It’s that time of year when the clocks go back and the temperatures drop. If you’re in a relationship then thoughts might turn to indoor activities and snuggling up with your partner in front of a box set. Great if you’re at that early, loved-up stage. Not so great if you’ve gone past the honeymoon phase, and the hots you used to have for your partner have started to cool considerably.
Coming out of the honeymoon phase of a relationship can be difficult and disappointing. That initial ‘urge to merge’ – to look adoringly into each other’s eyes and to marvel at the many similarities between you – can gradually erode over time. You may start becoming annoyed with each other’s faults. The romance that initially felt ideal and fulfilled every part of you can start to feel rather mundane.
They say the honeymoon phase lasts between six months and a year. It is a testing time for partners when the magic seems to have worn off, and hearts no longer leap when their loved one walks in the room. This is often the time when relationships break up, and partners continue to seek someone else to make them feel excited again.
Yet, partners who love each other and stay together beyond this phase can often find more joy and excitement in each other. They just have to stay committed and open and accept that the initial heart-fluttering moment may have passed. Relationships can be about way more than that.
As couples counsellors working with partners whose relationships may be starting to cool, here are our tips for heating things back up:
Date like it’s the first time
Date nights are often recommended to stave off boredom in a relationship. The thrill of getting ready and feeling butterflies at what lies ahead can help a relationship feel alive. Let one of you pick a venue for a date and surprise the other. Get ready and arrive there separately. Engage with your partner as if seeing them again for the first time. You might be surprised at what you notice.
Do something by yourself that you love
Relationships can start to flounder when you just see too much of each other. When there isn’t the space for individual activities, partners can sometimes feel they’re losing out, and that the relationship has taken over too much of their lives. It’s absolutely fine to have an activity or hobby that’s just for you as an individual. If it’s something you love and are passionate about, all the better. Don’t give up what’s important to you and feel resentful about it. Doing what you love will make you more interested and interesting – and will give you more to talk about with your partner.
Do something new together
Plan a project. Go on a holiday. Take up a new sport, activity or hobby together. If your issues is that you find yourselves spending too much time apart, agree to do something with your partner. It can build new memories and strengthen your connection.
Liven up the bedroom
Have things in bed become repetitive? Do you fancy your partner less because it’s become routine rather than ravishing? Think about how you can spice things up – with a new position, a shared fantasy, in a different part of the house, or a different time of day. Yet you don’t have to swing from the chandeliers for sex to be good. Over time, that intimate connection may bring you even closer.
There is something so special about being heard and understood, especially by the person you love. Lives can get so busy. Stress can take over, and your partner can become a dumping ground for all the difficulties of your day. Yes, it’s important to allow each other to offload. But it’s also important to listen to what they’re really saying. Tune in, ask questions, show you care. Communication is often the main reason that brings couples into counselling. Just a few minutes a day of truly listening can help your relationship to survive and thrive.
If you feel you’d like outside help to guide you towards that loving feeling again, get in touch with one of our couples counsellors. You can reach us on 020 8673 4545 and email@example.com