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You may be looking for a long-term relationship or maybe you are in one already. But, what can you expect from a long-term relationship and how can you make it work?
A long-term relationship is a serious relationship with someone whom you consider a life partner. For a long-term relationship to work, you need to have similar values and beliefs about life, family and raising children. A long-term relationship requires involvement, commitment and the skill to keep it fun and exciting.
In this article, you will learn all that is to know about a long-term relationship, if it’s for you and how you can make the most of it.
What Is a Long-Term Relationship?
Characteristics of a Long-Term Relationship
The long-term relationship is likely to be a serious relationship with a high level of commitment. In this relationship you invest a significant amount of time, effort, dedication and energy getting to know each other . At the same time you develop a deeper understanding and build a relationship with future plans and significant milestones.
In a long-term relationship, the relationship greatly affects your growth, personal development and who you are to become as an individual.
- A long-term relationship is about the time
- It requires a great investment of time, money and energy
- Strong emotional and physical intimacy
- Enjoy each other’s company
- Care and support
- Plans to build a future together
- Plans to build a family and have children
What Does a Long-Term Relationship Involve?
A long-term relationship is the one you plan to build a more serious relationship and get to know another person more intimately. A long-term relationship requires a significant amount of time, effort, dedication and energy.
In the beginning of a relationship, people make an effort to get to know each another. As time passes by, partners create a certain idea about one another and lose interest assuming there’s no much else they can learnt about each other.
A long-term relationship has the whole marks of a serious relationship as it takes time to build a bond and understanding with your partner.
Types of Long-Term Relationships
- Long-term dating
An Example of a Long-Term Relationship
Long-term monogamous relationship
Long term serious relationship
Long-term open relationship
Long-Term vs Short-Term Relationship
A long-term relationship is a relationship that doesn’t have an end day and lasts as long as everyone involved want to make it last. In contrast, a short-term relationship has an expiry date that both people agree on.
Building a relationship takes time. Getting to know someone and sharing many experiences together is only possible in a long-term relationship.
Pros and Cons of a Long-Term Relationship
Pros of a Long-Term Relationship
- Getting to know each other better.
- Growing together
- Having someone to rely on
- Helping and supporting each other
- Building trust and intimacy
- Developing emotional intimacy
- Planing for the future
- More predictability and comfort
- Creating a routine
- Having company
- Deeper sense of security
- Higher level of commitment
- Reassurance of knowing you are not alone (hence creating dependency)
- It does not have an specific end date, you can allow it to naturally develop over time.
- It lasts as long as you want it to last (opposed to a short-term relationship that you know is for a specific period of time).
Cons of a Long-Term Relationship
- Higher level of effort
- Creating a routine
- Becoming monotonous over time
- Restricting in some ways
- Dependancy (co-dependancy)
- Putting your relationship first
- Having to consider the other person
- Create a false sense of security
- Long-term commitment, a problem if your feelings change
- Changing of your circumstances to fit your relationship
- You may forget what is like to be alone and disconnect from yourself
- Expect the other person to ALWAYS be there for you.
- Obligation to having to stick to your promises, even if your circumstances and feelings change.
- Harder to end because you get used to this relationship and the reliance on this person. With time you get more reliant on each other.
- Harder to make changes with a lot more things to consider as your whole life revolves around this relationship as the time goes by.
- Being together for a long time encourages the build up of expectations from your family, friends and society to get married.
Is a Long-Term Relationship Right for You?
A Long-Term Relationship Is Right For You If:
- You want to get to know someone better and deeper
- You are looking for a more a serious relationship
- You met someone with whom you get on really well in many ways
- You want to settle in one place or travel the world together as a way of life
- You are happy having more commitments
- You want to build a meaningful relationship
A Long-Term Relationship Is Not Right For You If:
- You want a more casual relationship
- You don’t share common values and beliefs
- You are frequently traveling and moving places
- You prefer to keep your relationship light without getting to know each other deeply
- You have other life priorities such as personal goals, career, studies and want independence
- You don’t have good compatibility in different aspects of your life such as physical, emotional, or spiritual
- You stay in a place for a limited amount of time You want to be free and unrestricted by commitments and expectations
Starting a Long-Term Relationship
How to Find a Long-Term Relationship
The first step is to find a person whom you like spending your time with. Then, you see if you are compatible in a day to day basis. You will have to find out if you are compatible living together. If all of this goes well, you will find yourself in a long-term relationship.
Before Starting a Long-Term Relationship
Long-term relationships are not something you start, it’s something you develop.
If you and your partner would like your relationship to continue developing and growing, there are a few things for you to keep in mind.
