Written by: Meghan Emerson, MSMFT
The threat of monotony is present in many things, such as work, living alone, and also in long-term relationships. When you have been with the same person for several years, you tend to know him or her pretty well, including both positive and less attractive quirks. You may find that you have less exciting things to talk about, or you no longer crave to hear about the details of your partner’s day. Due to external stresses and other commitments, you have less time to devote to each other. Sex and passion become less of a priority, and you think that you will just get around to it when you can.
As people, we crave the familiar for its sense of safety and security, but this can threaten a relationship if you lose too much of the passion that once drew you to your partner. You begin to question whether you should stay in a relationship that no longer fulfills your need to be desired, cherished, and passionate, and you fear that your partner does not care about you in the same way that he or she used to.
It is natural for feelings of passion and sexual desire to fluctuate over the course of a relationship. What separates those relationships that stick through the low points from those who separate is actively addressing the issue as soon as one or both partners begins to miss the spark too significantly. It takes courage and resilience to address this issue directly with your partner and work together to reignite your relationship. Try some of these tips to help your relationship refuel.
- Aim for surprise.
As much as people benefit from and need familiarity to foster a sense of security and commitment in a long-term relationship, so too do partners crave novelty and mystery to fuel passion and desire. When something surprising or new occurs, especially in a familiar environment, we instinctively pay attention. It does not need to be something as monumental as a surprise getaway weekend. Try to think of something your partner craves that you do not normally do, such as being served dinner instead of cooking it or buying a small thinking-of-you present, and go do it!
Another helpful activity to inspire novelty is seduction nights. Each partner is assigned a night where he or she is challenged with seducing the other. You are allowed to ask three questions to help guide your planning, and your partner can give you feedback the night of for what is more or less attractive. This helps shake up the relationship’s routine and provide both partners with something to look forward to.
- Trigger adrenaline.
Excitement fuels passion, and this can be triggered outside of sexual experiences. Any shared activity that sparks adrenaline can help connect you with your partner, and people have different baselines for exciting experiences. Try to shake things up with your partner, and find a point on the excitement scale that feels comfortable enough for both of you. This could be anything from trying a new restaurant to watching a scary movie together to something extreme, like base jumping!
- Play into your partner’s attractions.
Monotony and boredom are not the only threats to passion in long-term relationships. Sometimes we just do not try as hard around people we are more familiar with. Thus, after many years together, you may no longer worry about doing less attractive habits, like biting your nails, in front of your partner, or you may not try to look as nice for your partner. Try to play up to what your partner is attracted to, and if you are not sure, ask him or her directly. Maintain your health and hygiene, and be considerate of what you do in front of your partner. Go ahead and wear that dress he likes or that hairstyle she loves. A little will go a long way.
- Take turns.
Reviving passion is a joint endeavor, and both partners need to contribute. This means talking directly with your partner about what you desire and expressing appreciation for his or her efforts. In the beginning, put passion events in your schedule and switch off who is in charge of surprising or seducing who if it is not a joint event. Schedule new activities together or put reminders in your phone to try to kick bad (less attractive) habits.
- Keep trying.
It may take a few tries for you to tap into what your partner likes and appreciates, and it is normal to feel awkward at first when trying new things in the name of renewing passion. You are re-connecting and adapting to new circumstances with the goal of providing an adequate environment for passion to ignite. Remember that it is normal for passion to wax and wane, and not a sign that your relationship is dead.