Three ways to keep the romance alive

By Sydney Loney

Here are some ways to benefit from both the fresh and the familiar in a
long-term relationship.

Glow Article

1. Never stop dating
One way to keep the excitement you felt while you were dating is simply not to stop. “Because of the everyday grind of life and the comfort that people begin to feel together, they often forget to put time and effort into romancing each other and doing all the things they used to do when they were first dating,” says Haley. This is often when couples begin to feel as though they’re losing all the romance and connection that they focused so hard on achieving at the beginning of their relationship, she says. The solution is to revisit some of the things that you enjoyed doing together in the heady days of first love – even if it means scheduling time for romance. “The reality is, if you try to rely on spontaneity, it won’t happen, but if you schedule it in, then it’s something that you’ve mutually agreed is a priority and both of you will look forward to it,” says Haley. “I get couples to remember what they did at the beginning of their relationship that really made them feel important and connected. From there, they come up with ways of connecting in their more- mature relationships.” It can be as simple as sharing Sunday brunch, going for a walk every night or taking 20 minutes to enjoy a glass of wine and have a conversation. “The more you do it, the more you’ll enjoy it and the more natural and spontaneous it will feel,” Dr. Tanja Haley, a registered psychologist in Calgary.

2. Stay connected
One of the pitfalls of settling into the routine of a long-term relationship is that you may begin to take your partner for granted. “Something that people forget to continue working on is making their partner feel desirable,” says Haley. “It’s really important to be open and honest about what you need in your relationship. A lot of times, the spark is related to how strong the friendship is and how connected two people feel.” Sharing your feelings with your partner is one way to stay connected, she says. And continuing to build mutual respect, fondness and admiration for your partner is one of the keys to a successful relationship.

3. Talk about sex
Sexual attraction plays a big role in the early stages of a relationship, but some couples find that their libidos begin to lag over the long term. “People have natural differences in sex drive and the need for physical intimacy, which can be easily managed and negotiated by a couple if they accept the differences rather than feel slighted or rejected by them,” says Toronto-based couples therapist Karen Hirscheimer. “Resentment can be the biggest threat to heat in a relationship.” Just talking about the situation is a huge step – and the more you trust and confide in your partner about your sexual relationship, the more you may find that new sparks start to fly. “As the courtship progresses, natural differences between a couple are likely to show up,” she says. “The key is to recognize and accept these differences so that they don’t add friction to your relationship.”