If your relationship begins feeling a little flat and less exciting than it once did, it can often be you’re not meeting each others’ expectations.
When a relationship is fresh, there’s often plenty of fire to make it feel hot-hot-hot. As time goes forward, we get comfortable and settle into our routines and habits, however, that flame can get a little cooler and a little smaller.
And, it doesn’t have to — that flame may simply need a little fanning or some fuel!
If you’re feeling a little bored with your relationship(s), you might be inclined to blame your partner(s). It’s easy to point our finger in the other direction. We probably don’t need to be the ones to tell you, though, that this is usually unproductive. The real issue could be you.
And that’s fantastic news because you are the only one who’s thoughts and actions you can control. This also means that you can be the change and start taking positive action toward creating the kind of relationship you crave.
By first focusing on yourself, you can show up for others in a much more meaningful way.
If you think your relationship needs a jolt of strong espresso, here are some simple tips to keep the good vibes flowing:
1. Think about what you can do for your partner(s).
And not what they can do for you. When you do this, you’ll be much more focused on what you bring to your relationship and puts your partner into a better frame of mind to focus on your needs. Consider the small things that would make your partner’s life feel easier and happier. Something as simple as helping with a chore that generally falls on their to-do list, or hiring help to look after something your partner normally takes care of.
When our to-do lists get out of control, this burden can create sexual tension and affect our ability to connect with one another. So giving your partner one less thing to think about will serve both of you in the long run.
2. Meet your own damn needs.
If it feels as if you’re not getting what you want in your relationship, with your desires, and other needs, it might be a sign that your expectations are misaligned or even unclear. For instance, if you find yourself resenting your partner, it may be helpful to press pause and ask yourself what needs you feel aren’t being met. And then, find ways that you can fulfill your needs. In relationships, people can tend to look to their partner to fill many roles — friend, confidant, lover, advice-giver, caregiver — when really, we can fulfill our personal needs and look to others in our lives to serve these roles.
3. Connect quietly and intentionally.
Simply sit with your partner(s) in silence and enjoy each other’s company. A fun way to try this out is to sit back-to-back on the floor. Slow down, silence your devices, stay completely quiet, and avoid meeting their eyes. Just lean back into each other and feel their heat and energy. By starting with this simple exercise, you might be surprised at what kinds of thoughts and feelings bubble up to the surface. We encourage you to notice these thoughts and stay curious about what comes up — avoid judging or overthinking, this is a practice in being.
4. Create a thank bank.
Just like a “spank bank” but for appreciation and recognition. Every day, perhaps in the evening as you wind down from your day, write something down that makes you feel love or appreciation for each other. You can write these down on little slips of paper, drop them into a jar, and read through them once a year (or more often if you like).
Bringing intentional acts of gratitude into your relationship is an easy and powerful way to strengthen your connection, deepen trust, and to get some simple reminders about just how awesome your relationship really is.
5. Delight and surprise.
An excellent way to spark excitement in your relationship is to surprise your partner(s) in small ways. Think, hidden hand-scribbled love notes, sticky notes on the bathroom mirror, their favorite snack in their work bag, or a surprise gift card in their email. The creative ideas are endless, as are the resulting thanks and praise from your joy-filled recipient.
Big, small, or somewhere in between, there are many ways to surprise your partner(s), simply be together enjoying each other’s company, and ways to help them to feel seen and heard. No matter the spark-igniting tips you play with here, the one thing they all have in common is that they start with one thing — you.
Remember, you have the power to change your reality and your actions. Now have fun with it!
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Sexology International, like all of our work, is for people of all sexual preferences and all forms of gender expression, including people whose identity is something other than male or female. As such, we like to use gender-neutral pronouns. More recently accepted alternatives include words like “ze” and “hir” or the universal pronoun “they.” Throughout our work, we will be doing our best to use alternative pronouns, such as “they,” whenever gender or plurality is unimportant. In doing so we hope it helps everyone to feel included in the discussion and that it inspires you to think outside of traditional sex and gender binaries.