Keeping the spark alive in a relationship can be tricky, especially if you've been together a long time. One thing that falls to the wayside quickly is flirting. Early in a relationship, flirting often comes easily. Everything you do feels playful and mysterious as you're getting to know each other. But when you've moved past all of that, it can be difficult to get flirting back into your relationship. It can feel artificial or forced to suddenly start flirting again — especially if you haven't done it for a while.
"When we get to the comfortable, stable place of knowing we have 'secure' status with someone else, it's common to lose the playfulness that got you together in the first place," Amy Levine, sex coach and founder of Ignite Your Pleasure, tells Bustle. That's why it's so important to know how to flirt in a relationship.
"Flirting keeps the playfulness and banter alive," Levine says. "It keeps the energy flowing between two people so they are plugged in, making sex more 'electric' rather than feeling like a fuse blew and you're disconnected."
You don't have to make grand, cringe-worthy gestures to inject some flirting back into your relationship. Instead, you can start with the little things. Because, ultimately, flirting is all about your connection with your partner. Here are some easy ways to get your flirt back.
1Use Text And Email To Your Advantage
Flirting is about feeling close and connected. If you both are at work every day, you can use text and email to stay in touch. Try sending each other sweet messages — or saucy ones. "Sexting builds anticipation," Brooke Christian, founder of Flirty Girl, tells Bustle. "And anticipation is the magic sauce that can make sex go from ho-hum to holy-moly." So make sure to explore what your texts are capable of.
2Keep Your Date Nights
Date nights are important, and it's far too easy to let them go once you've been together for a while. "Schedule date nights if you're not making the time to be together," says Levine. "And on those date nights, do something new together to recreate the curious and mysterious chemistry like when you first met."
3Surprise Each Other
One way to bring back the flirty parts of your relationship is to re-introduce the element of surprise. Bring home an unexpected gift, take your partner on a surprise trip, take turns planning a date night the other doesn't know anything about. The mystery that forms around a surprise will help rebuild that spark, and it's also a great way to show you care.
4Make (Left) Eye Contact
The little things can make all of the difference. In this case, eye contact — especially with the left eye — can help you and your partner feel close. “The left eye connects to their emotional right brain,” Tim David, Author and Brain Science Magician tells Bustle. “A fascinating study even found that on a first date, this technique builds intimacy very quickly and very powerfully.” Who knew?
If you've been together a long time, try out this trick to reconnect.
Physical distance can easily feel like emotional distance, so an easy way to flirt is just to touch more. “Touching re-unites the emotional bond you share. It says: ‘I like the way you feel to me’ and ‘I’m at home when I'm with you,’” licensed marriage and family therapist, Cara Itule tells Bustle. It can be sexual, cuddly, or a little of both.
6Reminisce About The Early Days
Flirt by remembering a time when you were constantly flirting. My girlfriend and I sometimes teased each other about the early days of our relationships about silly things that we did or said. It's fun and romantic to remember that time period.
7Or Even Recreate Them
If you want some instant romance and flirtation, try recreating your first date or any early date you went on. Not only will it feel romantic, but the setting should create the perfect atmosphere for flirting.
8Do Something New Together
Try something totally new, especially something you might both be bad at. Whether it's ice skating, a drawing class, cooking a complicated meal, it'll give you a chance to laugh together as you fumble through it. "If you're a couple, it's easy to get trapped in the 'same-old-same-old' activities, but the years of happy long-term couples can especially put them at risk of, well, not taking any more risks," Dr. LeslieBethWish, psychotherapist, founder of lovevictory.com, and author of Smart Relationships. "And being open to taking risks to try new things is one of the key ingredients of keeping that spark alive." Tackling a new challenge together means more opportunities to be playful together.
One really easy way to flirt with your partner is just to be more in tune with them. "Couples try to get each other’s attention throughout the day, whether it’s for support, conversation, interest, play, affirmation, feeling connected or for affection,” relationship coach and therapist Anita Chlipala tells Bustle. “Each of these moments is an opportunity to connect with your partner. A person should look for someone who responds to them, or at least acknowledges them when they try to get their attention, because it shows that they are meeting your emotional needs — or at least trying to.” So when your partner is trying to get your attention, make sure you're really tuning in. Engage with them, be present, and flirtation will follow.
10Try Something New Sexually
Adding something new to your sex life or trying something new is a great way to create a flirty atmosphere. Talk about what you want to try, why you want to try it, and any fantasies you have — all of which is fertile flirting ground.
If a new position or a new toy isn't really your thing, you can always set a sex challenge for you and your partner to try. One to start with? "Have sex nightly for a month, no matter what," Dr. Cristina Bosch and Dr. John Robinson, The Sex Docs and owners of The Hormone Zone, tell Bustle. "Once you start having intercourse and simply bond with your partner sexually and intimately, then libido and desire will be enhanced."
11And Talk About Your Sex Lives More
Talking about sex is sexy. If you talk about things you like, fantasies you have, and even some of your favorite sex memories you have as a couple then it would almost be hard not to flirt. It's intimate, it's fun, and it can be silly — it's everything you need.
12Tell Them What You Love About Them — Every Day
Tell them why you love them. Tell them why they're great. Be honest and do it often.
Flirting can feel unnatural if you've been in a romantic rut, but it's really not that hard to make it happen again. Just focus on connecting with your partner — because that's really what it's all about.