- Get clear for yourself on what you expect from a long-term relationship
- Express this clearly, openly and honestly to your partner, and hear their reasons too
- Make sure you are compatible and are able to handle different situations that may arise
- Check that your long-term plans align in relation to family, children, and personal development
What to Expect from a Long-Term Relationship
- Making plans for the future
- Considering each other when making decisions
- Spending most of your time with your partner
- You share your feelings and fears
- Consideration for someone else in your decisions
- You build understanding and keep improving your communication
- You open up your deeper self, hear out and learn about the other person
- You want to be there for each other in different way to support each other
- A long-term relationship usually develops into a serious, exclusive or a monogamous relationship
- Investing time and effort into a relationship with a particular person and make this relationship work
- You will be more dependent, attached, involved of your partner and your relationship
How to Start a Long-Term Relationship
- Express Your Feelings
- Share Your Relationship Expectations
- Set Your Boundaries
Having a Long-Term Relationship
In a long-term serious romantic relationship, particularly when you live together, it takes more effort to coexist harmoniously in a shared space while respecting each other’s individual and unique preferences.
The more time you spend together, the more challenges you are bound to face. If you are not able to handle these challenges in a healthy way, they can create conflicts that need to be work out to maintain a healthy relationship.
If you don’t address your conflicts promptly, unresolved problems can accumulate and build resentment that will eat away at your relationship.
Reasons to Have a Long-Term Relationship
- Stability and security
- Plan the future
- Have a family and children
- Dedicate your time and energy to build your relationship
How to Maintain a Healthy Long-Term Relationship
Having a relationship in general means trying your best to make your relationship healthy and loving. To achieve that you need to know how to navigate each type of relationship. Because each relationship type has its own caveats.
To successfully navigate your long-term relationship you need to know what it is, be clear on your goals and manage your expectations. When you expect a relationship to last a long time, you should also be prepare for your feelings and circumstances to change.
Regular conversations with your partner will help you keep on top of your relationship as it develops and adapt to these changes. In a healthy way, consider and respect each other’s feelings and needs. This is only possible when you have an open link of communication where you can freely express yourself without fear or hesitation.
You put more effort in trying to work things out before deciding to walk away or end your relationship. At the same time you also avoid staying in the relationship that is toxic and where you have no way of fixing the problems. Staying in a toxic relationship where you feel miserable, it’s detrimental to your well-being just for the sake of commitment.
How to Handle Problems in a Long-Term Relationship
You need understanding. The reason you want to fix issues as soon as they arise is because unaddressed issues can quickly turn into problems and unresolved problems are a recipe for disaster.
- Perseverance. Even if there’s a degree of discomfort, dissatisfaction or unfulfilment you make an effort to work it out. It doesn’t mean that you have to be unfulfilled and stay in such relationship for a long time.
- Commitment. It’s more about the extra effort you are prepared to put in to resolve your problems and make it work rather than the amount of time you are prepare to tolerate being in an unhealthy and unfulfilled situation that is detrimental to your life.
- Respect each other.
- Trust and honesty are important in any relationship (friendship or romance).
Rules and Boundaries in a Long-Term Relationship
What Are Relationship Rules?
In a healthy relationship rules are made based on boundaries. Rules are agreements on what to do and what not to do under certain conditions.
Rules in a Long-Term Relationship
What to Do in a Long-Term Relationship
- Be considerate.
- Don’t take each other for granted.
- Do things for each other.
- Develop deeper emotional intimacy.
- Celebrate important dates and anniversaries.
- Keep showing appreciation for your partner.
- Be patient and dedicated to your partner.
- Agree if your relationship is open or exclusive.
- Carry on with your relationship if you still having fun together.
- Express your thoughts, feelings and doubts as soon as you have them.
- Always be open and honest about your feelings, needs, and desires.
- Try to learn more about your partner’s needs and interests over yours.
- Address your problems straight away, don’t let the problems build up, and don’t let resentment to fester.
- Try to learn more about your partner’s likes, dislikes, behaviours, goals, history, etc. All of these things change over time. So, if you don’t learn something new, you stay behind and when you think you know everything about who that person was at the time you met.
What to Avoid in a Long-Term Relationship
- Staying together because of duty and obligation.
- Assuming that you know everything that is to know about your partner.
- Walking away. You don’t walk away from the relationship the moment you feel uncomfortable.
- Tolerance, sooner or later your sacrifices and compromises will catch up in a negative way.
- Staying in a relationship because you have been together a long time and got used to each other.
- Forcing your relationship to go on if it’s no longer working, because your feelings are faded or your goals and circumstances changed.
What Are Relationship Boundaries?
