You know when nothing is specifically wrong between you and your partner, but the spark just seems to be missing? It may be time to re-energize your relationship.
Any long-term, committed partnership is bound to experience a lull (no matter how much you love each other). Don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to bring your grayscale relationship back into technicolor. If you think your relationship needs a jumpstart, here are a few tips:
Stop blaming yourself (or your partner).
Commitment needs to be treated like a verb, not a noun. It takes active, consistent effort to maintain a relationship. If you have fallen into a rut with your partner, avoid the blame game and focus your energy on moving forward together.
Try something new together.
New experiences can make you feel closer to your partner. (Why do you think everyone is falling in love on The Bachelor/Bachelorette?!) While going on a hot air balloon adventure could be great if you have the chance, something as simple as trying a new recipe or listening to a new album together can do the trick just as well.
Examine your routines.
Routines are not inherently bad. In fact, they can help you to feel safe and secure in a relationship. However, just like your sleep routines may change with age, your relationship routines may need the occasional tune-up as well. Think about habits you have with your partner. Which ones make you feel more connected? What aren’t you receiving that you need to add in? You might find a new appreciation for eating dinner together or find that you need to make an effort to hug when someone gets home. Being intentional is key!
Plan a date.
Ideally, pick a date activity that is different from your usual routine. But more importantly, plan it. There is a difference between happening to end up on the couch at the same time and planning to meet in the living room at 8 pm, with snacks, for a screening of a new movie. Bonus points for making it a phone-free date.
While you’re at it, plan time to be intimate, too.
For some people, this is a sex date. For others, the pressure to be ready to have sex at a specific time is stressful. Open up the definition to make it time to be intimate with each other. You can decide in the moment what you’re up for – maybe it’s cuddling, a massage, or even just holding hands next to each other. The exercise in prioritizing intimacy with each other can do wonders.
Gwendolyn Rosen, MPH
Sexuality Educator, Writer, Public Health Professional, & Media Strategist