If you have had relationships that did not last long or if you have trouble finding someone who wants to get involved in a long-term relationship, the idea of having a long and happy relationship may seem difficult to achieve. Luckily, there are steps you can take to improve the quality and duration of your relationship.
Start your relationship with the right foot
Understand your needs and desires If you want to have a successful relationship, it is important to understand your own emotional and physical needs before starting, because you will need to communicate them to your partner. You may already have a clear idea of what you need and want in a relationship, but if you’re not sure, you can think of the following questions:
- Reflect on your past relationships to determine the reason why they worked or not. What can these experiences tell you about your needs?
- Think about the way you react to people and events. For example, do you tend to react emotionally, find it hard to trust someone or express your feelings? It may be helpful to consider these personality traits before entering into a serious relationship.
Make sure the reasons for having a relationship are healthy instead of the opposite. Keep in mind the following indications:
- The healthy reasons for having a relationship are a desire to share love, intimacy and companionship; yearning to experience personal development; eagerness to provide emotional and physical support to the couple; and the hope of creating a family. It is important to keep in mind that these motivations not only focus on receiving love and support, but also on giving them to your partner.
- The unhealthy reasons to have a relationship are the fear of being alone, fear of breakup and the unwillingness to lose your connection with friends or family of your partner. Using your partner to obtain security, sex, money, or getting revenge on an ex-partner, are unhealthy reasons to have a relationship. If you start a relationship and keep it for these reasons, both your partner and you will have difficulties to make it last and be happy, causing damage to the process.
Choose your partner wisely. If you want to build a happy and lasting relationship, you must choose your partner carefully. A common mistake is to think that opposites attract, but researchers have revealed that people who share common goals, interests and expectations often have more satisfying relationships
- It is not necessary that your personality traits are the same as those of your partner, but if both want things different from the relationship, they will have difficulties to make it last.
- Determine if your differences complement each other. For example, someone who is more impulsive might find a balance with someone who tends to be more planners.
Keep it real. Starting a relationship with the hope that there are no difficulties or challenges is not realistic. The early passion and the feeling of falling in love may fade, but, with time and effort, you can forge a deeper and more meaningful relationship.
Do not try to change your partner. While you can persuade your partner to pick up dirty clothes or walk the dog, thinking that you can change your personality, views or behavior radically can make the relationship fail. In particular, experts suggest that you will not be able to change the following personality traits or ideas:
- ideas about religion;
- the views of your partner regarding having children;
- his temperament and the way he acts when he feels fury;
- the introversion or extroversion of the person;
- the interests, activities and hobbies of your partner;
- the relationship of your partner with your family.
Develop friendship If you hope to have a lasting and happy relationship, focus on developing friendship with your partner. Experts have revealed that couples who maintain a friendship are happier and are more likely to stay together.
- If you do not want to spend time together, the relationship will not be very successful.
- Take the time to explore the interests and hobbies of each one. At first, doing something you do not want might seem like a sacrifice, but your partner will appreciate your effort and, next time, will be more willing to do something you enjoy.
- Try to identify your common interests and try to get them. For example, if you both enjoy outdoor activities, go on a camping trip.
Do not think that you have to do everything together. Sometimes couples think they need to do all the activities together, but that can make them feel claustrophobic.
- Do not stop spending time with your friends or family.
- Continue with the hobbies you used to have before starting the relationship.
Be generous with one another. Generous people are willing to put the thoughts, feelings and interests of others above their own. Researchers have revealed that when couples are generous with each other, they are more likely to create a lasting relationship.
- Share what you have This could be something as simple as being willing to split a dessert or something more important, like your resources and time.
- Do not act with generosity to get something in return. Those who exhibit true generosity do not do so because they want something from the other person. For example, do not give an elaborate gift just because you want to receive one in return.
- Do not feel rushed. People who are in a relationship may feel the pressure to move quickly to a more advanced stage (being intimate, moving in with the partner, or getting married right after they meet). While it may be exciting to think about the happy ending you expect and hurry to fulfill it, taking the time to make sure that both your partner and you are on the same page with respect to the relationship will only solidify it.
- If they do not feel pressure or obligation to do something quickly, both will have more confidence and will be happier in the relationship.
- The better they know each other and the more they develop their relationship, the more likely they are to succeed.
Maintain a long and happy relationship
Keep in mind that your relationship will change. Just as your partner and you may change over time, the relationship will also evolve. Instead of maintaining a monotonous relationship, accept and appreciate the changes that arise with the development of a more established and lasting. 
- Some people worry about not feeling the same level of falling in love or passion as in the first days of the relationship, but it is normal. As the relationship progresses, they may have fewer opportunities for intimacy because of the pressures of work, family, and other commitments. However, research suggests that people in committed relationships claim to have a more satisfying physical and emotional relationship with their partners.
- Instead of worrying about the negative aspects of a more established relationship, think about the positive ways in which your relationship has developed. For example, do you feel that the connection with your partner is deeper? Do you feel more confidence and confidence than at the beginning of the relationship? What kind of experiences and challenges has you and your partner faced?