Boundaries are things you agree on with your partner. Boundaries are based on preferences with the limits showing how far these preferences extend. The limit of the boundary is the extend of your willingness to do something.
What Boundaries Should You Have in a Long-Term Relationship
- Stay together as long as you are comfortable sharing your thoughts and feelings, regardless of how much they change.
- Try to be flexible while avoiding compromises.
- Don’t try to tell your partner what to do, instead share your needs and give them a chance to help you fulfil these needs if they choose to.
- Plan for your time together and make sure you also get some personal space for both of you.
How to Set Boundaries in a Long-Term Relationship
If you are in a long-term relationship and you still haven’t set boundaries, you may already be having some problems as a result. It’s better to set the boundaries at the beginning of the relationship. So, that you both know each other’s preferences.
- Understand your own preferences on the topic in question
- Share your preferences with your partner
- Learn about your partner’s preferences and views in the subject
- To make sure you understand each other’s preferences verbalised what you understood from each other
- Try to accommodate each other’s needs without compromising
Common Problems in a Long-Term Relationship
- Your goals no longer align
- Unfulfilled needs
- Sexual boredom
- Personal emotional baggage
- Getting bored or losing interest
- Losing appreciation and getting used to each other
- Losing feelings for your partner
- Getting fed up of your partner
1. Your goals no longer align
As the time goes by and you grow as individuals your views, preferences and goals may change. To keep on top of these changes it helps to have special time to reflect on your personal life goals and your relationship.
2. Unfulfilled needs
Being with the same person for a long time puts a lot of pressure of expectation on that person to fulfil all of your needs. The more time you spend together, the bigger the expectation. Ironically, with time couples tend to spend less energy on trying to understand each other. This inevitably leads to conflicts and disagreements.
So, if you are in a long-term relationship try to make extra time and effort to learn more about yourself, your partner and your relationship. Reflect on the changes that have happened throughout your relationship. And how they have affected your relationship and both of you as individuals.
3. Sexual boredom
Having sex with the same person for a long time can get monotonous.
You can try to spice up your relationship by trying different things together. You can also open yourself to other people, by having an open relationship, swinging, sex clubs, etc.
4. Personal emotional baggage
Your personal history or past experiences can get in your way of having a healthy long-term relationship.
First of all, you can share your story, doubts and insecurities with your partner to see if they can help. If it turns to be too much for either of you consider a few coaching sessions with a personal development/relationship coach. They will help you see what is going on inside of you and how it is affecting your relationship.
Low self-esteem leads to insecurity, jealousy and controlling behaviour. With time personal insecurities can manifest as problems that affect the whole relationship.
Try to understand the origins of your insecurities. Knowing where your insecurities come from may help realise you have the power over your present. This understanding will help you approach your issues in a constructive way.
6. Getting bored or losing interest
The longer the relationship lasts, it’s common for couples to get bored and lose interest. It’s important to continue with your personal development through out your relationship. This will help maintaining your life and relationship more interesting and exciting. You will also have more conversation topics to talk about.
7. Losing appreciation and getting used to each other.
When you are with someone long-term your relationship can become a habit. You are no longer experiencing new things and lacking excitement. When you get used to the person, you stop appreciating them as much, and start taking them for granted.
Set aside some time where you are undisturbed and not rushed. Create an environment where both of you are comfortable, put away all the devices and disconnect your phone and internet.
Take this time to be together. Make sure you take care of all the outside problems, so you can spend this time being together without having to do anything in particular.
Being present in the moment will help you appreciate your life, time and your relationship.
8. Losing feelings for your partner.
Loosing feelings is not as straight forward as people make it. Our feelings change all the time, that is just our human nature. The more relevant part of this question is how your behaviour change as your relationship develops.
For example, in the beginning your partner was probably spending a lot of time and energy trying to learn about you and connect to you. This will naturally feeling special, appreciated and cared for.
Now, after some time, your partner may not be spending as much time and focus on you. This can leave you feeling alone, without the sense of connection with your partner.
When it comes to your feelings it’s worth learning the vocabulary of human feelings and emotions and observe how they change for you and your partner. It will help you become more aware about your feelings and how the events in your life and relationship affects them.
9. Getting fed up of your partner.
Being fed up is a sign that you tried all you could to solve problems and find a way to a loving relationship. But, nothing you tried made a difference, and nothing you tried made a difference.
If you are getting on well with your partner but having some issues in your relationship. It may be the time to change the type of your relationship. However, if the problems you are having are with your partner, who is unwilling to address or change their behaviour, then it could be time to move on.
Signs and Red Flags in Your Long-Term Relationship
Signs of a Healthy Long-Term Relationship
- You have clear boundaries.
- You are familiar with the rules you set up.
