to put in the effort to see them and nurture the friendship.
It only makes sense that if you want a lasting romantic relationship, you have to work at it every single day, right?
Do: Text them “good morning” and “good night.” Don't: Ignore their texts and let them see you're active on social media.
What might seem menial to most is actually a very important aspect of a relationship. I want my SO to know that they are the first person I think of in the morning and the last person I think of at night.
Do: Make room for actual dates. Don't: Assume movie nights on the couch is considered quality time.
I am a homebody and love my nights in, especially cuddled up on the couch. However, there is something about getting dressed up and going out that brings you closer to the person you're dating. It's your chance to connect with each other and show each other off to the world. I can't wear my Topshop lime-green bandage dress sitting on the couch now, can I? No really, can I?
Do: Affirm your feelings for your SO in any way that you can. Don't: Stop — ever. This never gets old.
I don't think I've ever heard someone in a relationship say, “He just tells me he loves me too many times in a day.” No way. Each and every one of us needs affirmation that we are important and we're lying if we say otherwise. For bonus points, frequently send her flowers.
Do: Involve yourself in their hobbies. Don't: Do everything separately.
This is where I think a lot of couples get it wrong. Do I want to watch four hours of basketball while he screams at the TV? Not all the time. Does he want to watch me try on shoes at Nordstrom on a Saturday afternoon? Probably not. But it's all about quality time and being selfless. Not everything you do is going to be buckets of rainbows and butterflies, but you chose this person. So you should watch her try on the Sam Edelman booties.
Do: Open up about how you feel, when you feel it. Don't: Internalize your feelings and let it brew.
Because I am a very anxious person by nature, it is very difficult for me to let things brew. If I don't let it out, I will just sabotage my own thoughts and make it unbearable to function. If you feel something, say it, within reason. You don't need to be harsh or rude, but you should be honest enough to share your feelings when you're feeling them.
Do: Continue to make yourself a priority. Don't: Lose yourself for the other person.
Go to the gym. Meet your girlfriends for happy hour after a long day at work. Kick some ass at work for the promotion you want. These things are what probably impressed your SO in the first place — so keep doing you.