Agree to invest time, energy and effort in the relationship. To cultivate a long and happy relationship, it is necessary that both people invest time, energy and effort.
- Instead of thinking that maintaining a relationship is a “hard work”, consider it as something that deepens and develops the connection that both your partner and you share. While this sometimes means facing the challenges, there will also be many pleasant, special and exciting moments.
- Even when the relationship seems like hard work at times, focus on the profits you will receive with your investment.
Treat yourself with respect. Treating each other with respect will allow both developing and maintaining a lasting and happy relationship. Here are some effective ways to show respect to your partner.
- Treat your partner as you would like to be treated.
- Demonstrate attention and courtesy by asking each person’s opinion and giving opinions on important matters, such as parenting, and even on everyday topics, such as what will be for dinner.
- Consult each other before making plans.
- Ask your partner about their work, interests, activities and feelings.
- Avoid insulting or using language and behavior that degrades your partner. Sarcasm, fussiness and disturbances may seem insignificant, but they can also hurt your partner and cause him to become defensive or hostile.
Show your partner how much it means to you. Many couples pay close attention to birthdays and anniversaries, but expressing and showing your appreciation for the things your partner does on a daily basis will help you establish a strong and happy relationship.
- It is not necessary that you spend money to show your interest.
- Try to do something useful or considered without asking. For example, take out the trash or offer to prepare dinner.
- Tell your partner the reason why it is important to you.
- When your partner does something good for you, acknowledge it and thank him.
- If you want your partner to show more appreciation and consideration, then do the same. You can preach by example.
Communicate with your partner Bad communication will prevent your partner and you from having a long and happy relationship. Effective communication will help you make sure you are on the same page and trust each other.
- Get in touch with your partner frequently and talk daily about more personal issues and the relationship instead of just doing work, raising children or doing household chores.
- Communication does not always mean talking. It also consists of listening carefully to what your partner has to say. Avoid interrupting her or talking when she is doing it.
- When your partner shares their feelings, recognize what you heard by summarizing everything he or she has told you. You can start by saying “So what I am hearing or understanding is that …”. Even if you do not agree with what your partner tells you, this strategy will show that you pay attention and allow you to feel empathy with her. In general, it will also prevent people from becoming defensive.
- Usually, face-to-face communication, especially when it comes to the relationship, is more effective than phone calls, text messages or emails. If you can see a person in the eye, observe their body language and pay attention to their reactions, you can better respond to the situation and address concerns.
Be honest. People who are honest with each other are more likely to enjoy a lasting and happy relationship. The distrust that often arises from dishonesty can seriously endanger your relationship.
- Instead of risking losing confidence, be honest and let your partner know about your feelings and concerns. Even when the conversation is uncomfortable and difficult, trying to regain your confidence after acting dishonestly will be even more so.
- While it is important to be honest to have a successful relationship, brutal honesty can be harmful. Try to be kind and sensitive in conveying your concerns or sharing unpleasant news. If you act rudely and insensitively, your message will not be well received and both will have much more difficulty communicating.
Keep in mind that you and your partner could express love differently. People show their affection and love differently, and keeping that in mind can help you establish a happier and healthier relationship.
- Be sensitive to each other’s needs by asking what both can do to show love and support. Once they both know their personal needs, they can make a conscious effort to express their feelings to each other.
Celebrate your differences. Instead of thinking about how much your partner irritates you or differs in how you approach a particular topic, try to appreciate your differences.
- Think of the way your differences complement those of your partner and contribute to your relationship. For example, if you are more serious and your partner, more cheerful, think about how you can help balance the relationship. Does your partner force you not to take things too seriously and can you help her focus on important things?
- In general, people consider that a trait of personality or habit that is sometimes irritating is also something that, at first, attracted you to your partner.
Spend a quality time as a couple. Often, in more established relationships, people become busy and it can be easy to overlook the importance of sharing quality time with your partner. Spending time together frequently without interrupting children, pets, parents or work can help connect them and form a mutual bond.
- Instead of just watching television or a movie, choose an activity in which you can interact with your partner. You can plan a weekend trip, sign up for a cooking class, walk through the park or dine.
- Many couples find it useful to schedule regular “appointments”. Plan what you will do together or take turns planning the activities for a week while your partner does the next. Be sure to choose different activities, so that your appointments do not become a routine.
Take some time for yourself. While it is important to spend quality time together, taking time for yourself will also help you maintain a long and happy relationship. Anyone can irritate another person after a while, and spending a while away or taking time to be alone will usually allow you to appreciate your partner even more.
- Have interests and activities separately. When they get back together they will feel independent, but also happier and revitalized.
Laugh along with your partner. In a relationship, challenges are inevitable, but having the ability to maintain a sense of humor and laugh with your partner will help them overcome difficulties.
- Try to remember a shared experience or go to an amusement park or a comedy club where people laugh out loud.
- Focus on laughing together instead of at the expense of each other, because that can make the experience negative and prevent you from forming a mutual bond.
