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 are many ways to be romantic even when you live 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 [at] 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.”
1. Communicate With Your Partner 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.” Even if you both have jobs, you can still make time to communicate in the day, via texting, voice notes, Instagram DM, or another app you love.
“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.”
2. Leave Each Other “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. You can also make your partner’s favorite meal for dinner or bring home flowers — no occasion needed. The possibilities are endless.
3. Surprise Each Other To Up The Romance
“[Make] an effort to keep a little spontaneity happening, which can show up in different ways,” says Martinez. “A surprise 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 significant other when you know they're busy, random love notes or texts, or even a surprise photo session of the two of you ... 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.”
4. Go Out Together
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 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 mentions, 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.
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. Get On The Road
Road trip, anyone? 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.
8. Get In The Bedroom
Don’t forget about intimacy. How many couples do you know who complain about how it’s 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. Get creative.
9. 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 will help reignite your relationship. You’ll talk — really talk — again, just like you did on your initial dates (probably sans phones being out).
10. Maintain Your Own Life To Be Romantic
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, an 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.”
11. 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!) Write down 5-10 things you appreciate about each other in a shared notebook. Then, read them to each other before you go to bed. You may even have more positive dreams, 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.
12. Stay Curious About Each Other
Even if you’ve been living with your partner for years, there will always be more you can discover about each other.
“Even relationships that are close, solid, and intimate can benefit from curiosity, which can reintroduce the passion of a new relationship,” psychotherapist Colette Brown tells Bustle. “Tapping into our inner storytellers can open us up to playfulness and better equip us to show each other compassion and generosity.”
Brown recommends using games that invite questions (like Esther Perel’s “Where Should We Begin- A Game of Stories” or the board game “Fog of Love”) to share with your partner. She also suggests setting aside some date nights to ask each other some of the “36 Questions That Lead to Love”.
13. Sleep Naked
If you’re both comfortable with it, sleeping naked with your partner can be a great way to connect further. “Sleeping skin to skin also helps facilitate feeling bonded to your partner,” Brown says. “Also, skin-to-skin contact causes the steady release of the hormone oxytocin which decreases our heart rate, reduces the stress hormone cortisol in our bloodstream, and increases our feelings of well being and trust.” Even opting for the occasional clothing-optional night with your partner can help to increase your intimacy and comfortability together.
Ravid Yosef, dating and relationship coach at LoveLifeTBD.com
Erika Martinez, Psy.D., a Miami-based licensed psychologist
Karenna Alexander, an NYC matchmaker and dating coach
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