How to take your relationship to the next level

A guide to deepening your connection

Over the course of a long-term relationship, every couple goes through different phases, but reaching a new stage in your relationship doesn’t just 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 just a status change—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 more profound bond in your relationship.

Embrace vulnerability

Deepening the intimacy and understanding in your relationship requires that you let your partner see the real you. Vulnerability can be terrifying—it’s like handing your partner your diary to read. Yet, it’s this openness that builds trust and strengthens your bond. Share your insecurities, discuss past experiences that shaped you, and don’t shy away from discussing sexual health and pleasure.

Prioritize quality time

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

Talk about finances

Money talks 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 dividing shared expenses or saving for a dream vacation, tackling these topics together fosters a sense of teamwork and shared responsibility.

Share your responsibilities

Building a real partnership is not just about sharing household chores, though that is important. It’s also about sharing responsibility for things like what birth control you’re going to use to prevent pregnancy, if you don’t want a pregnancy right now. It’s both people’s problem, and it’s both people’s responsibility to figure out.

Discuss the future

What does taking your relationship to the next level mean to you both? Is it moving in together? Getting a shared pet? Having kids? These milestones are significant, and it’s important to ensure you’re on the same page. Discuss your timelines and how you envision your future together to clarify everyone’s expectations.

Support each other’s growth

A truly deepened relationship is one where both partners support each other’s personal growth and ambitions. Celebrate each other’s successes, offer encouragement during setbacks, and, perhaps most importantly, find out what support looks like to both of you on a day-to-day basis and do your best to offer it to each other.

Embrace conflict as an opportunity

No relationship is without conflict, but it’s how you handle these moments that can either make or break your bond. View disagreements as opportunities to learn more about each other and to develop healthier communication patterns. Approach conflicts with the goal of understanding your partner better and finding a way forward rather than with the goal of winning the argument.

Consider counseling

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

Want to learn more?

Select one of the related topics to find more.