When you’ve had the same partner for a long time, it’s natural to feel comfortable with them, and even feel bored sometimes. The initial rush of being in love and the excitement of your new relationship may be a distant memory. You might be left wondering where the romance has gone.
Romance does not always mean hearts, chocolates, flowers, or grand gestures, though. First, it’s about being appreciated and feeling acknowledged. It’s an affirmation that your partner is valued by you, and you are valued by your partner, no matter what is happening around you. Romance is about putting someone else first.
Why has romance disappeared?
There are many reasons why romance, or putting your partner first, is difficult to maintain. It may be the result of communication or financial problems or concerns about your children or other members of your family. Whatever the reasons though, here are some things you can try to help you and your partner bring back the romance in your relationship.
Reflect on what attracted you to each other when you first met
There are many ways you can reflect on the early days of your relationship. You might revisit the place where you had your first dates, such as a restaurant, park or cinema. Remind each other what you saw and felt in those first few months. Reflecting on this initial attraction can help to draw couples closer together.
Preserve the rituals that bring you both joy and create new ones
Rituals can help couples discover a sense of belonging and connection, while also enhancing awareness of their own identity. You could go for a bike ride together, join a cooking class, or visit a new cafe each week. You could also think about what you do together when you’re on holidays, that could become a part of your daily life at home.
Support each other’s dreams and goals
Couples should be in touch with, and supportive of, each other’s dreams and aspirations. Sit down together and look at each other’s plans and goals for the coming year. These could include individual, family, holiday, or financial aims. Talk about these goals and what you can do to achieve them. Workshopping your goals together can give you a vision of a shared future, which can help you both to connect as a couple.
Let your partner know that you think about them during the day
Small acts of kindness are usually behaviours displayed early in a relationship but can diminish over time. Throughout your relationship, take the time to show your partner that you care about them. Kind gestures do not need to be extravagant or expensive. Think about small things you can do for your partner, such as cooking their favourite meal, leaving short love notes around the house, sending them a card in the mail, buying a small gift or flowers, or doing their least favourite chore.
Maintain intimacy in your relationship
Intimacy is an important way of expressing love. This includes, but is not limited to, sexual intimacy. Have a conversation with your partner about sex – maybe your needs have changed while you’ve been a couple. Small signs of affection can also help to maintain intimacy. Kiss each other hello and goodbye, tell your partner that you love them or hold hands. You could plan a weekend away for just the two of you, or go out on a date night. Take the time to focus on each other and your relationship.
Express interest and curiosity about your partner
Ask questions and be informed about your partner’s inner and outer world. Listen to how they’re feeling and what they’re thinking, and learn about what’s going on at work and in other areas of their life. People change constantly, so don’t assume you know everything about them. Tell your partner what you like about them and compliment them frequently. Be grateful for who they are and what they offer – gratitude helps people to be happy. When partners can see the good in each other, it helps them through the tough times.
Counsellors work with couples to reduce distress and try to improve key areas such as communication, intimacy or parenting issues. For more information see Relationship Counselling.