When you think about how to strengthen your bond with your significant other, these ideas probably come to mind: talk more about personal things. Ask them questions about their past. Do things they like to do to get to know them better. Spend more time together. Talk on the phone instead of texting.
There’s nothing wrong with that! These are all great ways to get closer with your boyfriend or girlfriend. They are also very obvious, and chances are good that, if you’re in a good relationship, you’re probably regularly doing these things already. So, what do you do if you’re in a more long-term relationship, and you’re looking for a way to get even closer than you already are? You have to get a little creative, and luckily, science is here to help.
You and bae can strengthen your bond by doing more than just talking more often and delving into the depths of your personal lives. There are some surprising things that super close couples do together all the time that help them maintain such a happy, healthy relationship – and don’t you want to be filled in? Here are some surprising things that will make, or keep, your relationship close:
Take Sex BreaksOne common question a lot of couples have is this: how much sex should you be having in a relationship? Finding the right balance is different for everyone, but experts say one surprising thing is true: taking breaks from sex sometimes can strengthen your relationship. One expert told Bustle that taking a break from sex for at least two weeks can make your bond stronger because it allows you guys to connect on a more emotional level. If you find that you and bae are hooking up more often than not, consider taking a short break and talking more. Or, find a balance of having an emotional connection and a physical one. Source: iStock
Don't Act Like Best FriendsYou probably always hear long-term couples say things like, "my partner is my best friend." That's really sweet, and kind of ultimately what we all want - to date someone who is also our best friend. But, uh, maybe some of us are taking it too far. According to Cosmopolitan, telling your partner everything about you and your life decreases intimacy. So, you want an emotional connection, but you also don't want so much of an emotional connection that it takes over the physical one. Sigh. Source: iStock
Gossip About Other CouplesIf you're dating someone or ever have dated someone, chances are good that, at some point, you guys have hung out with another couple, then gone home to talk shit about them. It might seem mean, petty, and terrible, but actually... it could be bringing you guys closer together. One psychologist told Refinery 29 that talking about other couples with your partner can bring you guys closer together. For one thing, venting about someone you mutually hate is a bonding experience. For another, it's mainly you guys reflecting on what that couple does differently from you - which can cause you to look at your own relationship and make changes that could be positive. I mean, don't go around bringing everyone down together, because that will get bad quickly, but don't be afraid to open up in this way sometimes. Source: iStock
Read TogetherReading together doesn't seem like the best activity for a couple - it kind of seems to discourage conversation. But, according to research, it's actually good for couples to read the same book at the same time. It encourages you guys to talk about the book, which can bring up new and interesting conversation. These discussions can help you learn more about your partner in a way you might not have otherwise. It's also a good way for you guys to get some alone time, and reading at the same time means you'll probably end up cuddling, which is always good for bonding. Source: iStock
Go OutsideGoing outside and being in nature is good for you in so many ways, and it's also good for your relationship. Research shows that going outside can help with depressed feelings and give you energy. So, it only makes sense that doing it with your bae would help you both bond. Plus, going on a long hike is a great time to talk more, open up, and get to see different sides of each other. Source: iStock
Spend More Time ApartIt seems like spending more time together is the best way to get closer, but that isn't always true. Studies have found that long-distance relationships can be super strong because partners have to find a strong emotional connection, and they listen to each other more. This doesn't mean you need to move away from each other, but you should have days or times where you each do your own thing. It's good for both of you and your relationship because it gives you a sense of self and makes you excited to see each other - and gives you new things to discuss. Source: iStock
Exercise TogetherMaybe all of those corny fitspo #relationshipgoals photos are onto something. Science has shown that working out together can improve a relationship. Working out together means that you're coordinating your actions - like lifting weights at the same time or running at the same pace. This is called nonverbal matching, which helps people feel more emotionally attuned with each other, and it leads to a feeling of bonding. On top of that, exercise makes you feel happy and open. Source: iStock
Cook TogetherAs boring as it might sound, past research has found that couples who do chores together have a stronger bond. This is especially true when it comes to cooking together. According to Bustle, cooking together can help you learn how to work as a team and make you feel closer. And also, it's delicious! Source: iStock
Which one of these activities are you going to try? How do you make your relationship closer? Let us know in the comments.