There's no shame in adding hacks for falling in love with your partner all over again to your relationship bag of tricks. If you're a relationship realist like me, then you know that there will be times in your life when you can't stand your partner, or when your partner is the only person in the world you want to spend time with. And sometimes, those feels will happen at the very same time.
That's not to say you don't love your partner. Of course you love your partner (unless you're heading for a breakup, but that's a topic for another post). But there will be times when you feel like you're not in love with your partner. Loving someone and being in love with someone are two totally different deals. It's been my experience, though, that as long as you love someone, then being in love with them is often a choice. And those love butterflies you get in your stomach when you're in love are a by-product of brain chemistry, meaning you can often get them back if you try.
As a former Domestic Violence Victim Advocate and Planned Parenthood Responsible Sexuality Educator, I've seen couples throw away good, healthy relationships because they thought the lack of butterflies meant that their partner wasn't "the one." I believe "the one" is something you get to determine. So if you've made a commitment to your "one" but you're not feeling the love, try these hacks for falling in love all over again. Because a healthy relationship is a terrible thing to waste.
1. Have Really Good Sex
When couples go through rough patches, as you can imagine, they tend to have less sex. This is a shame, because having good sex is a great way to feel connected to your partner and to tap into all those feel-good and love-inducing hormones. Lots of times, couples will have sex after a dry spell and look at each other like "why don't we do this more often?" Physical intimacy and emotional intimacy go hand-in-hand.
2. Watch Them Do Something They Love
When you're in love with someone, you can look at them and just marvel at how amazing you find them. You can try to rekindle some of those feels by watching your partner do something they love or that they're good at. Let them impress you. Notice their joy, their skill, their happiness. Remind yourself of more things you love and appreciate about your partner.
3. Take A Long Drive
What is it about long drives that get people to open up? Maybe it's because it's harder to walk away when you're in a car going fast on the highway. Long drives are a good opportunity to open up and have long, honest talks about your relationship. They're some quiet, isolated time where you can't really focus on much else but each other. It can bring you back to a closeness that you temporarily lost.
4. Get More Affectionate
Just touching helps you get back some of those love chemicals, according to clinical psychologist Wendy Walsh in an article for Yahoo! Beauty. Wash noted that, in her opinion, couples don't touch enough. Humans need touch to thrive. It makes sense that when touch lessens or stops, the lovey feelings can follow. Touching more can mean sleeping close, cuddling, holding hands in the car, hugging when you leave for work, or kissing good night.
5. Have A Little Fun
Did your love come from friendship that grew into something more? Did your partner used to be your best friend in all of the world? Friendships are an important part of romantic relationships. Having fun, sharing experiences, creating memories, laughing, dancing, chatting, and just enjoying each other's company will help you re-strengthen your friendship, which will naturally spill into your romantic lives.
6. Do Something Dangerous
Maybe don't go on a Bonnie and Clyde-inspired crime spree. I'm thinking more like sky diving or staying in a haunted hotel. The brain chemicals released during dangerous situations are similar to those released when you have sex, and the feel-good chemicals that you create when you survive the danger make you associate that good feeling with your partner.
7. Smile For No Reason
If you want to rekindle your lovey feelings, a little flirting can go a long way. Try smiling at your partner for no reason, just to show them you're happy with them. Be extra kind and gentle. Pay attention to how much of your conversation contains negativity, and work to be more positive and loving. Being intentionally kind helps you create a happy, loving relationship, according to James Cordova, Ph.D. in an article for the Huffington Post.
8. Deal With Your Childhood
According to Psychology Today, a case study featuring a couple named Sean and Maria, "Love Doctor" Frances Cohen Praver, Ph.D. highlighted how dealing with their past traumas sparked the couple to revisit how they communicated and loved each other. The positive changes they made once they faced down their demons sent their troubled romance into "teenagers in love" territory.
9. Empower Yourself
In the same case study, Praver reported that as Maria gained empowerment from dealing with her past and began standing up for herself, her partner came to respect her more, and she came to respect the efforts he went to to deal with his problems. That mutual respect helped fuel their new passion and love.
10. Call In The Experts
The truth is that couple's therapy isn't just for sorting out whether or not you should get divorced, or learning how to stop fighting. It's also a great tool for learning how to communicate, learning how to express your needs, learning how to treat each other, and learning the root causes of problems you struggle to get past. You can use therapy or counseling as a tool to get to know each other if you've been drifting apart. There are too many benefits to list, both or happy and unhappy couples.
11. Clear Your Schedule
The time you spend away from your partner might be something you can't change, but odds are, if you try hard enough, you can rearrange things to put a higher priority on quality time together. Even if all you can do is promise to leave work on time one day per week so you can have dinner together, it's a start. You need time together if you want to fall in love. That seems like common sense, like 1+1=2, but it's something that's easy to forget.
And sometimes you don't have to do anything. You'll just notice your partner and think "wow, I really love them," and the butterflies will come back. But when you need to, don't be afraid or shamed to do the work of being in love. It happens to the best of us.
Images: Pixabay (12)