It happens to the best of us. In the beginning, we can’t keep our hands off each other. But, over time – and especially when life gets tough – the relationship can lose its spark, and fizzle.
Typically, of course, desire and passion are at their highest at the beginning of a relationship. But, over time, things can become stale because of everything from evolved differences to sheer familiarity. That initial attraction is soon overshadowed by security, connectedness and protection – not altogether bad, but this means routine is often prioritised over spontaneity.
So, to combat the relationship lull, we turned to Marianne Vicelich, expert in all matters of the heart and author of many best-selling advice books. So pull up your socks, buck up your ideas and listen to the five tips and tricks that may just save your relationship.
Accept the situation, don’t ignore it
“The risk in fusing our identity with another person is that we often lose the respect and attraction we once held for that person,” explains Vicelich. “We also stand to lose ourselves in the relationship, rather than maintaining the unique qualities that gave us confidence and drew our partners to us in the first place.
“The one thing that caused butterflies when you first met was the chemical cocktail in your bodies, dopamine levels were soaring. Recreate this by doing something novel together. Do something fun that will excite the both of you.
“The wave of ‘deadness’ in a relationship after the first thrilling months can cause many couples to lose hope, and even look elsewhere for the excitement of newfound intimacy. Healthy relationships are based on communication, which is critical for our happiness. Staleness in a relationship is a warning bell to allocate time for some honest conversations about change and reconnection.”
Communicate and connect like you used to
“Start by focusing on your connection with each other – being able to communicate is essential,” advises Vicelich. “Be open and honest about your feelings in a safe and loving space. When was the last time you did something special together?
"The risk in fusing our identity with another person is that we often lose the respect and attraction we once held for that person...”
“Scheduling regular fun that you both enjoy doing together can go a long way in easing any distance between you. Those strong memories are part of what bond you. When you are in a physical space where you have powerful memories – strong attachment can reignite passion.
“If intimacy is lacking in a relationship, it becomes more difficult to connect and talk. Likewise if connection is missing, it’s far more difficult to be intimate – the two often go hand in hand.”
Remember to still care about your appearance
“When we reach a level of comfort in our relationship, we may tend to care a little less about how we look and how we take care of ourselves,” warns Vicelich.
“You should want to impress your partner so a guy should really step up and dress as they did when they first met. One of the ways in which people show the level of respect they have for others is the care they have for their body and appearance. Show your partner you care.
“And exercise regularly, this will not only help you look good for them, but also help you feel good about yourself.”
Break your routine and be spontaneous again
“You need to keep the mystery alive. No matter how long you have been together, put some surprise into the relationship. Break the predictable pattern every so often. This can keep desire alive.
“If intimacy is lacking in a relationship, it becomes more difficult to connect and talk..."
“Doing the same thing all the time can quickly kill the spark,” the relationship expert adds. “Travel with your partner, try something out of your comfort zone, and find excitement in engaging in things out of the norm.”
Rewind the clock on what you do for them
“Remember what it was like when you first met,” says Vicelich. “Turn off the TV and reminisce about the fun times you had when you first met. Re-enact that newness and excitement.
“Do something nice for your partner. Give them a gift unexpectedly. Ask them to tell you about their day and really listen to them.
“Compliment them and really mean it and laugh with each other more. Go back to how you acted when you first met them – perhaps you laughed a little longer at their jokes and took more time getting ready. On initial dates you were most probably flirting, hanging on to their every word, and thinking about them throughout the day. That’s what’ll keep the spark alive.”
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