People say that love is not enough, and they’re right. Three years may not be long, but it’s long enough for you to decide if you want to stay or go.
Ever walked past an elderly couple and wondered what their secret is to keeping the spark alive? Know people who have been together for years and still act like teenagers in love? This may come as a surprise to you, but every one of these people will tell you that love is not enough. Being with someone for the long term involves plenty of patience, hard work, and at times, sacrifice.
The thing about people nowadays is that they do not have the time for patience, hard work, or sacrifice. In a society that values me, myself, and I, it is not unusual that divorce and breakup rates have skyrocketed, and more people are settling in for a life of cynical singlehood.
Don’t be one of the many people who have stopped believing in love. Pay attention to the signs that your relationship gives you, and you will find that fixing things is not that hard to do. Do not give up without a fight.
Strangely enough, the 3-year mark in a relationship is a very important milestone to pay attention to. Aptly known as “the dreaded bump,” many couples have said that love tends to crumble at 3 years.
How to get through the three-year bump
Thankfully, if you know what to look out for and properly prepare yourself for it, you can slice out all the bad bits to make room for change, growth, and more love. Here are 6 reasons why love crumbles at 3 years and suggestions on how to fix these problems.
#1 Sex is routine. One of the major issues that long-term couples struggle with is keeping their sex life interesting. When you have been with someone for three years or more, and sometimes even less than that, it is not uncommon for the spark that made sex so interesting back then eventually sizzle, fizzle, and die out.
More often than not, it makes sporadic appearances when alcohol is involved, but the last thing you should be doing to keep your sex life alive is downing a glass of whiskey before doing the deed with the person you love.
Solution: Be impulsive when it comes to sex and not have it take place at home at a specific time. Most couples fall into the routine of making love in bed over the weekends. Surprise your significant other by indulging in some oral sex at work or in the car, doing it in public like in a changing room, at the park, or somewhere totally random. You can also drive out to the country and have a private sex-fueled picnic.
There are plenty of places and times that you can take advantage of, to spice things up. Using props is also a great way to keep things interesting. Think 50 Shades of Grey. If you want to take things a step further, you can suggest an open relationship, but be careful there.
In my opinion, if you cannot be faithful sexually and emotionally with your significant other and need an open relationship, it just means that you are prolonging the inevitability of a break up.
#2 There’s no more mystery. One of the wonderful things about being with someone for over three years is knowing everything about one another. Likes and dislikes, bathroom habits, food preferences, political opinions, and everything else along those lines are comfortably moved from the “mystery” column to “comfortable” column.
As great as this can be, it can also be your downfall. As there is no more mystery left in the relationship, you tend to run out of interesting things to say to each other.
Solution: Although there’s no mystery in the past to learn, the two of you can work on your future. Setting goals to be achieved together and planning for the future are very exciting things that you can work on. You should also take on new experiences together.
You will be surprised at how many new things you will learn about your partner when you move out of your comfort zone and attempt something different.
#3 Comfort levels have skyrocketed. Being with someone for a long time will undoubtedly have you sinking butt-deep into your comfort zone. Couples struggle with the unromantic bits of the relationship all the time. Unstoppable weight gain, not making the effort to look good, and other habits like farting and pooping in front of one another are the main complains made by long-term couples.
Solution: The thing you have to remember is that besides yourself, the only other person you should be impressing is your partner. Make the effort to shave and dress up for them. Make the effort to exercise and eat right, so that you can look and feel your very best for them.
Basically, if you do not want your love to crumble, remember that you have to make the effort to be the best version of yourself when you are with them.
#4 No more romance. Keeping the romance alive is a big struggle for couples in long-term relationships. The wining, dining, dancing, and grand romantic gestures like chivalry and sending her flowers usually take place during the wooing stages of the relationship. Sadly, many couples believe that just because they already have each other, there is no point in being romantic anymore.
Solution: Just because you have been with someone for a long time, does not mean that you should disregard the little things that help relationships flourish. Couples are not allocated a specific romance quota that can be used up, so do not behave that way. Shower your significant other with attention and romance every chance you get.
#5 Other things take priority. Although this is completely normal and to be expected if you want to continue being a fully functioning adult, things will fall apart if you neglect each other too often. Whether it is your career, friends, kids, or life in general that comes in the way between you and your partner, there is no denying that your relationship will suffer if you do not buck up.
Many people believe that once they have secured their relationship, falling into the comfort zone and not pumping in effort to keep things exciting is acceptable.
Solution: No matter how busy you are, you have to put in the time and effort to focus on your lover. Just like a house plant, your relationship may seem just fine without much attention, but if you completely neglect it, you will wake up one morning and find it dead.
Be sure to pencil in date night, and if you can, do things together as often as you can. From running errands to taking trips, be sure to include your partner in your plans.
#6 Fights become more frequent. The thing about being with someone for a long time is that your patience tends to wear thin after a while. What used to be adorable in the beginning may annoy the hell out of you now. Her leaving her dirty tea cups all over the house, him leaving the bathroom door open when he poops, and so on are all little examples of stuff that will eventually get on your nerves and push you over the edge.
What happens is that you will try to change your partner into conforming to what you believe in, what you like, and what you expect of them. When they are unable to comply, you pick a fight and the rest is history.
Solution: Always remember that you should never change someone to please yourself. There is nothing wrong with encouraging your loved one to be a better person by eating healthy, exercising, and doing things to empower themselves. Anything else and it crosses the line from being caring to being nitpicky.
Every time you get annoyed, remind yourself of what made you fall in love in the first place. Take a deep breath, keep your cool, and center yourself. Take some time off for yourself if you think it will help.
The key to getting over the 3-year bump is staying as positive as you can when things look bad. Just like everything else in life, you need to work hard if you want to succeed. You will realize that all the effort put into it will be worth it for the companionship and love that you get in return.
As sad as it is, you also have to realize that some relationships are just not fixable and that sometimes, love is not enough. If the fights escalate and love crumbles, be strong enough to walk away.
Whether the three-year bump is looming up ahead or you’re already in it, there are lots of ways you can ensure that instead of allowing this bump in the road to ruin your relationship, you can instead take it as a challenge to overcome together.