What to do when the spark is fading
Why do you feel butterflies at the start of a new romance, and how can you keep the flame burning in a long term relationship as the spark starts to fade?
At the start of a new relationship, you're on Cloud Nine with that "first-date" butterfly feeling. But the euphoria seems to fade after a few months, and as time passes, the relationship can start to feel predictable and stale. But is it possible to keep excitement and romance going in a long term relationship?
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What causes that first date feeling?
That feeling of butterflies in your stomach that you experience when you first start dating someone new is all down to your hormones, especially vasopressin in men and oxytocin in women.
Other hormones such as dopamine and serotonin, the feel-good hormones, also play their part. Physical reactions such as a dry mouth, sweaty palms and your heart going pit-a-pat are the result of increased levels of adrenalin, a hormone your body releases when you are stressed. These are the signs and symptoms of "love at first sight".
However, we can't maintain these intense feelings of" being in love". When you settle down into a long-term relationship, you feel comfortable and relaxed with one another, and the euphoria fades. When you understand this concept, the worry that you might no longer love your partner enough will disappear.
Once you settle down, the emotions in a relationship will wax and wane over the years. This is natural, but there's a risk that your relationship will become routine and boring. Luckily, there are several steps you can take to keep the spark alive.
1. Try new things together
The thing about a new relationship is not just the romance. It's that it's new, and new things stimulate our brains. Every now and then, try out new experiences together. Take a cooking class, volunteer at a food bank, or take tennis lessons together. Learning something new can help you to recapture that warm, fuzzy feeling.
2. Surprise your partner
Small surprises keep the excitement going and will help to stop you from getting stuck in a rut. The possibilities are endless: treat them to a weekend away, bring them breakfast in bed, cook a special meal, or come home with a small gift. Small surprises
3. Enjoy date nights with your partner
During the early days of a relationship, most couples go out regularly on dates. But as time passes, going out for coffee, to the cinema or for dinner is often swapped for watching a box set on the couch. Reinforce your relationship by scheduling quality time together as often as you can.
4. Talk to each other
Don't forget to talk about what's important. Once a relationship becomes a habit, it's easy to forget all the romantic things you used to say. Don't stop expressing your emotions and telling your partner that you love them.
5. Build anticipation with messages
When you're away, text messages help to build excitement about when you meet up again. Spicing things up with some sexy messages is an easy way to rekindle the flame in your relationship.
6. Get physical
Frequent physical contact expresses intimacy and affection, essential for a healthy long term relationship. Give your partner a hug or a cuddle when they leave for work or arrive home, or touch their arm as you pass them. Physical contact doesn't necessarily have to lead to sex. But if your sex life is underwhelming, Bach Flower Mix 41 can help to treat a lack of desire.
7. Create goals together
Establish some goals that you can aim for as a couple. Your targets could be anything from saving for a mortgage deposit, running a marathon, or ticking off destinations on your travel bucket list. Shared goals not only let you work as a team, but they also give you things to do together and plenty of topics to talk about.
8. Spending time with others who have good relationships
Spending time with other couples who share your values and are in strong, long term relationships can reinforce your own commitment. Positive role models help to inspire and motivate you to keep your relationship fresh and exciting.
9. Talk about your dreams and aspirations
When you were first dating and getting to know one another, you probably talked about your aspirations and dreams. As time passes, these types of conversations tend to get forgotten. We assume we know everything there is to know about our partner. Make time to discuss your goals and future hopes, and help each other to bring these dreams to life.
10. Stay curious
As a relationship matures, people tend to change the type of questions they ask each other. "What is your earliest memory?" gets replaced with" Did you remember to buy milk?". Rather than keeping the conversation superficial, ask your partners opinions and thoughts about their past, as well as about current events and topics.
A final thought
While focusing on your relationship, don't forget to look after yourself. If your life is very intertwined with that of your partner's, you're at risk of losing your own identity. Make sure your own hobbies, friendships and interests aren't squeezed out. Establishing and maintaining autonomy and independence will rekindle your attraction for each other.
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