Excitement v Security
The excitement and novelty of a new relationship fades in time, but it can be replaced with the most wonderful feeling of contentment and security. It's all about balance. I've been with my other half for 12 years and I still cherish our relationship just as much (if not more) than I did at the beginning. Here are 10 tips to help keep the romance alive long past the seven-year itch.
Nothing can replace the odd kiss, cuddle or hand-hold. It comes so naturally in the early stages of a relationship. It's like any habit; easy to make and easy to break. As your relationship grows, keep engaged with the practise of touching your partner as often as you can. I'm not necessarily referring to being overtly sexual; simply holding hands keeps a connection and closeness, and is a much-needed reminder that you feel affection towards your partner. Hugs and kisses can also act as an re-energizing boost during the day.
Dates shouldn't be reserved for the early days of your relationship. Surprise your partner by booking a trip to the theatre or a meal at a nice restaurant. Build up anticipation and excitement as you discuss your plans. On the date, dress up and make an effort to look your best. Remember the way you acted when you first took your other half out on a date and try to emulate your behaviour; did you make a big effort to 'impress' in the early days? Why should things be any different now? If you can't afford to go out and about, be imaginative with the activities you can take part in at home. How about an evening of cheese and wine with romantic music? Light some candles or decorate the room with flowers. The idea is to create the atmosphere of a date. Looking great, feeling great and making the effort to help your partner feel special can remind you of what it was that attracted you to one another in the first place.
â€¨3, Love letters
Never underestimate the power of writing. It seems old-fashioned in the world of email and smart phones, but making a real effort to write a beautifully worded letter means so much more and can warm the heart. Love letters can be kept and re-read providing a lovely keepsake that can be looked back on for years to come. Every time your partner reads the letter, they'll be given a lift, reminded of how you felt about them in the early days. Writing letters throughout a relationship reminds your other half that you still feel that way!
Embrace technology for little gestures of romance. Texting and emailing are great ways of letting the one you love know how you're feeling at regular intervals. Both take very little effort and cost virtually nothing; for these reasons, they shouldn't replace the odd grand romantic gesture, but they can provide a fantastic reminder that you're thinking about your other half. Why not text a silly affectionate poem, a compliment, or even a quick hello? Any of these can brighten your partner's day.
E-cards are also wonderful. Several sites allow you to send them for free and the variety of sentiments is massive. They range from humorous to cute, serious and romantic to subtly sexy. You can always personalise the card with a special message; you shouldn't wait for a special occasion. In fact I'd suggest that e-cards are only really appropriate for little 'I love you' gestures, not anniversaries or birthdays.â€¨â€¨â€¨
5, Keep it positive
It's sometimes tempting to focus on what your partner doesn't do anymore. How often have you said 'you never bring me flowers' or 'why don't you listen when I speak?' Try flipping this on its head and concentrating on the positives. What things do they say or do that make you feel great? If you are a woman, the flowers and chocolates may have stopped, but what about the dinners he has cooked for you, or the new piece of furniture he bought for the bedroom? If you are a man, she may not tell you how hunky you are every day, but does she sit through a football match with you? You know she'd rather be doing something else!
Your partner may be hugely responsive if you compliment them on what they DO, instead of focusing on what they don’t. If you show that you appreciate your other half with the occasional thank you, they'll do more and more. Show that you notice and appreciate how patient or sensitive your other half is and it will pay dividends.
6, Do something together
How about taking a dance class together or visiting a new place? Shared experiences can keep a relationship fresh and alive and create new points of conversation and mutual interests. Find something that neither of you have done before, or something you've always talked about doing and DO IT!
In terms of your sexual relationship, expect change. The initial animal magnetism isn't likely to last forever, but it can be replaced with a beautiful intimacy. That intimacy can make your sex life far more genuine, gratifying and fulfilling. Don't forget about this part of your relationship. Other parts of life tend to take over; career, socializing and children can put your sex life on low priority. It's important to make time for love-making, so that you don't fall into the pattern of having the odd obligatory quickie every now and again. Be romantic by using candles, music and perfume. Like anything else, intimacy needs nourishment if it is to survive; try new things and tell your partner how attractive they are as often as you can.
8, Keep talking
We've all been in a restaurant and looked over at an elderly couple who seem to have nothing to talk about, sitting in silence, staring into space. In some ways, it's a positive; being comfortable in silence with your partner is a sign that you feel completely at home with them. However, it is important to keep conversation alive in your relationship. What are your common interests? Chat about them. The trivial comings and goings of your day can provide great talking points, ranging from funny to bizarre. Encourage your partner to share the highlights of their day too. It's important that you don't just use your partner to talk through problems; let them in on the happy parts of your life too.
Your partner needs you more than they need anyone else. Listening to them isn't always that easy, particularly if they tend to obsess about certain points or repeat themselves. Making the extra effort to be understanding and responsive is really important, particularly if you expect it to be reciprocated. It's not always necessary to solve the problems; sometimes it will suffice to be a 'sounding board'.
10, Look after yourself
There is truth in the saying 'you can't be fully loved until you love yourself'. Nurture your own interests and passions and stay active in your pursuits and hobbies. This will only make you more interesting. It is far easier to gain the respect of another person when you lead the way by respecting yourself. Being a vibrant, passionate person is attractive.
In conclusion, keeping a relationship fresh for a long time can be challenging, but challenges are good and help us grow as individuals. Nothing worth pursuing is ever easy, so if you believe that your relationship is worth working at, commit to it fully in mind, body and soul!