8 Relationship Resolutions You Should Consider This Year

At a certain point in any relationship, you get comfortable. You might learn what makes your partner tick, care less about what you wear on dates, and settle into habits. While this sense of security and ease can be a good thing for your relationship, sometimes it's a good idea to refresh and work on your relationship, and the start of the new year is the perfect time to do that.

Ahead, we asked relationship experts to suggest resolutions for couples going into the new year. If you and your partner already failed at setting some ambitious New Year's resolutions, that's understandable. But there's still time to set some meaningful intentions that will help guide you both through 2018 and on.

Reduce negativity.

The resolution: Reduce the negativity in your conversations.

Why it's a good idea: It's okay to bicker with your partner every now and then, but there are more productive ways to face conflict. This year, you may want to consider breaking one of your bad habits, like blaming, shaming, or criticizing your partner, says Rachel Needle, PsyD, a licensed psychologist and director of Modern Sex Therapy Institutes. When you feel yourself slipping into old ways of managing a disagreement, take a step back. "Reduce the negativity, take responsibility, and communicate using 'I' statements and feeling words," she says. For example, instead of saying, "You always ignore me when I'm talking to you," try saying, "I feel hurt when I'm trying to tell you something and don't get a response."

Be honest.

The resolution: Speak up and be honest.

Why it's a good idea: In the early stages of a relationship, many people struggle to talk about what's not working in the relationship, because they don't want to mess anything up. But when hurt or dissatisfaction goes unaddressed, partners can be resentful and a couple can grow disconnected, says Jane Greer, PhD, New York-based relationship expert. Instead, make a commitment to have open and honest communication, says Anita Chlipala, LMFT, a dating expert in Chicago. "This doesn't mean being so blunt that you hurt your partner's feelings, but you will speak up for your needs, and what bothers you," she says.

Stay connected.

The resolution: Stay connected.

Why it's a good idea: While it can feel momentarily satisfying to give your partner the silent treatment when they're pissing you off, resolve to deal with conflicts together, Dr. Greer says. "Despite the fight, agree to hit the hold button," she says. When you're ready to return to the conflict, Dr. Greer says it's important to try to bring some objectivity and perspective back to the conversation. "Agree upon a time to pick it up, and approach it with the goal of problem-solving and coming up with a compromise."

Get physically intimate.

The resolution: Actually get physically intimate.

Why it's a good idea: Sexual satisfaction contributes to your overall quality of life, so in many ways, planning to be more physically sexually active in the new year is an act of self care, Dr. Needle says. Prioritize intimacy with your partner, and consider scheduling time to do so if you have to. There's a common belief that all sex has to be spontaneous, but that's far from the case. "Planning ahead can build anticipation and excitement," she says. It's a small step that can maintain the health of your relationship going forward, she says.

Appreciate little moments.

The resolution: Appreciate little moments.

Why it's a good idea: Sure, when big moments like birthdays and anniversaries come up, you're quick to tell your partner how important they are and how much you appreciate them. But according to Chlipala, there's power in celebrating the mundane, low-key moments of life, too. "Acknowledge each other's attempts for attention and support daily," she says. So, if your partner wants to make you a cup of tea or debate the latest news headline, be present in that moment and let them know that you value them.


The resolution: Unplug occasionally.

Why it's a good idea: If hanging out with bae usually involves scrolling on your phones in the same room and not really speaking, try to change that, Dr. Needle says. It's fine to use your phone sometimes, but vow to "spend undistracted time together," she says. "Be present, don’t multitask, and give your partner your full attention to allow for deeper connection and to create more meaningful moments together."

Do fun stuff.

The resolution: Do more fun stuff.

Why it's a good idea: You may be well past the exciting courting stage of your relationship, but you can still find ways to have fun together, Dr. Needle says. "When people get comfortable in their relationships, all of life’s other factors come in to play, and the fun tends to fade," she says. Pinpoint a few activities you and your S.O. enjoy doing together — like exercising, cooking, or decorating your apartment — and aim to rediscover them. "Continuing to play around with and have fun with your partner will keep you happier and more satisfied," she says.

Admit when you need help.

The resolution: Admit when you need help.

Why it's a good idea: If you're working on adjusting a habit or dealing with something that frustrates you, let your partner know, she says. "Couples want to have ongoing conversations with each other about the behaviors that they are working on so that the other doesn't inadvertently undermine their efforts," she says. For example, if you struggle to articulate your thoughts in the heat of the moment, tell your partner that you need to take time to calm down, sort through your thoughts, and state them rationally, she says. "Bring up what you need from your partner instead of shutting them out."

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