When you're looking for love, being in a relationship sounds like it would be enough to make you happy. Once you find that special someone, the early days of a relationship feel magical. Everything the other person says and does is wonderful, and you're never upset or bored. He or she is the most thoughtful, understanding, attractive person ever.
At some point, though, that new relationship shine wears off. You start to take each other for granted. When you feel secure in your relationship, you stop worrying about impressing the other person. As you get to know each other better, you relax and stop being on your best behavior every time you're together. It doesn't seem as important to be solicitous of the other person because you're not trying to captivate each other anymore -- you're already together. Eccentricities and personality quirks also emerge, and you learn that not everything your partner does is cute or funny. Some of it might even be incredibly annoying. You fall into a routine. If you eventually decide to live together or get married, there are even more factors to consider, such as differences in finances, possessions or housekeeping styles.
While not all relationships are meant to last, it is possible to avoid some of the common pitfalls that can throw any relationship off-track and cause unhappiness. Being happy in a relationship can take some work, but if you're in it for the long haul, the results are well worth it. According to a Time magazine poll conducted in 2004, the majority of us find happiness in our relationships with others [source: Time].
In this article, we'll talk about a few strategies for maintaining that sparkle that keeps you both happy, starting with remembering the importance of friendship.