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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

8 Ways Long-Term Couples Keep the Mystery Alive

Looking for a way to put some spark back in your relationship? These are long-term couples' biggest secrets on staying together.

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DON’T: Keep the bathroom door open

“One thing we don’t do in front of each other is keep the bathroom door open; I know loads of couples who go to the toilet in front of each other. It is difficult having one bathroom between five people, but it’s not attractive and isn’t going to add anything to the relationship. You can have a super close relationship without seeing absolutely everything!” —Hannah and Patrick Canavan, together for ten years and married for seven. (Here are answers to all your bathroom etiquette questions.)

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carCatalin Petolea/Shutterstock

DON’T: Curse like a sailor

“Casually cursing is both unattractive and unnecessary, and takes away from the shock value that a sudden F-bomb is supposed to bring. Too much cursing renders the sudden use of these words meaningless. And when done excessively, cursing makes you appear unintelligent.” —Jessica and Brent Herndon, married for two years. (Here are the 4 occasions where it can be OK to curse.)

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DON’T: Neglect the little things

“Our tip for keeping the mystery alive after all these years is to surprise your partner with new and fun adventures (like our surprise trips). And on a more daily basis, chocolate and candy always work!” —Roshni Agarwal & Jeff Allen, together for 14 years and married for four. (Check out these fun date ideas that to reconnect with your partner.)

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DON’T: Nag and act like their mother

“A woman (who most likely wants a clean and tidy house) married to a man (who was often raised by a mother who picked up after them) needs to understand how important it is to not play the role of mother and maid. This is a big turn-off to men and will be very destructive for a relationship. Watch for any signs of you nagging and end it immediately! If you need your guy to learn some considerations of daily living, then find the perfect time and setting to communicate this with him, versus nagging them day to day.” —Audrey and David Hope, married for seven years

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DON’T: Spill every secret

“We usually don’t need a window on someone else’s relationship. When we overshare with our partner about someone else, boundaries blur. They can end up knowing more about the person then they ever wanted or needed to know. Discretion is precious, and reassures them that you’re discreet about your own relationship.” —Alicia Young & Jon Cocker, married for 24 years. (Here are the things you should definitely not to tell your friends about your relationship.)

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DO: Take care of personal hygiene

“Some things do not need to be shared, such as using feminine hygiene products, tampons, etc. I also shave my private area, well, in private. My husband knows I do these things, but when and how I do it is a mystery to him.” —Carol and Ron Gee, married for 44 years

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DON’T: Preoccupy yourself with technology

“Try to avoid a situation when both of you are sitting next to each other and typing on laptops or tablets. This creates a silent zone where the conversation doesn’t flow and if one person is talking, the other might not be able to communicate when occupied, hurting feelings of the ignored person and causing awkward ‘tech wars.’ The same applies to smartphones these days; never take them to bed too for the same reasons.”—Aditi and Amit Jha, together for 12 years (Your relationship isn’t the only thing technology can ruin).

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DO: Care about your physical appearance

“Don’t ignore your appearance or take your partner for granted. Taking time to look good for yourself and your partner will keep your relationship rejuvenated and fresh. You must always make an effort to keep them attracted to you, and it doesn’t take long to put in a little effort on a daily basis. A little weight gain, a few wrinkles, or gray hair doesn’t mean you aren’t attractive or sexy. It just means you need to spice things up a little more now. Don’t ever get lazy or stop trying to be all that you can be in your relationship.” —Susan and Bruce McCord, married for 10 years

Hana Hong
Hana Hong is a journalist/storyteller who writes for Reader's Digest, InStyle, CollegeFashionista, Her Campus, and The Fashion Network, among other publications. She hails from the midwest, where she graduated from the University of Illinois with a BA in News-Editorial Journalism, but has a passion for the East Coast.