- You are sticking to the boundaries.
- You set realistic expectations.
- You are within the set term of your relationship.
Red Flags in a Long-Term Relationship
- Feelings fading
- Growing apart
- Having different goals
- Lack of excitement
- Losing trust
- Taking each other for granted
- Loss of attraction and sexual interest (physical intimacy).
- Getting used to the relationship being in a certain way.
- Blaming each other instead of taking responsibility.
- Not addressing your issues and avoiding to resolve conflicts.
- Forgetting yourself (allowing the relationship take over your personal life).
- Overstepping the boundaries.
- Getting used to each other and getting too comfortable.
- Closing off from the rest of the world, new experiences and from getting to know new people (not necessarily in a romantic way).
- Trying to keep the relationship going (or staying in the relationship) when it’s not working and you are feeling unfulfilled.
- Lazy communication (stop making an effort to communicate , to appreciate, to show gratitude).
Ending a Long-Term Relationship
When to End a Long-Term Relationship
A long-term relationship can deteriorate over time. If you and your partner are not nourishing it and you are not longer feeling fulfil it may be a sign your relationship is coming to an end.
Constant unaddressed problems will wear your relationship out. In the process you and your partner may loose the will to make it work.
Signs Your Long-Term Relationship Is Over
When your relationship is coming to an end, you may identify yourself feeling:
- Emotionally drained
- Emotionally distressed
- Unappreciated and taken for granted
Signs Your Long-Term Relationship Is Over
When your relationship is coming to an end, you may identify yourself feeling:
- Emotionally drained
- Emotionally distressed
- Unappreciated and taken for granted
How to End a Long-Term Relationship
- Recognise how you feel and acknowledge what is not working for you in this relationship
- Share it with your partner as objectively as you can
- Give your partner a chance to express their point of view
- If you have fundamentally different views on your relationship take some time apart
- If your lives are more fulfilling without each other, you can agree to end your relationship
How to Move On After a Long-Term Relationship
- Take time for yourself to process what worked and what didn’t in your relationship
- Are there things you would have done differently? or Would have liked your partner to do differently?
- Focus on yourself, the things your enjoy and things you would like to achieve
- Reassess your situation and re-evaluate your personal life goals and ambitions.
The idea of a long-term relationship implies a relationship that is long-lasting. Meaning you will be together for the long run. This generally implies a serious relationship which is exclusive in most cases. If you would like to see other people but still maintain your relationship at some point it could become open for a short period of time.
The longer you are together, the more things happen. You discover how your relationship changes when you will feel vulnerable, doubtful and uncertain. In those times you both will expose your inner selves. You will see each other’s characters, actions, and emotions.
This is how you REALLY get to know someone as well as getting to know yourself when you are with this person. It takes time and sharing experiences for you to get to know each other.
Long-term relationships work wonderfully for some people and they don’t work for others. If you are in a long-term relationship that isn’t working try to resolve the problems or end your relationship. It’s not worth being in a toxic relationship as it is a waste of your life as well as the person you are with.
Help and Advice for Long-Term Relationships
Tips for a Serious Relationship
- Keep your relationship interesting
- Don’t take your partner for granted
- Treat each other with love and respect
- Support each other every way
- Be involved
- Work on your communication
- Have fun together
- Keep working on your personal development
- Support each others goals and ambitions
If you need professional help and advice, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help!
Frequently Asked Questions
What does a long term relationship feel like?
Being in a long-term relationship provides a big sense of stability, peace and comfort. You get to relax and be yourself if things work well between you and your partner. This relationship can bring you an opportunity to grow.
Does a long term relationship work?
A long-term relationship can work if you put effort, commitment, energy and willingness to make it work. As long as your relationship goals, values and beliefs align you have a very good chance to make this relationship work.
What is normal in a long term relationship?
What is consider normal isn’t necessarily healthy. The best thing you can do is to see if this relationship contributes to your life and your personal development in some way.
How to make a long term relationship work?
• Have some personal time away from each other
• Create a space to appreciate your relationship and each other
• Show your love and care in the way your partner understands
How to keep a long term relationship exciting?
• Explore different places together
• Try different hobbies
• Meet new people
• Do things that both of you enjoy without the obligation to do it
Are long-term relationships worth it?
A long-term relationship can be a wonderful experience provided you enjoy each other’s company. If you have common interests and enjoy having conversations then you always have someone to talk to who’s opinion you value.
That said, if you are not enjoying enjoying each other’s company and have nothing to talk about then such a relationship is hardly worth it.
How to tell if a long-term relationship is over?
• When you no longer enjoy each other’s company
• When you are not growing as individuals
• When interesting discussions turn into arguments