Birth Control

How to take your relationship to the next level

Over the course of a long-term relationship, every couple goes through different stages, but reaching a new stage in your relationship doesn’t happen by itself. And it’s not always smooth sailing. Whether you’ve been together for months or years, taking your relationship to the next level is about more than changing status—it’s about intentionally growing together, taking steps to deepen your intimacy , and planning for a shared future. Here are our suggestions for navigating the winding path to a deeper bond in your relationship.

Embrace vulnerability

Deepening intimacy and understanding in your relationship requires that you let your partner see the real you. Vulnerability can be scary—it’s like giving your partner your diary to read. However, it is this openness that builds trust and strengthens your relationship. Share your insecurities, discuss past experiences that have shaped you, and don’t be shy about discussing sexual health and pleasure.

Prioritize quality time

When you get used to seeing something every day and you develop a comfortable routine, it’s easy to let quality and intentional time fall by the wayside. Elevating your relationship means making intentional time to connect, beyond Netflix binges and social media scrolling. Plan date nights, explore new hobbies together, or just carve out time for deep, uninterrupted conversations.

Talk about finances

Money conversations can be weird, especially if your family of origin isn’t very open about finances, but they’re a critical aspect of any serious relationship. Whether it’s splitting shared expenses or saving for a dream vacation, discussing these topics together creates a sense of teamwork and shared responsibility.

Share your responsibilities

Building a true partnership isn’t just about sharing household chores, although that’s important. It’s also about sharing responsibility for things like what birth control you use to prevent pregnancy, if you don’t want to get pregnant now. It is both people’s problem, and both people’s responsibility to find out.

Discuss the future

What does taking your relationship to the next level mean for both of you? Does it move together? Getting a shared pet? Have children? These milestones are important, and it’s important to make sure you’re on the same page. Discuss your timelines and how you see your future together to clarify everyone’s expectations.

Support each other’s growth

A truly deepened relationship is one in which both partners support each other’s personal growth and ambitions. Celebrate each other’s successes, offer encouragement during setbacks, and, perhaps most importantly, learn what support looks like for both of you on a day-to-day basis and do the all you can to offer it to each other.

Embrace conflict as an opportunity

No relationship is without conflict, but how you handle these moments can make or break your bond. See disagreements as opportunities to learn more about each other and to develop healthier communication patterns. The strategy goes against the goal of better understanding your partner and finding a way forward rather than the goal of winning the argument.

Consider counseling

Sometimes, taking your relationship to the next level means asking for a little help. Couples therapy isn’t just for relationships in crisis; it can be a proactive tool to deepen your mutual understanding and to navigate any underlying issues, including sexual issues, before they become major obstacles.

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