No matter how enamored you are, it's easy to get tired of your significant other when you've been dating for a while and spend tons of time together. Little habits start to annoy you, and you feel less in love. That's completely normal, because staying connected to your partner takes work. "People can certainly slide into autopilot in assorted domains of life, including in a relationship. They can take elements of life for granted," practicing psychologist and Harvard lecturer Holly Parker, PhD, author of If We're Together, Why Do I Feel So Alone?, tells Bustle. But you can stop yourselves from drifting apart, she adds. "The important thing is to make an effort to catch those moments and make a course correction. And it's possible for people to tune back into themselves and their partner and steer back in a more connected, engaged direction."
Sometimes, feeling disconnected is a sign that you no longer want to be in the relationship. This might be the case if you've lost respect for or trust in your partner, for example. But you shouldn't give up just because you feel a dip in interest. You can combat that with mindful and purposeful effort.
Here are some ways to remember why you love your partner when you start to forget.
1Pay Attention To What They Do Right
When your partner helps you debug your computer or makes your coffee along with theirs or goes to work a little late to spend more time with you, take a moment to appreciate that. Think about how they didn't have to do it, but they cared about you enough to go out of their way. "When people pick up on those moments, both mighty and minute, when their partner is kind, considerate, and attentive, it’s linked to heightened feelings of gratitude," says Parker. "And greater appreciation for our partner forecasts heightened happiness with him or her."
2Frame Your Relationship Goals In The Positive
Instead of trying to avoid all the issues you've run into or are scared of running into, imagine all the great possibilities for your relationship's future — and get excited about them. Rather than worrying about filling lulls in your conversations, for example, think about all the topics you haven't even talked about yet, and envision what it would feel like to discover you had more in common than you imagined. "When we pay attention to the heights where we want our relationship to go rather than the depths we fear it will sink to, it forecasts greater connectedness and contentment with our partner," says Parker.
You can be in the same room as someone but be totally unaware of them. Mindfulness exercises, like asking yourself what sensations you're feeling, what sights and sounds are around you, what your partner's doing, and how you feel can lead you to appreciate more about them, identify emotions that may be getting in the way of your relationship, and gain greater control over your behavior.
4Reflect On Their Good Qualities
Our partners' negative traits are easy to attend to, since they annoy us so much. But while those annoyances are worth addressing, it's important to also keep sight of the positive. "Our happiness with our partner is linked to how much we shine a spotlight on all that’s wonderful, admirable, and delightful in him or her," says Parker. "So instead of fixating on your partner’s forgetfulness, reflect on their witty sense that keeps you laughing. And take the less dazzling elements of your partner and try reframing them in a more charitable loving light, like turning your partner’s tendency to be gullible into an admirable willingness to be trusting."
5Go On A Double Date
"Open up a bit with another couple who seems to want to get to know you," Parker suggests. "Couples who share more about themselves with an attentive, receptive couple enjoy a boost in desire and adoration for each other."
6Cultivate A Friendship
It's often said that your partner should be your best friend, but that doesn't always just happen. Since couples who are good friends also have more passion, try to deepen your relationship the same way you'd deepen a friendship, Parker suggests. "Think about how you treat your dearest, closest friends, and behave toward your partner in the same way, showing him or her the same kindness, politeness, and playfulness."
7Go On An Unusual Date
"When couples take on an activity or hobby together that’s different yet within their abilities, they enjoy a spike of happiness in their relationship," says Parker. Even just an hour-and-a-half-long date can make a big difference, so check out TripAdvisor for something new and exciting nearby.
When it starts to feel like you've got nothing tying you together, what you always have is your past. Funny memories especially can revive your bond, says Parker. "Remember the funny times together. When couples bring to mind a hilarious, shared moment from their past, they’re rewarding with not only a good laugh, but heightened gratification in their relationship as well."
Don't worry if despite all these efforts, you can't work up enthusiasm for your relationship all the time. Humans just aren't designed to remain constantly excited about the same old thing. But the good thing is that with a few hacks, you can trick your brain into feeling like it's new again.