When a relationship has been going on for years, it can take a lot of work to help keep the spark alive. And even though it would be great to have the relationship feel like it did in the beginning, the reality is that that initial feeling may never return to the way it once was because now your love has matured and grown more sustainable. While there's nothing wrong with that, a lot of couples can go through dry spells when it comes to romance. For some reason, it takes a back seat until certain events come around. But who says you can't be spontaneous all the time with your love?
I've been with my boyfriend for almost seven years now. We love each other very much, but we definitely have had some turbulence during our relationship. For a few months, we forgot what it was like to continue to put effort into something we cared about. But after getting through that rough patch, it just proved to us how, like anything, you have to nurture a relationship to keep it alive. During that dark time, we talked about what we needed to change and how we could grow from this — and we figured out spontaneity was key. After a little while of changing things up and getting out of our comfort zone, I can attest that being spontaneous is a great way to keep the love alive. But besides talking from my own experience, I had the chance to chat with Dr. Kim Chronister, psychologist and media commentator specializing in health psychology, over email about how to add spontaneity back into the relationship to help make it feel fresh and new again.
1. Take An Unplanned Trip
One of the best ways to bring a hint of spontaneity back into your relationship is by changing the scenery completely. Plan a getaway just for the weekend, or plan a trip to a place you've never been before. This can bring new romantic feelings back because you and your SO are going to explore something new together. Dr. Chronister says, "Intend to implement and maintain positive experiences of unpredictability by going above and beyond and getting out of your comfort zone by doing something or travelling somewhere, or buying tickets. A new activity is preferred because novelty spikes romantic feelings and overall attraction when it is experienced between partners."
2. Break Household Routines
When couples cohabitate, they usually have unspoken household routines. For instance, my boyfriend always checks the mail and takes out the trash, and I usually clean up the bathroom and dust around the house. Plus, we usually have a rule where if one cooks, the other cleans. If you switch those roles around in the house, it can add spontaneity because your partner won't be expecting it and view it as a sweet gesture. Dr. Chronister explains, "Spontaneity involves unpredictability and it heightens intensity and excitement in a relationship. Spontaneity is the opposite of routine." It might sound silly, but just the simple act of doing something unexpected for your partner can really change things around. Next time, try to cook and clean for your spouse when they come home for work. They'll appreciate it and might even show a little gratitude later.
3. Listen Carefully
Sometimes the best way to understand your partner and learn how to spice things up is by simply listening. Taking the time to fully pay attention to what they're saying can make you more aware of their needs and wants, and you can incorporate that by doing random acts of kindness. For example, my boyfriend surprised me with gifts of candy because I had randomly said in passing that I was in the mood for something sweet. It's little things like that that can keep couples on their toes. Next time, try to listen carefully to what your partner is saying and think outside the box of how you can randomly make their day.
4. Try Something New
Instead of going to the same restaurant that you normally go to, switch things up and try something new for your next date night. Doing this can remind you why you guys are together and that you still care about the relationship to switch things up. According to The Huffington Post, Dr. Tom Stevens, consultant psychiatrist at London Bridge Hospital, explained, “Lack of curiosity in relationships is often a problem.” Dr. Stevens continued, “When one partner feels they know everything about the other partner, it can cause them to become disinterested. This is where spontaneity can be very helpful. Curiosity can be provoked by unpredictable circumstances, which are more likely to emerge with risk-taking."
5. Change The Sex Routine
Whether you and your partner are having sex often or not, it's time to switch things up. Usually when you're having sex with your partner (and especially in a LTR), the same moves tend to pop up every single time. And while there's nothing wrong with that, sex can get boring because you know what you're already expecting. According to The Huffington Post, there are plenty of ways to add a bit of spice back into your sex life. Just talking with your partner about what you like can change things significantly. This is the time to allow yourself to be vulnerable with your partner and cross new territories when it comes to your sex lives. Either way, it's a win-win for the both of you, so there's really nothing to complain too much about.
6. Change Your Mentality
Sometimes the biggest obstacle you have to overcome when it comes to keeping your relationship alive is yourself. A lot of the time, people are stuck in old routines of how they believe things should be done, but sometimes you just have to step outside of your comfort zone or think differently to make the spark come alive again. Dr. Chronister says, "Sometimes the planner must resolve (really resolve) to simply say yes to the next spontaneous request their partner asserts. Other times, planners need to plan spontaneity to excite their partner. In this case of 'Planned Spontaneity,' it's important to not let the more spontaneous partner know that you are planning this adventure."
Whether you've been with your partner for six months or six years, there's always room to add a little bit of spontaneity into your relationship. It's a great way to keep your partner on their toes and for the both of you to not get bored with each other. Just try to think outside the box and don't be afraid to put a little effort. It can make your partner's day that you decided to do something romantic just for the heck of it — and that can not only make them happy but make you happy, too.
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