5 Ways to Keep Your Relationship’s Flame Burning Bright- Understanding what’s going on and what to do about it

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5 Ways to Keep Your Relationship’s Flame Burning Bright- Understanding what’s going on and what to do about it

This blog is by Christina Spaccavento, Sex Therapist, Relationship Specialist and counsellor. Enjoy this blog!

Scenario: You’ve been together with your partner for a while now and you’re both feeling that things have become a little flat. You’re the same person and haven’t changed that much, but you are both acutely aware that the relationship has. You love your partner deeply, but you don’t notice that spark within you when they call, you find your relationship has become routine and things are even starting to feel a little strained.

The reality is that many couples experience the scenario described above but don’t know what to do about it. With a better knowledge of the different phases of your relationship and how to navigate them you’ll be able move through the ebbs and flows of life together with your partner while always maintaining a strong loving connection.

So let’s start with an explanation of how you can go from feeling so in intensely in love to feeling like you’re losing interest.  Originally coined by Dr. Dorothy Tennov, the cycle of limerence has been used by researchers and therapists to explain the initial wave of relationship euphoria followed by the ensuing dissatisfaction experienced by many couples. In essence, limerence attempts to describe the enigmatic state of being in love. When we are in the state of limerence, we may experience feelings of joy, happiness and an emotional high. In fact, research has shown that adrenalin, dopamine and serotonin are all involved in the falling in love process.  We have a heightened focus on and longing for our partner.  At times, this can be obsessive and even include intrusive thoughts and fantasies about our lover. There is a longing for reciprocation of these feelings and we might even feel physical symptoms like a pain in the chest, or butterflies in our tummy. And at the height of limerence, we are somehow completely unconcerned with any defects in our significant other; rather, we can only see the positive. This is why its called “falling in love.” This intensity can last from two months to two years. But, it is when limerence is over that a couple’s ability to maintain a healthy and satisfied relationship is really tested.

So here are 5 tips on how to stoke your relationship’s fire so that it burns eternally bright.

Be intimate. And this doesn’t mean have sex. Intimacy is when you can be at that deepest level of connection with your partner. It is when you can reveal who you truly are by sharing personal information and experiences, your views on life and your emotions and feelings. It can also be expressed non-verbally through a soft touch, a knowing glance, an exchange of energy or a shared sexual experience. And while it’s not always comfortable to be at this deepest level with your partner, living intimately is the glue that keeps long-term committed relationships connected, interesting, fulfilling and satisfying.

Create the perfect love-making environment. Making an effort to create and recreate the ideal environment for sexual connection is a must. Consider some of the following and remember to talk to your partner about any changes before you make them.

Location: Where do you like to make-love? Can you shake it up a little?

Timing- Is there a preferred time for sex? Do you prefer the morning, afternoon or evening?

Privacy- Is there a lock on the bedroom door? Are there children or other family members around?

Sounds- Are there noisy distractions? Will other members of the household hear any sexual activity?

Smells- Are there any particular aromas that the you like such as scented candles, perfumes or  burning oils?

Lighting- Do you like soft lighting, a fully lit room or no light at all?

Clothing- Are there certain items of clothing that you or your partner likes to wear?

Erotic stimuli- Movies, toys, aids, lube

Activities- Are there activities that you both enjoy doing together? E.g. dancing classes

Talk, Talk, Talk. Being able to talk to your partner about anything that is going on for you is a super important skill when in a long-term relationship. And when it comes to sex, research has shown that there is a positive relationship between increased frequency and quality of couple’s talk about sex and their level of sexual satisfaction. We’re all unique individuals and have our own communication style and idiosyncrasies, so it’s essential to learn about how your partner communicates both verbally and non-verbally so you connect with them in they ways they understand.

Work through any difficulties or issues in the relationship. This means that if there is something that’s bothering you about your partner that you let them know in a soft, loving and regulated way. A great place to start is by sharing your feelings using “I feel…” statements. And if things are getting a little out of control seek the help of an experienced qualified therapist to guide and support you.

Have fun.  We can all get bogged down in the routine of life. Having fun, being playful and having a light-hearted approach with our partner not only contribute to the health of our relationship but also to our own personal happiness. Brainstorm 10 fun and enjoyable activities with your partner and block them into your calendar so you don’t forget to do them!

 

By Christina Spaccavento Sex Therapist, Relationship Specialist, Counsellor

www.sstherapy.com.au

 

 

By Christina Spaccavento Sex Therapist, Relationship Specialist, Counsellor

www.sstherapy.com.au

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