10 minute read
Learning how to fall back in love is a skill you want to have in your back pocket. Because whether you’ve stopped having sex or simply stopped feeling romantically inclined – sex and love are intertwined in most romantic relationships. And if we’re being honest…
There will always be times when you take each other or your relationship for granted.
Knowing how to pull your intimate relationship back into focus from the stressful ebb and flow of life is key. As a sex & relationship therapist and coach – I’ve seen countless couples go from miles apart to feeling loved up again. So rest assured it is possible if you want it to be.
Let’s get into it…
The million-dollar question everyone wants an answer to, and that answer is yes! However, just because it’s possible doesn’t mean it’s always easy. This is especially true if you’ve been with your partner or your spouse for a long time and there’s emotional baggage in the mix.
But while falling back in love isn’t necessarily straightforward – in many ways, it’s a choice we get to make.
Because while falling for one another originally might have felt nothing short of magical – it’s the effort that you put in and the practical, tangible things you do – that can bring those butterflies in your stomach back.
The notion of falling back in love can quite easily conjure up old Hollywood movies. Perhaps even heated song lyrics of couples who experience fantastical experiences causing them to fall back in love.
The reality however is that getting your relationship back on track is a choice and one that requires effort. And it’s this effort and choice that leads to the romantic experience of feeling in love again; the “I-want-you-now-I-cannot-wait”, and the “I’ll-stay-up-with-you-all-night-if-you-need-me-to”.
Because the thing about love is that isn’t really magical at all. Sure, it may feel that way at times, but for most of us, a long-term relationship with a sustained, loving bond is about being compatible and choosing to tough it out together when things are hard.
It’s about choosing to love someone through the ebbs and flows of life.
And once you make the choice to continue to love your partner – you then choose to put in the effort to feel that spark again.
And in some respects this is even more romantic than the head-over-heels, it-just-happens kind of notion. Because choosing one person over all others, despite challenges, is dedication.
Choosing to love through hardship is love.
Feeling butterflies in your stomach when thinking of your partner is an involuntary feeling you likely had at the beginning stages. Because of its involuntary nature – we naturally assign meaning to it.
That said, just because your butterflies were there at the beginning, it doesn’t mean they were all about your partner. In fact, for a lot of people, those butterflies were in part, simply nerves.
Perhaps you were nervous on your first few dates. Or, you felt the intense rush of excitement of getting to know someone new and truly clicking with them.
Beyond nerves – butterflies can also be a sign of strong sexual attraction and desire for someone.
We tend to assign greater meaning to the involuntary feelings that simply come about. And even if they’re beautiful and potent – voluntary choice regarding actions to fall back in love again can actually be even more romantic.
When you look for signs that you’re falling back in love with your partner, it’s natural to look for the same signs that were there at the beginning. But as you’ll learn in this article, there are other signs that are likely more reliable. And possibly, more inherently romantic.
There are lots of reasons why a couple might not feel in love anymore. The humdrum of daily life together can wear our bond down. But part of it also has to do with the three phases of love that most of us move through in a romantic partnership.
This is the time when we feel like we can’t get enough of each other. Where everyday things naturally take a backseat because you’re so obsessed with your new love interest.
Eating, sleeping, drinking, seeing friends, and engaging in hobbies are simply not as intoxicating as your new beloved.
This is also the time when you likely feel the strongest levels of desire and attraction (though not for everyone) – and because of this, it’s anchored in your memory as what the “falling in love” experience is all about.
This stage is where your intense feelings of excitement usually die down a little. However, you still feel deeply connected and yearn to spend time with your partner. If someone were to ask you if you’re in love, you would probably answer a resounding yes!
Here’s where your love is solidified and your bond gets deeper. You’re likely still attracted to your partner and feel desire for them – but it’s not the strong pull it used to be. This sometimes causes people to worry about their relationship and question if they’ve fallen out of love.
When the day-to-day starts to become more significant and important than your partner – it can plummet you into worry and anxiety. Perhaps you’re stuck in thoughts about work or school. Or you spend every waking minute with your kids and forgo moments you could spend with your partner or spouse.
The important thing to know? Falling out of love may feel irreversible – but it doesn’t have to be. And the truth about sex and love after marriage – is that it’s something we can work on.
Beyond all the varied reasons why we fall out of love – betrayal, hurt, anger, unresolved conflict – the common denominator for most is that it happens when we stop putting the energy and attention into our relationship that it requires.
That being said – effort doesn’t have to be big, grand gestures of love.
