When you first start dating someone, you spend a lot of time getting to know them. You go on dates where you both talk for hours, closing down the restaurant. You think of fun and exciting things to do together, building a strong relationship foundation. You ask your partner questions about his or her life to get a better understanding of the person you’re falling for. You ask about his or her past, wanting to know every little detail. You question his or her future, hoping you could see yourself in it. Throughout all of this, your love for one another is growing, but something else is happening as well. You two are bonding. This is why, most often, the beginning of a relationship is so lovely because your bonding game is on point.
As romantic relationships exit out of the honeymoon phase and into the realistic, "sitting around in your sweatpants and binge watching Netflix shows together" phase, you forget something. You forget to bond. Don't get me wrong, watching TV together is my idea of a good time with my man, but it’s also important to truly bond and engage with your love. Sometimes, we get too caught up in the world and can zone out that we forget who is right in front of us.
So if you’re feeling a little too connected to your cell phone, television, etc., and less connected to your mate, how about you do some of these bonding activities.
1. Try something new
Bring some newness into your life and relationship. Try something new together. Whether it’s a new sex position or a type of food you’ve both never tried before— test it out. Doing something new and exciting can bring some much needed newness and excitement into your relationship. So, do you and do new.
2. Consider couples therapy
Don’t get scared off by the word “therapy.” Couples therapy can be the ultimate of bonding experiences. This would be good for the couple that has become extra distant and can’t figure out why. Or maybe you both have unresolved issues that would be helpful to work through. I know therapy doesn’t sound like an ice-cream sundae, but it sure is sweet when you see the end result.
3. Travel somewhere
There’s nothing like a trip to Maui to bond you to together. They say when you travel with someone, you really get to know them. Maybe it’s being confined to a small hotel room with the same person for a couple of days, or it’s experiencing new places together. Whatever it is, you will sure as hell get closer.
4. Plan a date night
If your date nights have turned into Lean Cuisines on the sofa, then it might be time to have a date night makeover. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good TV dinner. But you need to incorporate some date nights where you two are actually talking to one another and engaging. Do date night right and take turns planning something special.
5. Teach each other something
One way to bond is to teach your partner something new. No, I’m not talking about that overplayed teacher/school girl fantasy. I’m talking about teaching your partner something that he or she would find interesting. This could be you teaching your boyfriend or girlfriend Spanish. Muy bueno. Or you could teach your significant other how to play an instrument. Learning from one another actually teaches you both a new skill—how to bond.
6. Get intimate
The holy grail of bonding is being intimate with each other. If you are feeling disconnected and distant, it’s likely to show up in your sex life. Build a stronger connection again by becoming more intimate. Try out new positions, new places and just start touching each other again.
7. Play some games
Playing around is one way to reconnect, especially if you’re playing for the same team. For someone who’s competitive like me, I would suggest you and your mate play on a team against another couple. However, if you’re a little more chill, then playing opposite your partner can be a great way to connect, laugh and enjoy each other’s company.
8. Relive memories
It’s not always good to live in the past. However, sometimes it can help connect you and your partner again. Talking about happy memories from the past can be a great way to bond. And, you can even take it one step further by reliving old memories. Take your lover on that date you planned for his birthday three years ago. Or surprise your girlfriend by reenacting your very first date. It’s not always good to leave the past in the past.
Image: Franca Gimenez/Flickr; Getty Images (3)