Do not let others interfere in your relationship. Unhappy parents-in-law, authoritarian parents and bossy friends can wreak havoc on the relationship they both have. Work together to keep negative interference to a minimum.
- It is not necessary to take these people out of your life, but neither do you tolerate someone who does not support or negatively affect your relationship.
- If your partner or you are concerned that someone intervenes in the relationship, speak openly and honestly. Try to develop ideas for potential solutions. For example, if your in-laws insist on visiting them for Christmas every year, you and your partner can plan a trip and enjoy a time away from family pressures.
- You can listen and respond to the concerns that people may have about your relationship, but you can also explain in a courteous and calm manner how their involvement negatively affects your partner and you.
- An exception to this occurs in case you are in an abusive relationship or there is a reasonable justification for your concerns. In these cases, do not isolate yourself or take from your life the people who want to help and support you.
Solve the problems
Do not try to win an argument. Sometimes, people start a discussion with the idea that they need to “win” and show that they are “right”. However, this attitude severely limits your ability to solve the problems they have.
- If you are determined to “win” a discussion, you will show your partner that you do not care what he thinks and feels. This behavior makes the relationship more conflictive and will cancel communication channels.
- This attitude also suggests that the discussion is aimed at dominating rather than solving any underlying problem that caused it.
- Trying to beat your partner will not help you establish a long and happy relationship. People who “lose” a discussion often feel the need to retaliate, react and respond. Also, you probably do not end up with a sense of satisfaction.
Discuss fairly. Just as starting a discussion with a “winning” attitude is detrimental to a relationship, employing unfair strategies with your partner is also unfair. Shouting, applying the law of ice, blaming and making intentional comments that you know will hurt your partner are destructive strategies that will not solve the problems of the relationship.
- You can express your annoyance and frustration without resorting to these unfair strategies. For example, instead of blaming or making accusations, focus on your feelings and be as specific as possible.
- Instead of saying “You did this to me”, it explains what makes you feel hurt or upset. In general, resorting to accusations will put the person on the defensive, as he will not want to spend his time listening to your concerns.
- Do not use words such as “never” and “always”, because they are rarely accurate and tend to increase tension.
- If these behaviors arise during an argument, take a break from it and challenge it when your partner and you are more calm. Go for a walk, breathe deeply a few times, write in a diary or play with your children. In this way, you will have your emotions under greater control when you resume the discussion with your partner.
Focus on one problem at a time and be specific. Often, during a discussion, it is tempting to air other problems and stack up complaints. However, this method will make your problems seem more overwhelming and limit your ability to solve some of them. 
- Concentrate on the specific problem so that you can approach it without the things that complicate and become more negative.
It admits the occasions when you make an error. It is normal to make mistakes during a relationship, but refusing to admit that you did something wrong or that you hurt someone will not help you maintain a long and happy relationship. If you want to solve the problems that may arise and develop trust in your relationship, both should recognize the times when they make mistakes.
- If your partner has a concern or problem, consider it carefully. Because you probably know better than anyone, there is a good chance that your concern is valid.
- Ask for specific suggestions on how to prevent this from happening in the future.
- If you can accept your own mistakes, your partner will be more willing to recognize your own.
Try to forgive. Holding grudges and refusing to forget the hurts of the past will make both your partner and you unhappy. While it may be difficult to learn to forgive, doing so will lead to a lasting and healthy relationship.
- It may be helpful to reconsider the reason why you felt hurt in the first place. Ask yourself if what happened is as important as it seemed at first and keep your willingness to recognize that something you said or did may have influenced the situation.
- Ask yourself if something from your past could cause you to hold grudges.
- Think of the benefits you could obtain through forgiveness. Clinging to negative feelings will make you feel upset, anxious and stressed, and forgiving someone will probably make you feel better.
- If you keep bringing up the things that hurt you in the past, both you and your partner may feel overwhelmed and hopeless about the future of the relationship.
Accept the fact that you may not be able to solve all the problems in the relationship. While you may feel that your partner and you need to solve all the problems that arise in the relationship, this is not necessarily a realistic long-term goal. People can have a lasting and happy relationship regardless of disagreements that may arise.
- Sometimes, what we identify as problems in the relationship are not the main problems that we initially thought they were. Try to look at the situation in perspective by asking yourself if the problem really is a reason to break the relationship and requires a clear solution.
- Successful couples can commit, adapt and recognize times when it is not worth risking a relationship.
Keep in mind the right time to ask for help. If you have problems solving a situation with your partner or communicating the aspects of your relationship, do not hesitate to seek help from a couple therapist, a couples counselor or other mental health professional.
- Waiting until the problem gets worse and threatens your relationship will only make it difficult to solve it.
- It may be useful to have someone who is objective and has experience in dealing with relationship problems in order to mediate or facilitate the discussion.
- If you want to keep a long and happy relationship, you need to be friends with your partner. Spend time cultivating common interests, but also keep your willingness to explore different interests.
- Show your partner that you care about doing something considerate without being asked.
- Strive to resolve the differences by creating situations in which both win instead of those where there is only one winner. The latter will not help them to have a long and happy relationship.