Lets get real here. Relationships are hard work, especially as you get into your 40’s and beyond. Having a relationship at this age is a choice. It’s not all about biological urges. My kids are growing up, I have a lot more spare time and I’m far more discerning about who I share that space with.

We all want easy, but anything worthwhile requires dedication, patience and yes, a bit of hard grunt.

Relationships need to be nurtured and tended to like a living, breathing life force.

As most grown ups know, love alone is not enough. Here are some basic fundamentals, beyond love, that a relationship needs to survive.

1. Intimacy 

Both emotional and physical intimacy are paramount to the success of a relationship. Emotional intimacy requires vulnerability from both people. Sharing your feelings, issues, hopes and dreams with each other is important to building a foundation of trust.

Physical intimacy should never be underestimated. Holding hands, cuddling, touching, kissing and sex are so important. If you have no physical connection, are you lovers or friends? Hugs and kisses build connection while sex is the most intimate physical experience you may share with another human being.

Because I’m an affectionate person, a soulful heartfelt, lingering kiss speaks as much to me as a hundred words. (So imagine what hot steamy sex means to me!).

That will be different for everyone but understand what your partner needs too.

It’s important that you both feel your emotional and physical needs and desires are being met.

2. Communication 

You need to talk to each other people! Communicating with each other – always and often – is important and it needs to be a two way street. It involves talking and listening. It’s important to discuss and talk through issues. That’s how things get sorted out. Silence can be a relationship killer. Show compassion and empathy to your partner. Try to be understanding.

Talk about your day – what music you’re listening to, or what happened in your day? Talk about your dreams. Tell each other why you’re into each other and go so often. Laugh with each other and laugh at yourself. The art of conversation doesn’t require you to be serious all the time. Laughing together is good for the soul and creates connection. It releases endorphins too.

3. Quality Time

Your partner should be a priority. We all know life is busy. You work, they work, and you might be juggling other things – kids, work out regimes, household chores, hobbies, time with friends and family. Which are all important, but your partner needs to be a priority as do you.

If your relationship is going to last, make quality time with your partner a priority. Schedule regular uninterrupted time together. Put down your phone, lap top, iPad, book and Netflix and actually connect. Go on date nights! Give a woman some uninterrupted quality time where she is your focus and watch what you get back in return! Do you really want to be with someone who doesn’t value time with you?  Make time because it won’t magically appear.

4. Respect & Appreciation

While these things seem obvious, they are often easy to forget. You need to respect yourself, of course, and your partner. If your partner is sharing their thoughts, views or opinions then  listen. You may not always agree but someone’s feelings are very real to them.

Saying please and thank you take so little effort and costs you nothing. If your partner does something for you, a bit of appreciation goes a long way. Tell them you appreciate them but show them too. Acts of service shouldn’t feel like a chore for someone you love nor do they have to be elaborate. Doing nice things for a lover actually brings you feelings of happiness. That’s always a good thing.

We can all be guilty of being selfish from time to time but check yourself. Are you being self absorbed? Are you reaching out to the person you love?

5. Align words with Actions

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Your actions speak so loudly, I cannot hear your words.”

This is really important to most women, but also to men. It’s easy to say you love someone but your actions need to back that up. If you tell a woman you want her, back it up by consistently showing affection.

Show your partner they are cared for and appreciated on a daily basis. Little things count. Write a note and leave it for them. Cook their favourite dish. Hug them for no reason. Kiss the back of her neck and tell her she looks smoking.  Show them they are a priority by making time to hang out. Listen when they talk. Offer to help one another with the boring stuff. Just be kind.