Responsiveness Is The Secret To Keeping Desire Alive In Long-Term Relationships

A really common fear in a long-term relationship is that the desire will fade away. You’ll get the seven-year itch or just get bored with each other — and that it will sneak up without you knowing. Intimacy and desire is a hard thing to get back, so your best bet is to try not to lose it in the first place. But how on earth do you that?

Luckily, new research explains how. An article in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology comprised of three different studies wanted to see if how we respond to our partner affects our levels of desire. Overall, responsiveness was associated with increased desire, but more strongly in women, according to the study.

So it’s important for everyone to be responsive, but even more so if your partner is a woman. But how do you become more responsive to your partner? Some people are naturally more tuned into each other, others have to work on it. But it’s an integral part of your relationship, from the beginning right on into a long term. Here are ways to be responsive to your partner:

1. Active Listening

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One of the best ways to be responsive is through active listening and strong communication, because it will help in every aspect of your relationship. Whether it’s during a disagreement, day to day activities, or even sex, really listening and responding to what your partner actually says is a great way to show your present. “I’ve absolutely seen couples save a relationship using active listening,” Janet Zinn, a New York City–based couples therapist, tells Bustle. “[Active listening] adds compassion for one another in the relationship, which is key to healing a relationship,”

2. Handle Bad Moods With Care

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Dealing with your partner in a difficult time is one of the hardest things — and it’s an important time to be on responsiveness high-alert. “The best way to handle a partner’s bad moods is by not taking them on,” Gestalt life coachNina Rubin tells Bustle. “It’s tough to give yourself space and not think it is your fault…. Remind your partner that you’re available to talk and miss them.” It a way of acknowledging what they need without being absent from the situation.

3. Pull Your Weight

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Part of being responsive to your partner is to anticipate their needs and meet them. A large part of this is not leaving them to do all the work, whether it’s communicating or housework. The benefit? “The couple feels like partners rather than that the brunt of the burden is falling on just one of them,” relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW tells Bustle.

By making sure you’re tuned into your partner and doing your share to help them, you’ll make sure they feel like you’re present and responding to their needs.

Originally posted on Bustle