Dating 101: Act Like Strangers, Save Your Relationship

My boyfriend and I have been together (almost!) 6 months. This marks the second relationship I've ever been in that has lasted half a year (and the last one lasted five – go figure). He has also never dated a girl longer than six months. I've noticed that as time has passed, things have started to, well, change. We know each other on such a deeper level now than we did before when we were "friends." We even interact a lot differently now than we did at the beginning of our relationship. There isn't an awkward pause before we part where we both wonder if we should initiate the relationship-y goodbye kiss. I don't worry that I'll annoy him if I call five times in a row when we're late for a movie. But, with all our closeness comes some major repercussions. Like, we fight sometimes. He ignores me for Adult Swim sometimes. I act like a complete psycho-obsessive girlfriend sometimes. You know, the usual stuff.

After much research I found that there might actually be a reason for this! In a study conducted at British Columbia University, couples were asked to interact with each other as if they were strangers. When couples were asked to do this, they felt "elated and their sense of well-being increased." The study basically tells us what we kinda already knew: At the beginning of the relationship, everybody tries a little harder. I mean, we want the other person to like us, so we will be super-nice, super-caring and sometimes that is super-unlike ourselves. But as time progresses, we know we "have" them and start to well, maybe not treat them so well.

Basically, treat your partner with that same respect you would show a cute stranger. Never start to take them for granted – and if you feel your relationship is headed down the drain, take a step back. Take a break from each other and you should return to your relationship with a newfound appreciation for one another.

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