9 Surprising But Effective Ways To Keep The Spark Alive In Your Relationship
It's been said that being in love is like an addiction. When you're deliriously happy from all the intense feelings you get around your partner, you'll want to be around them as much as possible. But as many of know, being with someone who's just as excited to be around you makes these feelings that much sweeter. So, how can you grow in that love with your partner?
First, let's get really clear on what a "healthy addiction" looks like. Someone can be in total infatuation or be deeply in love with someone in a healthy way if they're still able to go to work, get their tasks done, or maintain an independent lifestyle. "If one were to develop a co-dependency to another, this would be a clear case of unhealthy addiction," Jenna Ponaman, CPC, ELI-MP tells Bustle.
It's also important to take note that trying to reignite the spark for each other is not about manipulating each other in any way. It's more about finding little hacks to deepen your bond and bring you closer together as a couple. When you're deeply in love, those butterflies can stick around long after the honeymoon period. So here are some effective ways to keep attraction alive in your relationship, according to experts.
1. Keep Finding Ways To Catch Your Partner's Eye
If you want to get that spark going again, making eye contact as much as possible can make that happen. "According to positive psychology researcher Barbara Fredrickson, making eye contact produces neural synchrony," Noelle Cordeaux, sexologist and co-founder of JRNI, tells Bustle. "This enables synchronized releases of oxytocin, which makes couples feel a fantastic burst and then feel even better about each other." Although it's super simple, it can have a lasting effect.
2. Share Good News
This is called capitalization, Cordeaux says. According to The Cut, it's the "most important relationship concept" you've probably never heard of. Basically capitalization happens when "loving feelings and affection are fortified anytime two or more people connect over a shared positive emotion." It's a process of sharing good news, like your successes, and receiving a positive response in return. "These positively curated micro-moments lead to deeper bonds and improved health," Cordeaux says. It's all about showing each other support and encouragement. When you're with someone who supports you and shares in your happiness, of course you're going to feel connected.
3. Stay Curious About Them
"People pay particular attention to those that return the favor," Ponaman says. Often times, individuals become unhappy in their relationships when they don't feel seen or heard. So give your partner the time to be heard, to vent, and to express themselves. Keep trying to learn new things about your partner every day. Asking your partner thoughtful questions can build emotional intimacy in ways you may never expect.
4. Sleep Naked
Sleeping naked with your partner can show them you want them, and are comfortable with them. According to Ponaman, couples that are open in this way are more engaged with one another, and sexual experiences tend to be more exciting and fulfilling. You don't have to do this every single night, but doing it once in a while if it's something you're both comfortable with can benefit your relationship.
If sleeping naked isn't your thing, no problem. It's all about finding ways to build and up the sexual tension between you and your partner. "The initial sexual rush of feelings is part of what causes us to become interested in a specific partner to begin with," Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "Find a way to recapture those emotions and stir them again." So don't be afraid to tease, flirt, and just be playful with each other. "Remind each other, without words, what it is you love about each other so damn much," Backe says.
5. Show Your Appreciation For Them
"Acknowledge the things they do each day that you’re grateful for," Ponaman says. We all know how easy it is to get on someone's case over all the things they do wrong. Although that may make you feel better in the moment, it will have a way of pushing your partner away. So in order to keep them close, make sure your partner knows what they're doing right. "It’s exciting to know when we're doing things that are pleasing to our partners, and we'll want to keep it up," she says. Keep the positivity up as much as you can.
6. One-Up Them In A Playful Way
If you and your partner have a mutual liking for something, like a sports team or an intimate love of Star Wars, surprise them with a little display of your knowledge. As Ponaman says, nothing hooks a person better than someone who actually enjoys the quirky things they’re into. "For example, my man and I are both powerlifting athletes. He is much more into it than I am, but I partake in enough to be considered an avid enthusiast," she says. "When we first started dating, I laid on him a 30-minute conversation on proper posture and execution of a barbell squat and the advantages of elevating the heels on plates to a person of my height. He went bananas." So use your knowledge of something you both like to your advantage.
7. Use The Power Of Scent
Your sense of smell is a powerful thing. According to studies, women are comforted by the smell of their partner's sweat on a biological level. It's also been found that certain smells can trigger vivid memories and emotions. So if you want your partner to feel that spark, find a signature scent that you and your partner like and wear it. How often? Alisha Powell, PhD, LCSW tells Bustle, once a week, is all you really need.
8. Be Spontaneous
Maintaining a long-term relationship isn't easy because human brains learn to turn-off repetitive stimulation, psychiatrist, Jared Heathman, MD, tells Bustle. "The brain accepts all incoming stimulation and determines the response so changing the stimulus helps to keep the brain interested," he says. If you're willing to be more spontaneous or try new activities together, that will prompt a greater response in the brain. "Dopamine is involved in the addiction pathway as the neurotransmitter that contributes to the sensation we recognize as pleasure," Dr. Heathman says. So keep your partner guessing and the butterflies fluttering by trying new things. Breaking out of routine every now and then can prevent your relationship from getting into a rut.
9. Get Familiar With Their Love Language
If you're not familiar with Dr. Gary Chapman's “Five Love Languages," definitely get familiar. "Love languages help you discover your partner’s top two ways they need to be loved so you can carry out little tasks and activities that completely fill them up," Coach Andi LaBrune, Relationship Expert and Mentor, tells Bustle. Sometimes one person will try to shower their partner with gifts in order to show their love. But the other partner might not be as receptive to them because they just like spending time together as a couple. That's why knowing how your partner likes to receive love is important to keeping things fresh. If you know what they like, you can tailor the ways you show them love in a way that they can actually feel it. "In doing so, they will feel closer, understood, and will definitely come back for more time and time again," she says.
Keeping the spark alive isn't so much about tricks, but finding little ways to keep your connection strong. When your connection is deep and the love between you is strong, you know you're in a good relationship.