If you are in a romantic relationship of any kind, chances are good that, at some point or another, you’ve thought at least a little bit about how you can improve said relationship. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course–not everyone’s relationship can or should be the picture-perfect, relationship goals-type kind all the time–but it can be hard to know what, exactly, you should be doing to work on it.
Fortunately, if you are the kind of person who believes in science, you’ve got a lot of that to fall back on. There are a ton of studies on weird things people can do to make their relationship stronger and happier, most of which you probably haven’t thought of before. (Even scientists have relationship problems, I guess?) (Especially scientists, maybe.) So, check out these studies on the weird things you had no idea could improve your relationship:
Having Sex In A Sexier PlaceDo you and bae always have sex in the same place, in the same position, for the same amount of time every single time? If so, you're definitely due for something new--to start, try having sex somewhere new. (This can be tough if you live with your parents, obviously, but do your best.) This can release more dopamine during sex, which will make the entire sexual experience more pleasurable, which, in turn, will make your relationship stronger. Image source: iStock
Turning Off Your PhoneYeah, yeah. I know. Part of me sort of hates this one, because I really hate it when people act like not using their phone as much as other people makes them better than everyone else. But a study published in Computers in Human Behavior (a truly sexy name for an academic journal, if I do say so myself) that surveyed 1,160 couples found a negative correlation between high social media usage and relationship happiness. So, just use common sense when it comes to being on your phone around your partner--if you feel like seeing your partner on their phone would irritate you in a particular moment, that might not be the best time to get on your phone. Image source: iStock
Doing Something 'New And Interesting' TogetherThis one might seem sort of like a "duh," but, according to Psychology Today, doing something "new and interesting" with your partner is actually the best way to strengthen your relationship. Why? Apparently, the feeling of "novelty" is vital for making a relationship feel interesting, and, coincidentally, it's where a lot of couples fall short, too. This means that just spending time with your partner won't do it after a while--instead, you should look for cool new things to do together. Image source: iStock
Performing A Small Gesture Of AffectionOne might think that, in order to improve a relationship, it's vital to do huge, dramatic gestures, like standing in front of their window with a boom box or giving them a huge bouquet of flowers every day something. Not so! Apparently, the best way to make a relationship feel sturdy is through smaller gestures, like making your partner a cup of coffee or texting them when you know they had a stressful day. This helps ensure that your partner doesn't feel taken for granted, and, as a result, helps the relationship feel stronger. Image source: iStock
Planning A Vacation TogetherIf you're in a position to go on an independent vacation--i.e. not with the rest of your fam--why not go with your SO, too? Or, if you can't go on vacation, just plan one out. A study published in NAME found that planning a vacation together can increase happiness in the relationship for up to eight weeks. Of course, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't plan a vacation with someone you think you're going to break up anyway, since doing this won't fix any structural issues your relationship has. But what it can do is make a relationship that might be solid, if not particularly exciting, feel a little more interesting. Image source: iStock
Exercising TogetherAre you an avid gym goer? If so, you might want to have your partner tag along with you the next time you go--numerous studies have shown that exercising together improves relationship satisfaction, since it helps increase your emotional bond. You don't just have to go to the gym together, either. You can do things like bike rides, hiking, or simply going for a walk every now and then together, too. Image source: iStock
Massaging Each OtherNice. This one might not be surprising, but it's still good to know about. According to a study presented at the British Psychological Society's Annual Conference in Brighton, England, giving and receiving a regular sensual massage can make a relationship stronger and more stable, since it helps improve the perception of the relationship for both parties. So, next time you need a massage, just show your partner that study--that should make them oblige. Image source: iStock
What do you think of these studies? Did any of them surprise you? Let us know in the comments!