Maintaining romance, particularly in a long-term relationship, is a deceptively difficult task. On the one side routine and co-dependency (the psychological component) can slowly whittle away at the heady, passionate edge of a romantic partnership. On the other, the natural transition through the three stages of love (the chemical and hormonal component) can also greatly influence how “in love” we feel in the present.
In this article I will outline what I feel are the most efficient ways of falling in love again in a relationship, without the use of magic bullets, mind games and other band-aid solutions that only ever work temporarily.
Take A Time Out
My suggestion may seem counter-intuitive. After-all, shouldn’t falling in love again in a relationship involve bridging the romantic gap rather than stretching it? I would adamantly argue the opposite.
In most cases it is the complacency and monotony of routine that lead to a subtle romantic downward spiral. Time apart is a fantastic way to obliterate the negative traits of co-dependency, reminding both parties involved what aspects of each others’ nature have been taken for granted and swept under the rug in the name of routine.
Additionally, time apart will allow you to detox from relationship stress and remind yourself what makes you tick as an individual. During the normal wear and tear of making emotional ends meet, you may find that you have compromised too much, and have lost sight of what contributes to your own fulfillment (independently of your relationship).
Keep It Fresh
Claiming personal sanctuary for a meaningful period of time may not be feasible for every couple (kids, work, e.t.c), but this doesn’t mean we can’t bathe in the same wave of freshness that solitude offers.
Another great way to kick-start personal fulfillment and rekindle romance is to redefine the relationship according to a fresh new set of rules, and personal boundaries based on what the relationship is today, not what it was back then. Things change!
A good exercise to start with is to draw up a list of your emotional needs and wants on a piece of paper. When communicating the need for change, present the needs as character defining necessities which cannot be compromised, but offer the wants as something which can be amended in favor of your partner’s needs (and vice-versa). However, if this doesn’t sound like a palatable scenario, it is still something which you can do to usher in a measure of objectivity regarding your own expectations and happiness.
The Honesty Policy
Poor communication is a conduit to poor romance in the long-term. If insecurity, fear or resentment have led both you and your partner to tip-toe around the elephant(s) in the room (whatever it/they may be), it may pay amorous dividends to smash it all with the hammer of honesty.
The occasional white-lie is obviously part-and-parcel of your every-day relationship, but allowing insecurity to build will only ever lead to a progressive downward spiral:
- The decay of trust.
- The ticking time-bomb of resentment.
- An increase in distance and the propensity towards misinterpretation.
- An uptick in mind-games and emotional blackmail.
- The acceleration of all of the above (let’s call it the insecurity avalanche effect).
Nobody loves the thought of confrontation, but the longer you stave off addressing issues that are an integral and inescapable part of your happiness, the greater the chance that once the pain trumps your fear (forcing you to finally confront the issue) the situation may no longer be salvageable.
Exist As An Individual
Falling in love again is only partly learning how to rekindle love for your partner. It is also about remembering to indulge your own appetite for personal freedom and individualism, by making sure that your fundamental needs are being taken care of. Love will consequently flow freely and naturally as a corollary of being happy and emotionally self-sufficient.
What is best for you will generally be best for you both — because at the very least you will improve your chances at weathering stress, and you won’t be injecting a torrent of insecurity into the existing relationship. Some things can be compromised, but others, such as who you fundamentally are, cannot.