How our relationships are affected by the changing seasons
As we turn back the clocks and get ready for winter to really set in, autumn seems like a good time to give our relationships a little bit of a shake too – see what’s working, and what’s maybe getting a little bit stale. It’s easy to get into a cold-weather routine. Nights are longer, it’s cold outside, and it’s really much easier to close the curtains and stay indoors instead of venturing out. But that gets old pretty quickly. It’s a positive practice to let go of old things to make room for new growth, and this goes for relationships too. As the nights draw in, finding balance in your relationships can help lead into winter – creating new habits together and removing any blocks that might be stagnating your partnership.
Pay better attention
Listening to the other person is one of the most important features of a positive relationship. It works not only to make them feel like you care what they’re saying, but also means you both relate to each other more effectively, and that you find yourselves both more actively interested in each other. Paying attention is a quiet way of supporting your partner, and working on this as a skill can only ever be a good thing. Developing your listening skills can be as simple as putting your phone away when you’re talking, and making sure that you aren’t interrupting the other person. It goes both ways too, and you’ll usually find that if you make the effort to be a better listener to someone, they’ll reflect the same back to you. Most of the time, it’s about awareness, so head out to a quiet bar, leave your phone in your pocket, and make sure you’re spending some quality time with your partner.
Darker date nights
In the summer, it’s easy to be spontaneous. The sun is shining, it’s much nicer to spend time outdoors, and it’s easy to set up a last-minute barbeque or trip to the beach. As the daylight hours get shorter, we want to make the most of them, but accepting the darkness is an option too! Check out what’s going on where you live – there’ll be festive fairgrounds opening soon, and wrapping up to head out for mulled wine and fireworks is never a bad idea. When staying indoors is a better idea, check what’s on at local galleries or museums, where you can wander for a couple of hours. If that’s not your thing, lots of restaurants start switching to a winter menu, so you could make a list of places to try out together and find a new favourite spot.
Back to school
For better or worse, years of school mean that even as adults we are programmed to feel like the changing seasons equal new beginnings. This can spell disaster for relationships, especially ones that seem less exciting because you’ve settled in, but it doesn’t have to. Instead of lamenting the loss of learning, invest your time together in teaching yourselves something new. Many colleges offer six-week courses, or you can find all sorts of things on the internet. Enroll on a creative course, learn a language together, or try out something sexier, like a tantric workshop. Couples who participate in activities together find that their relationships are more rounded, and less likely to feel stagnant. Embarking on a new project together will mean you can both support each other as you go along, and you might find a new joint passion.
Build your nest
Of course, there’s always the option of actually embracing the feeling of wanting to stay inside and get cosy – and it’s always much nicer to netflix and chill with someone you love. There are some obvious benefits to staying in bed all winter, but there’s also another bonus: creating a wintery nest for you to hibernate in together! Cohabiting, or even just sharing a bed occasionally, is a good excuse to light some candles and stock up on cosy cushions and fleecey throws. Make a blanket fort for the two of you to hide in, and practice finding a balance together, ready for the winter.
Fall is a great opportunity to spend some time reevaluating your goals, and the best way to build your relationship is to talk through what you and your partner are looking for, together. Don’t be afraid to talk about stripping back old habits, to make room for the next exciting stages!