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Beyond Roommates: Getting Back the Fire in Your Long-Term Relationship
By Jennifer Sober   View more articles by this author
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October 15

Dating can be an exciting, endorphin rush of a ride.  Does she like me? Will he call me?   Desire comes effortlessly with wanting what we don’t yet have and not knowing when the next encounter will be.  Dating, though, is also fraught with insecurity.  One of the reasons that we are drawn to long term relationships is that they offer a sense of security and acceptance.  Over time, however, this comfortable acceptance can lead to taking the relationship for granted and losing the spark of desire. Two people who started out as passionate lovers can start feeling more like roommates.  So how do we keep the fire going or get it back if we feel it’s already gone?  

 

One of the most common mistakes that people make is letting their relationship slip as a priority in their lives.  Especially in a marriage, people often feel that the relationship is already set so they can focus on other things now.  This is like buying a house and then feeling like you don’t have to do anything else to it because it’s already been bought.  Like houses, relationships require maintenance.  Certainly, when children enter the picture, priorities do have to change.  But the relationship still needs to be near the top and not taken for granted.  The good thing about relationship maintenance, unlike house maintenance, is that it can be fun.  Maintenance includes: spending time together as a couple, talking about your lives together,  giving physical affection such as hugs and kisses, continuing to get to know the other person (remember that people do change over time),  listening to the other person, and learning to handle conflict with the other person without causing damage.

 

It is human to find comfort in routine.  It is a necessary part of life that makes our days feel predictable and helps us to feel safe.  On the other side, too much routine can feel boring and stale.  Getting some excitement back into the relationship may mean breaking up the routine a little.  Maybe it is planning a surprise date night where you have made all the arrangements ahead of time.  Or it can be doing something nice and unexpected for the other person such as doing a chore that they usually do or bringing them home their favorite dessert.  It could also be sneaking a love note into the other person’s work bag or offering an after work massage.  The goal is to find creative and fun ways to shake up the routine.

 

No talk of reviving a “fire” in the relationship would be complete without talking about sex.  This area may be the biggest casualty when couples have been together a long time.  It does not help that there are often differences between men and women in this area.  Many women want to feel close to their partner before having sex while many men want to have sex with their partner in order to feel close.  Women who have lowered sex down on their priority list need to realize that their partner probably has not.  Men need to realize that women often need to feel connected mentally and emotionally before they connect physically.  Although it may feel unromantic, it can help to plan a night that is open to sex.  (Wasn’t that what dating was about anyway?) That way, anticipation can be built up ahead of time and sex does not become a last minute as-my-head-hits-the-pillow encounter, or worse, continue to be put off until tomorrow. 

 

Putting fire back into a long term relationship is possible, it just requires some work.  Think of it this way…..it may just turn out to be the most rewarding work that you do.   

 

 

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17 Nov 2020 02:35 AM
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