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We ended every day with an episode of This is not to say that a romantic relationship should become a substitute for other friendships. But your boyfriend (or fiancé, spouse, or partner) should be a great friend.Certified Gottman Therapist Zach Brittle reminds us that the work you put into your friendship with your partner is what can make your relationship go the distance. “It’s the foundation of intimacy.” The truth is, if you’re looking for romance, the best place to start is by building a strong friendship. Do you have Tuesday coffee with a girlfriend or weekly happy hour with work buddies? Brittle calls these moments “rituals” and defines them as “the regularly occurring activities and interactions that help stabilize a relationship.” He argues that rituals are opportunities to infuse your relationship with creativity. Find something simple you both love to do—or want to do more of—and do it together on a regular basis. For example, we started watching Seattle football about a year after we moved away from the city.He had been born and raised in Seattle, and I had gone to college in the city, so both of us were leaving hard-won, long-term friendships.I naturally worried about finding new friends in our new home.I always thought that a strong romance is built on, well, romance.With that in mind, my husband and I have worked hard to keep the flame alive over the years—champagne, candlelit dinners, love notes, you name it.

I can’t vouch for the research, but I’ve lived that truth. Being nice doesn’t mean you’re a doormat, and it doesn’t mean you don’t have strong feelings about him being late to dinner. You don’t jump to conclusions or get overly angry at small slights. You ask about things that matter to him, even if they don’t really interest you, because you want to learn more about him. But what rarely gets said is that much of that work is becoming better friends…and that happens to be really fun.What started as an occasional thing “when we felt like it” became a weekly event. We’d stumbled upon something that was ours, and which gave us a weekly excuse to simply hang out together. Maybe a weekly run or a regular workout class could be your thing.The bartenders learned our names and drink preferences. A friend of mine volunteers with her guy every week or two at different organizations around their city.I also have friends who don't share their different friend circles, for fear of social miscegenation.Also, everyone has had or been a "bad friend" at some point in their lives, right?A regular moment to reconnect over something that is just yours gives you something to look forward to, and prevents you from taking each other for granted.

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