With a little effort and determination, everyone can spice up their relationship. And the best part? The more often you do it, the easier it will become. Here are four things to know about keeping a long-term relationship alive – and how to do them.
We grow up in a world that tells us that if we’re with the right person – love, attraction and sex, are easy.
But while Hollywood rom-coms and our social media feeds are filled with these images – relationship and sex therapists like myself, see what others don’t.
We see the couples who are struggling with connection. The couples who feel like something is missing because they’re not having sex. The couples who’ve stopped looking at each other lovingly.
There’s nothing wrong with a relationship that feel a little lacklustre – it just needs a boost. Once this is acknowledged, you can inject a little life into your relationship. Without it being hard.
Once you’re on board with being proactive about your relationship – you can start doing things to infuse your bond.
Examples of ways couples can keep things fresh include: reminiscing about fun memories, surprising each other, and trying something new in the bedroom.
In fact, all of these things aren’t just great for your relationship as a whole, they’re also a great way of going from no sex drive to lots of it!
If you’re specifically looking for ways to connect emotionally, on a deeper level – the “36 questions” are an excellent resource.
Based on a research experiment by Aron et. al (1996), the 36 questions are designed to create connection and, possibly even love, between complete strangers.
The questions range from the simple, to the vulnerable, and include things like: “Would you like to be famous? In what way?” And ”If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?”
You can find the whole list of questions in this blog post: how to keep your relationship alive and exciting.
When it comes to keeping a long-term relationship alive, addressing the five love languages can be an important part of the equation.
Created by Dr. Gary Chapman – the five love languages showcases the different ways in which people experience and show love. Usually, we have one preferred way of expressing love. Keep in mind, we don’t always share the same love language as our partner.
Because of the differences in our preferred love language, communication difficulties can arise – leading to a less-than-happy relationship.
Understanding your own love language and that of your partner’s, is like uncovering a short-cut to better communication and therefore, more love and intimacy in your relationship.
The five different languages are:
Words of affirmation
Receiving compliments or hearing someone tell you they love you is the best way for you to experience love.
Acts of service
When someone does something for you, like throws away the rubbish or cleans the bathroom, you feel loved.
Thoughtful presents really show you you’re cared for and loved by your partner.
Hugging, cuddling in bed or just being stroked on your arm is your preferred way of being shown love.
My free resource The Desire Test helps you take that first step towards an increased sex drive, by understanding your decreased desire.
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If you’re looking for ways of keeping a long-term relationship alive that center on attraction and sex – don’t just focus on the physical.
While you may have been drawn to your partner because of the way they looked, attraction is often multi-layered. This means it can depend on lots of different things.
For some, it’s about the way their partner sounds when they laugh. For others, it’s about the way they smell, the jokes they tell, or the way they shower them with attention.
By focusing on the very things you used to find attractive, you may very well start to feel that pull towards your loved one again.
This is also a great way of getting out of a negative spiral where all you can see is your partner’s annoying qualities. And over time this will help you manage expectations in your relationship, where you aim for more realistic ones.
Other times, we need stronger measures in order to experience that lusty feeling with our partner again. If this sounds like you, my free resource The Desire Test is what you need.
Based on sexological science and best practices, it helps you pinpoint why you have low sex drive and do not want sex anymore. Once you know this, you can take the first steps to increasing it.
Because relationships need our attention and energy in order to remain fun and fulfilling. Once they get this – the attraction and connection of the early days will be relived. Of course, not all of the time (there are only so many hours in a day!) but enough to keep us happy.
Four great ways of doing this are:
Accepting and reminding yourself of the fact that relationships take work,
Focusing on what attracted you to your partner in the first place, besides the physical things
Now you know about four ways of keeping a long-term relationship alive – make a note in your calendar of which one you’re going to start with – and stick to it.
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With 11 years of experience in the helping profession - Leigh helps her clients create stress-free, shame-free, pressure-free sex lives, through her unique combination of sexological science, & psychotherapeutic & coaching tools.
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