Romance and love don’t hinge on whisking your partner away for the weekend or buying them expensive pieces of jewellery.
Couples fall out of love when the small moments of affection start to disappear from the fabric of their relationship.
When you stop touching each other.
When you stop cuddling or snuggling.
When you stop going to bed together or stop having time in bed together.
When you stop kissing or making out.
When you stop having sex altogether.
Couples also fall out of love when they stop listening to one another.
When the appreciation for your partner and who they are, stops. And when this happens, it’s easy for the little things that irritate you to grow positively mountainous.
Suddenly, your partner’s annoying qualities get in the way and cloud your vision of what they’re actually like the majority of the time. The way they sip their coffee, the way they chew, the way they talk with their mum on the phone – all grates you.
Instead of appreciating the things they always do that are actually nice – like make your morning coffee or put away the toys – you start to get hung up on the things that don’t meet your standards or ideals.
Little things start to feel like big things. Socks left on the floor grind at you, and you start counting all the things they get wrong – instead of what they get right.
And when that starts to seep in and you have more negative interactions than positive ones (or more interactions that feel less like lovers and more like friends) it’s easy to feel like you’re falling, or have fallen, out of love.
In many romantic relationships one of the ONLY things you can’t do with anyone else – is have sex. This understandably puts your romantic relationship in a sticky situation and makes it especially vulnerable when the sex stops altogether.
When all the intimate things you used to share together – kisses, looks, intimate touches all stops – it can have you questioning what the difference between your relationship or marriage is compared to the relationships you have with others.
Truth be told, a sexless relationship doesn’t have to mean the end.
How much sex you have isn’t necessarily a barometer of how your relationship is doing. Because sex doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. For some couples, it’s very important. For others, intimacy in all of its forms helps you feel close to your partner.
The important thing here is knowing how important sex is to you and to your partner. This is what will give you a true sense of what it might mean when sex diminishes in your relationship – and what you want to do about it.
Because working towards having a more active sex life matters when it’s important to both you and your partner. If it’s not – it’s okay to go weeks, months, or even years without sex if it doesn’t light you up or fuel your bond.
Here is where it can get tricky – because a lot of times we’re not on the same page as our partner or spouse about how important sex is. In situations like these, we can easily fall into a pursuer-distancer dynamic. This occurs when one partner consistently pursues the other for sexual connection and the other partner consistently withdraws.
When this pattern emerges, it’s important to address it head-on so you both get your needs met and the pattern doesn’t become cemented.
When you haven’t had sex in months or years, it can feel a little daunting to slip under the sheets and get close. This isn’t a sign something is really wrong – it’s simply a sign it’s been long.
To start – you’ll want to have a conversation with your partner about it. This is the best way to really understand what you’re both thinking about the situation – and how important it is to both of you to get your sex life back on track.
Talking is also a great way to break the ice so it feels less awkward and more exciting and loving to you both when you take the plunge.
The second step is to acknowledge the time that’s passed since you had sex last. This way you can adjust your expectations accordingly. This doesn’t mean the sex will be bad – but you’re likely to feel a little rusty.
Setting reasonable expectations ahead of time will help you to be appreciative and happy that you actually had sex at all. Even if this sexual experience itself might not go down as your personal hall-of-fame one.
Once you’ve had sex – you’re likely to feel it’s easier to initiate sex the next time. And when you get back into the swing of things the awkwardness will naturally melt away – but you need to give it a chance to.
So you’ve made the choice to work on falling back in love with your partner – great! This choice is key and, as mentioned previously, inherently romantic. You’re choosing your partner all over again and this choice speaks volumes about how much they mean to you.
Once you start putting in the effort to conjure butterflies – here are a few signs to help you see that things are moving in the right direction.
When you’re looking for how to fall in love again – pay attention to all of these signs above – they’re signs that things are changing for the better.
As you start to notice them, you probably won’t feel like you’re falling in love in an instant – but it’s the small, consistent steps that will reawaken your love for your partner.
There are lots of answers to how to fall back in love with your partner, but sometimes it can feel impossible to know how. If you’re looking for therapist-approved ways of falling in love again, my exercise called Spark Butterflies, is a great place to start. It’s short, it’s simple, but it’s surprisingly effective.
One of the powerful things about this exercise is how it really shows you don’t need lots and lots of time or space in order to start falling back in love again. By taking a bite-sized, intentional step in the right direction, and doing small things often – you can reawaken your bond and choose one another all over again.
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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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