It’s perfectly normal to have times when you feel more or less in love with your partner. Yet, it’s painful to have lulls in a relationship that leave you feeling hopeless or questioning its future. Maybe you have lost sight of what made you fall in love, or you have reached a cosy stage of companionship that lacks fire. But is it unrealistic to expect to be in love with the same person for decades? What can you do right now to make your relationship more romantic?
What Losing Connection Looks Like
You could decide to buy your partner their dream car, dream home, or even their dream jewellery that you’re hearing for years. Sounds like a good idea, right?
Or while you are out on a double date with friends and your partner starts telling a story, you say, “that’s a good story, but you always tell it wrong. Let me do it.” So you fail at showing fondness and admiration.
Later that night your partner excitedly plops down next to you on the couch and shows you a picture of a DIY romantic dinner at home. “Isn’t this romantic?” You respond, “will you be quiet? I’m trying to read here!” So you fail at turning towards her when your partner tries to connect with you.
Now reconsider that decision of spending your hard-earned money to the expensive dreamy item. Is that going to rekindle the romance? I don’t think so.
How to Get the Connection Back
Couples often lose a lot of these vital feelings of love and affection when they forego real love for a fantasy bond and its illusion of fusion and safety. Here, I want to talk about proactive actions you can take to reconnect with what you felt when you fell in love, actions that break a fantasy bond and prove that real love is still alive and accessible.
Step 1: Think about the last time you felt truly close to your partner.
Consider how long ago that was, what the two of you were doing, and what kinds of stressful events or hectic schedules have transpired since. The more distant that time was, the more urgently you need to refocus on your relationship and reconnect.
Step 2: Try to understand.
Really try to understand what it’s been like for your partner in the past days, weeks or even months since you last felt that closeness. Your partner may have been working long hours or stressing about finances, may have recently returned from deployment, or lost a job. Perhaps your partner feels overworked at home or is getting burnt out with the kids and their activities. Has he/she experienced a death in the family, or been overwhelmed by the stresses of life? Withdrawal from you may have been a natural coping reaction – particularly if your partner feels you don’t understand. Consider how you might feel if the roles were reversed and how much you would appreciate your partner’s support and encouragement. Really listen when your partner needs to vent. Make it a point to start giving your partner that encouragement right now and every day. It may take a while for your partner to reciprocate, but your efforts won’t be in vain.
Step 3: Do something together.
Think about what you were doing with your partner the last time you felt truly close. Schedule a time to do that same thing again. Think about the activities you know your partner enjoys and make it a point to do some of those things. Take time to play together!
Step 4: Get away from the grind.
Go out on a date night, take a day off to be with each other, plan a weekend getaway or holiday together. Often, time spent together away from all the stress and pressures of everyday living is the perfect prescription for recapturing marital/partnership bliss and intimacy. Schedule date nights if necessary to make sure you have couple time together regularly.
Step 5: Learn your partner’s love language.
Do some research to find materials or read some books that may easily help you determine your partner’s primary ‘love language’, or ways your partner feels most loved. Commit to showing your partner love in a way that is most meaningful to him or her, regardless of your own personal preferences.
Step 6: Kiss. Hug. Make love. Have sex.
Whatever you want to call it, when one or both partners is stressed out or out of sorts, sex is often the first thing to go. Both of you are tired and sleep seems like a more immediate need. Unfortunately, days can stretch into weeks without that physical intimacy. Most couples really do need the physical expression of love and the closeness that a good romp in the hay engenders.
Step 7: Recommit to your partner.
Reaffirm your love, devotion and commitment to love your partner through the good times and the bad. Do it in your heart and then put it into words and tell your partner. You can never tell someone you love him or her too much.
A Message For You
Most of the steps presented here are easier said than done for one fundamental reason. Staying in love means staying close to feelings — all feelings. It’s when you are in real love that you can experience real loss. Hurt exists. Joy comes with sadness, and it’s sometimes easier to live at a distracting distance than to allow yourself to go all in. Falling back in love isn’t a passive tumble into the past, but a leap of faith you actively take and continue to take every day you choose to be together.
If you are facing the same scenario, or if you feel like your relationship is going down the rabbit hole and that there’s no hope, don’t give up. Reach out and let’s have a chat. Let’s see what we can do to support you.