1. Listen, listen, listen
Most of us are constantly glued to our smartphones or tablets, obsessed with catching Pokémon or viewing our friends’ latest social media updates.
But when you’re with your partner, it’s important to actually put down the device and listen to what they’re saying, Goldstein explained.
“Every time you pick up your phone when you’re with another person, you’re essentially saying that whatever is on your phone is more important to them,” the relationship expert said.
Instead, it’s important to actually engage with your partner when they’re telling you a story, and to show them that you’re truly hearing what they’re saying.
“You want someone to engage and talk things through with,” Goldstein said. “Be very present, and have very meaningful conversations.”
2. Be the “old” youAt the start of the relationship, you’re often absolutely giddy about the other person. And so, you’re putting in a ton of effort, being incredibly affectionate and telling them how much you care.
But as a relationship progresses, the honeymoon period comes to an end. You stop sleeping as close to each other or holding hands as you walk down the street, and you give fewer compliments.
According to Goldstein, it’s important at this time to make sure that the spark doesn’t burn out.
“There’s a reason why your partner fell in love with you, and over time you naturally become more comfortable with each other, and you start trying less,” Goldstein said. “If you continue down this path, you could end up as just friends.”
That’s why it’s often important in a long-term relationship to regroup, and go back to being the “old” you.
“It’s really important to put in the extra effort to do the things you first did when you met your partner,” she explained.
3. Know your partner’s love language
Everyone communicates in different ways — especially when it comes to love.
“Everybody feels love in different ways. For somebody, coming home to dinner on the table is the equivalent of saying I love you. For others, it might be actually saying it,” Goldstein said.
And so, to make your relationship last, it’s important to figure out how your partner feels love. But of course, sometimes it’s not obvious, and you actually need to ask your partner.
“If you’re telling your partner all the time ‘I love you,’ and that doesn’t really make them feel loved, then they might feel like something is missing,” the expert said. “But if cleaning the blender in the morning is the equivalent of saying ‘I love you’ to them, then you should focus on that.”
4. Make sure to balance your career and love life
These days, many people prioritize their careers over their personal life. It’s usually not a conscious choice, but instead something that just naturally occurs when your job doesn’t stop at 5 p.m. at night.
“You might actually be building rockets, or you could be a publicist, and these jobs are all very important… but they can ultimately kill a relationship,” Goldstein said.
And so, if you have a busy professional life, it’s important to create a balance, to keep your relationship alive. The relationship expert recommends taking a vacation day to be with your partner, or make it a point to come home early every once in a while.
“Even if you come home at 9 p.m. at night, it’s important to spend quality, undistracted time with your partner, so you can make up for lost time,” she explained.
5. Remember that relationships can be hard
One of the biggest things to keep in mind when you’re trying to build a lasting relationship is that sometimes, it’s going to suck.
“Some weeks are going to be incredible; other weeks are not going to be fun,” Goldstein said.
Even if you really like, or love, the person you’re with, you may have days where you’re tempted to break things off and hop on a dating app. But it’s important to keep in mind that finding a true connection is really hard.
“If you do have that connection with somebody, it’s worth trying to make the relationship work,” she said. “So, if you do the best and it still doesn’t work out, you will have no regrets.”
The expert added that she’s seen so many people jump ship too quickly, only to later realize that they walked away from a great thing.