You and your significant other moved in together, but things don’t seem as exciting as they used to be. Since you’re now with each other all the time, wooing each other may not be as high a priority. After all, now your partner accepts you day in and day out, sweats and all. Sound familiar? But, there’s good news — there are many ways to keep romance alive when living together. Of course, it’ll require some effort on both your parts, but it’ll be well worth it versus thinking your relationship no longer has a spark. It likely still does — it’s just been hiding.
“It’s important to maintain the health of the relationship and not become complacent, too comfortable, or too set in our routines once we live together,” Ravid Yosef, dating and relationship coach at LoveLifeTBD.com, tells Bustle. “While the fire won’t always burn as strong as it did in the beginning of your relationship, it doesn’t have to dim either. That’s when you lose interest in one another and seek outside stimulation.”
Nobody wants that, right? After all, you paired up with your partner for a reason, and moving in together is a huge commitment. I know first-hand! Here are 12 ways to keep the love, romance, and excitement alive in your relationship.
1. Communicate During The Day (Or From The Next Room)
“Flirt during the day while you’re at work to build up anticipation,” says Yosef. “Keep doing the things that made you fall in love with each other in the first place.” My boyfriend and I definitely do this. He and I both have busy jobs, but we still make time to communicate in the day, primarily via Facebook Messenger or the Couple app — sending off quick Bitmojis (if you don’t use them already, you’ll get addicted) or short voice messages (a minute apiece on Facebook, longer on Couple). Couple’s great because it’s just between you and your significant other. Aside from voice messages, you can draw each other messages, send pictures, share a calendar and to-do lists (it’s always fun to add sweet messages to the grocery list, for example), and so on.
“It’s essential to continue making an effort because it’s easy to get stuck in the rut of the daily routine,” Erika Martinez, Psy.D., a Miami-based licensed psychologist, tells Bustle. “That has a tendency to make people feel like they’ve lost the emotional connection with each other that brought them together in the first place. When couples no longer feel connected, it leads to other issues snowballing — like infidelity, resentment, miscommunication about kids, finances, etc.”
There are also many couple apps where you can sext — without being scared of hackers.
2. Leave Each “I Love You” Reminders
Leave each other “I love you!” reminders. You can leave each other notes, and in surprise locations like your partner’s wallet, by the bathroom sink, or on their car windshield or inside the car, make your partner’s favorite meal for dinner, and still bring home flowers — no occasion needed. The possibilities are endless.
3. Surprise Each Other
“I feel that the best way to keep the spark alive is making an effort to keep a little spontaneity happening, which can show up in different ways,” says Martinez. “A surprised romantic date at a fine restaurant, a quick weekend getaway to a place neither person has been to, a cooked meal or a crossed off to-do item for your SO when you know they're busy, random love notes or texts, or even a surprise photo session of the two of you (boudoir photo shoots are very sexy!) — basically, anything that keeps you trying and doing new things together, just as you did in the early stages of dating. It's not so much what you do, but that you're considerate and appreciative of each other and make time to be together.” I couldn’t agree more.
4. Go Out Together
Yep, in this day and age, it’s so easy to stay in and turn on the TV. This is OK sometimes, but if you’re guilty of doing this more than anything else — it’s easy, after all! — and you and your partner actually used to leave the house and do things, then turn off the TV and get back out there. “It takes work to keep the romance alive and the couple has to make a conscious decision to put this work in,” says Yosef. “Schedule regular date nights that do not include your couch or PJs.”
5. Dress Up
Similar to what Yosef says above, dress up sometimes (even if you’re staying in). Yes, yoga pants are the comfiest things ever, and you may love living in your favorite worn-out tee-shirt, but think back to when you first started dating. You took time to dress up and make an effort for your partner, and it’s nice to do so again sometimes. Believe me, I’m in the jeans-and-tee-shirts-24/7-please camp, but even I agree that some variety’s great!
6. Compliment Each Other
Remember back when texts and emails and voicemails from your partner made you swoon? Well, who said they have to stop? Who doesn’t like a “You look amazing” message?! Plus, it affirms that you’re still attracted to your partner.
7. Say How Much You Care
A few months ago, I visited a couple I know for a long weekend, and I didn’t hear them say “I love you” once. It was sad, to say the least, and the amount of arguing they did was, too. My boyfriend says “I love you” to me all day long, in all forms of communication. We also show it to each other by doing nice things for each other, just because.
8. Get On The Road
Road trip, anyone? What? You don’t have time or money, you say. You do! You can drive an hour or two (or hop on the train) and even take a day trip if you can’t stay overnight. But trips — little or big — help us recharge, as well as reconnect with our partners without our everyday distractions around.
9. Get In The Bedroom
Don’t forget about sex. How many couples do you know who complain about how sex is the first thing to go, once routines and exhaustion get in the way? We make time for what’s important, right? So… get busy! And don’t limit yourself to the bedroom. In the “surprises and spontaneity” section above, that can relate to sex, too. Get creative.
10. Hide Your Phones
Perhaps you think this is impossible — to live without your phone?! If you can’t leave it in the other room, at least turn off your notifications and just check it every half-hour or so. Believe it or not, people’s relationships had to rely on face-to-face communication for decades now, so not relying on your phone(s) will help reignite your relationship, i.e., you’ll talk — really talk — again, just like you did on your initial dates (probably sans phones being out).
11. Maintain Your Own Life
You may hear this all the time — don’t make someone your entire life; after all, you still need to maintain your individuality and interests, as well. “Keep your own hobbies and interests and don’t be home all the time,” Karenna Alexander, a NYC matchmaker and dating coach, tells Bustle. “Your [partner] needs to appreciate you and miss you for that spark to stay alive. That spark is so important when living together because if it dies a fast death, a partner will have no incentive to propose. And you can’t blame them. Everyone wants romance and excitement in their life.”
12. Create A Relationship Gratitude Book (Or Jar)
Making a gratitude book (or jar) will remind you of why you’re with your partner in the first place. (And no one has to know you do it except for the two of you!) My boyfriend and I do this nightly, writing down 5-10 things we appreciate about each other in a shared notebook. Then, we read them to each other before we go to bed. (Sidenote: You’ll have more positive dreams, too.)
I told a friend about this, but she and her boyfriend choose to write in their own notebooks and keep their thoughts to themselves, which is fine, too. You can also write down your “why I love and appreciate this person” thoughts on little slips of paper and put them into a jar, then read them together months later.