Keeping The Passion Alive In A Long Term Relationship
It’s easy to have passion when dating someone for a few months. However, there are a few key secrets for keeping those fires burning long after the first date. It may seem impossible to feel those butterflies after years with the same partner. However, it is essential to practice keeping that spark alive in order to maintain a healthy relationship. Whether you are with someone for 3 years or 30 years, you need to understand that passion doesn’t happen without attention; it takes work. You have to actively work on building your connection, both emotionally and sexually.
Several key dimensions are involved in this process, including romantic and non-romantic touch, displays of affection, verbal affirmations, sexuality, intimacy, and honest communication. I’ll explain why all of these things are essential in deepening connections with your partner and how to easily incorporate them into your daily life.
Many people may be easily distracted by a passing fling because of the novelty. In order to still feel that rush of excitement with your long-term partner, you need to create new experiences together. By incorporating creative activities with your partner along with these daily connection practices, you can continue to feel more in love than ever before.
Here are six key guidelines for maintaining a long-lasting passion:
1. Keep Touching Each Other.
There are two types of touch: romantic (sexual) and non-romantic (non-sexual). Examples of romantic touch includes kissing and fondling of each other’s bodies. Examples of non-sexual touch include holding-hands and hugging. Make an effort to touch your partner whenever you are together. Not just the obligatory kiss when they get home, that won’t cut it. Hold hands when you watch a movie on the couch or pat their butt as your make dinner together in the kitchen. Touch bonds us to other people, so you are unconsciously creating a stronger bond with your partner when you touch them.
2. Show Affection.
People show affection in many different ways, including buying gifts, being sensual, and doing acts of service for their partner. Whatever you know your partner values you need to actively do to demonstrate to them that you appreciate their efforts in the relationship. These things don’t have to be extravagant, and actually should not be on a daily basis because that’s unrealistic to maintain long-term and could lead to resentment. A gift could be as simple as buying them their favorite coffee. A sensual act could be initiating sex if you normally would not. An act of service may be taking out the trash. When these things are done for you, remember to show appreciation. The more our partners do for us, the more we want to do for them. If you show affection, chances are your partner will want to return it, hence increasing their affection for you.
3. Verbalize Compliments.
Everyone likes hearing that they look beautiful or did a great job at something they worked hard on. In long-term relationships, we tend to shower our partners with compliments in the beginning but rarely say anything later on. The reason is that we get used to the way our partner looks, smells, feels, and acts. The special things no longer seem so special because we seem them every day. This is why time apart from each other is crucial as well to add back excitement. Remembering to continue to tell your partner how sexy they look or how proud of them you are for doing well at work is very important in creating the feeling of being noticed. If you don’t continue to notice your partner, that invites the possibility that others will. We all want to be seen and heard and not just for the first few months of a relationship.
4. Keep Sex Fun and Interesting.
My practice specializes in sexuality so I have seen a lot of couples struggle in this area. What comes up most often is that sex gets boring or just seems to fade away after a while. When the initial fire of desire has gone out many couples will continue to have sex, but it’s more like going through the motions. To keep a healthy and active sex life takes work. Take time to put on something sexy before you go to bed, pay attention to your personal grooming, and remember to eat well and exercise to feel good about your body. Also change things up in the bedroom, whether it be adding a new position or having sex in a different location. Doing new things creates a level of excitement that makes you and your partner re-discover each other in different ways. Remember to not do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. Above all, try to stay open to new shared experiences.
5. Make Time for Intimate Connection.
Intimacy is more than just sexual acts. Intimacy is connecting with your partner emotionally and allowing them into your inner world. By being truly intimate with your partner, you are letting them see the real you. This is an act of vulnerability. This is also hard to do because we all tend to wear a mask that tells others we are okay, even when we are not. Let your partner in and share with them your fears, worries, hopes, wishes and dreams. I recommend taking 10-15 minutes a day (before bed is a good time) to talk about more than just how your day went, but how you are really feeling about each other. In addition, a weekly date night with time carved out just to talk is a great time to have those deep discussions about your future and how you are honestly feeling about each other. Couples that are intimate with one other are far less likely to seek that intimacy from outside sources because they feel understood by their partners.
6. Be Honest About Your Needs.
Honest communication is the number one thing that couples need to keep passion alive. If your partner doesn’t know that something is wrong, it will never change. You need to verbalize what you want, both emotionally and sexually, in order to get your needs met. This can be as simple as telling your partner you want them to say “I love you” more often or as sensitive as explaining to them how you prefer to be touched in bed. Either way, pretending something is okay when it is not breeds further unhappiness, discontent and resentment. Encourage your partner to also be honest with you. Wouldn’t you want to know if they were unhappy about something so you could fix it? Open communication goes both ways, and can dramatically improve your relationship if you are able to communicate your needs in a loving manner.
In addition to these guidelines, remember that routine leads to boredom. Couples that last grow together over time. You aren’t the same people you were when you first met. Encourage one another to try new activities, from new restaurants to unknown travel destinations.
Combining these six dimensions along with adding in new experiences with your partner will create not just a healthy relationship now, but one that will stay vibrant and thriving long into the future.