All relationships go through phases, and if you’re been with your partner for a long time, chances are some of the spark and sense of excitement will have gone. But that doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to becoming a dull and boring duo. Even if those first date butterflies are a distant memory, there are steps you can take to keep your relationship feeling new, fresh and fun.
1. Surprise each other
Why is it that when we first fall in love, it’s all about those little presents and thoughtful gestures, and then gradually this tends to fade away? The humdrum of everyday life can really strip a relationship of romance over time. However, with a little imagination, you can hold on to the element of surprise. Something as simple as sending your other half a cute card or text in the middle of the working day, giving them a little gift out of the blue, or making them breakfast in bed can really show you care. Or why not raise the stakes with the occasional surprise weekend getaway?
2. Have regular date nights
If you and your partner have busy lives, you might find it difficult to make space in your schedule to spend quality time together. But it’s hard to sustain a strong relationship if you don’t make the effort to reconnect regularly. Whether it’s catching a film at the cinema, enjoying a candlelit meal for two at your favourite restaurant or taking a romantic stroll in the fresh air, devoting time solely to each other can help to keep the sense of romance alive.
3. Try new things together
At the beginning of a relationship, everything’s new. While you can’t step back in time to feel the sense of novelty that you had when you first got to know your partner, you can try new activities and hobbies together that recreate this sense of anticipation. Whether it’s getting stuck into a sport you’ve never done before, travelling to new places or even signing up for dance classes, there’s no shortage of options. Stepping out of your comfort zone and experiencing completely new things together can also make you feel closer and more connected.
4. Have some phone-free time
If your phone is pretty much glued to your hand throughout the day, have you thought that this could be harming your relationship? There’s even a phrase for snubbing someone in favour of your phone - ‘phubbing’. OK, so whether it’s checking work emails or catching up on social media, you’re bound to want or need to spend some time staring at your screen. But when you’re with your partner, try to make a conscious effort to minimise this.
5. Socialise together with friends and family
Spending quality time together is a must, but it’s also important as a couple to hang out with friends and family. One of the reasons why this is good for a relationship is that it helps you to see your partner through the eyes of others - and this can remind you of the qualities that you love and admire about them.
6. Enjoy time apart
Don’t shy away from spending time apart. It’s a terrible cliché, but absence really can make the heart grow fonder. Whether it’s enjoying a night out or mini-break with friends or taking a trip to catch up with family, being apart from your other half will help to keep things fresh. You’ll have the excitement of reconnecting, plus you’ll have plenty to talk about when you’re back together.
7. Don’t stop having meaningful conversations
When you first got with your partner, you might have immersed yourself in deep and meaningful conversations long into the night, discussing your hopes and dreams for the future and much else besides. Then, somewhere along the way, chats about bills, housework and what you’re having for dinner took over. There’s no getting around the need to have these mundane conversations, but they don’t have to suck all the oxygen out of your communication. If you can, get back into the habit of asking your other half meaningful questions that go beyond the purely practical.
8. Make an effort with the small things
From the way you say bye to your partner in the morning or greet them at the end of the day to whether you remember to thank them when they do something for you, the small things in a relationship really matter. Telling your other half that you love them on a regular basis, showing affection and always being appreciative for what they do for you can help you to keep a close, loving connection and make you happier as a couple. On their own, these small actions might not seem like a big deal, but they add up to something much more fundamental.
9. Set goals together
Setting goals as a couple can help ensure you’re both moving in the same direction. Whether it’s getting to a certain place in your careers, saving up to buy a house or even simply hitting a fitness target like running a 10k, supporting each other through these milestones and celebrating when you achieve them can make you feel like you’re progressing rather than being stuck in a rut.
10. Don’t neglect the physical side
Sex can be an important part of intimacy, and if the physical side of your relationship is a little lacklustre these days, you might want to take steps to shake things up. Honesty is a must here. It’s important that you and your partner are on the same page and feel able to express your desires and preferences. It’s not just about what happens in the bedroom either. Flirting with each other can really help to keep the spark alive.