Keeping the romance alive is easier than you think.
Nothing feels better than falling in love. In fact, new love can make you feel like you’re high on drugs – and for good reason. The brain produces the same chemicals when you’re in love as it does when you use cocaine or heroin. No wonder we chase after that feeling so desperately.
But just like any drug, after a while, that feeling of infatuation starts to wear off. Your shiny new relationship loses a little of its glow, and one or both of you may go from comfortable to apathetic. He starts to get restless, you start to get bored. The sex starts to get less frequent, and the fights more frequent. Maybe you even think about having an affair, or wonder if he’s having one.
Before things get that far, there’s one thing you need to know about men: they need to feel appreciated. If you’re not making him feel special, he’ll start to look for someone else who does. Of course, we all want to feel smart, useful, and desired, but men tend to crave that affirmation even more than women do. When they walk out on a relationship, it’s often because their partner made them feel bad about themselves.
That’s not to say that you should fall all over yourself to praise your partner and make him feel good about himself if he’s not actually deserving of it. Sometimes, you pick fights and make him feel like shit because he’s actually behaving in a shitty manner. If this is the case, get yourselves to counseling or just go ahead and end it. But if your partner really is the greatest, and you want to feel those butterflies again, try one of these ideas.
1. Talk about him.
Telling him how much you appreciate him in private is one thing. But praising him in public – bragging about him to your friends, in front of him – take it to another level. Even if it embarrasses him a little, it’ll make him feel great about himself – and about you.
2. Put it in the mail.
With texting and email, who still bothers to write letters by hand and send them at the actual post office? People who are really in love, that’s who. Getting a real live love letter from you is guaranteed to make his day.
3. Back off.
Those stereotypical man-cave jokes stem from true facts: guys need their space. When you back off a little and give it to him without him even having to ask – and possibly be made to feel guilty about it – he’ll love you even more.
4. Ask him what he thinks.
Men love to problem-solve. Often, we clash with them because we just want to vent about something, and not be offered a solution. So when you specifically go to him asking for advice, he’ll love it.
5. Make eye contact.
It sounds like a small thing, but slowing down and really looking your partner in the eye, rather than rushing around or getting distracted by your phone, makes a difference. Remember how you used to get lost in each other’s eyes in the early days? Take the time to get lost again.
6. Get cooking.
Yeah yeah, it’s a cliché that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. But real talk: men love it when you cook for them. Make him dinner, bake him cookies, or whip up a smoothie for breakfast – whatever he loves the most.
7. Surprise him.
Who says only women like getting flowers delivered to their office, or being showered with gifts? Men might not ask for this kind of thing, but trust me: they eat it up. So pick up something you think would make him smile, or have something delivered to him at his desk.
8. Get out of town.
Going on a vacation together lets you see each other outside of your routine, which always makes you appreciate your partner in a new way. Have you ever seen him in the mountains? White-water rafting? Lying on a beach? A change of scenery is a great way to reignite that spark.
9. Plan a date.
Too often, we expect men to take the lead on making plans. So get tickets to see a band he loves, or a movie he’s looking forward to. Make an effort to show him that you pay attention to what he likes, and go out of your way to plan a special night, or a whole weekend.
10. Listen to him.
Men don’t always open up easily. So when he does, put down your phone and give him your full attention. Really listening to someone is a rare gift these days, with our focus pulled in so many directions and our attention spans getting shorter and shorter.
11. Celebrate the little things.
Sure, you know when the anniversary of your first date is. But what about the anniversary of the time you walked out of movie because you both hated it so much, or the anniversary of when you met his friends for the first time, or when you discovered you both love anchovy pizza? Knowing you remember that stuff will show him how important he is to you.
12. Have a fight.
Because if you never fight, you can never have makeup sex. Fights – when they’re done right – help you know each other better. And makeup sex is (almost) always great sex.
13. Encourage him to go out with other people.
Not other women, necessarily, but with his friends. You like to go out with your girlfriends and have your own time, and he needs his hang time with buddies, too. So honor that, instead of getting pissy about it.
14. Go away.
Absence really does make the heart grow fonder. So fly out to see your family for a few days, and leave him behind. Or go on a business trip. You could even go traveling alone, just because. Why not? He’ll love you even more when you get back.
15. Take him on a walk down memory lane.
Have you already heard all each other’s stories, or are there some things he doesn’t know about you? Break out your high school yearbook and family photo albums, and share the stuff you wouldn’t show just anyone.
16. Show up for him.
Bring him soup when he’s sick. Sit in the front row when he plays a gig. Go with him for that scary test his cardiologist ordered. Be his number-one fan and the person he can count on in an emergency, and he’ll know how loved he is.
17. Laugh it off.
Next time you’re about to get huffy over something that isn’t, honestly, that big a deal, and you’re on the verge of a major argument, take a breath and just…let it go. Find a way to infuse some humor into the situation. Laugh about how you almost had that stupid fight again. You’ll both be relieved, and he’ll fall even deeper in love with you.
18. Spice up your sex life.
Things in the bedroom can get a little routine after a while. So surprise him with a new toy; it’ll be fun for both of you. (And hey – who says you have to stick to the bedroom?)
19. Go outside your comfort zone.
Have you solemnly sworn never to sing in front of anyone? Are you afraid of heights? Getting outside your comfort zone and trying new things isn’t just good for you, it’s good for your relationship. When he sees you up there singing karaoke, or taking a ride in a hot air balloon, it’ll be like you’re a whole new person – one he can fall in love with all over again.
Comment: What things have you done to keep your relationship from going stale?