[Photo courtesy of EBM Photography: thanks Emma!]
All relationships are fun in the beginning. There’s passion, drama and excitement.
You feel totally head over heels in love, on cloud 9 and the butterflies and sparks are flying and life is great. But after a while you get into your routines, you start to notice the bad habits and you get bogged down with work and other things and you stop spending so much time together. Sometimes things are sent to test and try you as a couple and some days it can feel like hard work. You’re used to each other and you pretty much know everything about each other so there’s nothing really new and exciting anymore to discover, right? Romance, fiery passion and love tend to fade more into companionship and comfort. Sometimes we get bored, frustrated, lose patience and the relationship seems dull. But love and romance will pop up now and then to remind you they are still there, buried under all the household chores, bills, work, and kids.
Anyone who thinks passionate love will last a lifetime is setting themselves up for disappointment but growing old with someone, learning and loving them for who they are, exactly as they are and sharing their life journey watching them blossom, grow, learn and develop is pretty amazing. Feeling safe and secure to be yourself around them and having an incredible connection that goes well beyond the physical and touches the soul–that to me is love. And that kind of love can last a lifetime. You can make memories to treasure, laugh and share intimate moments and build a life together but it takes respect, patience, faith, hope, forgiveness, a whole barrel of energy and learning to be selfless and not think of me, me, me all the time to keep it going. There are probably many more things you could add to making long term relationships work but those were the first ones that popped into my head.
Any long term relationship will go through phases, waves and have tough periods. Life isn’t all rosy and fun, it’s a whole spectrum of colours including all the shades of grey. When responsibilities knock on your door and you have to be a bit more, well grown up, often we lose touch with our inner young-spirited teenage-selves and forget how to be romantic, carefree and easy going. We can sometimes become lazy, let ourselves go and forget why we are with our partners or what attracted us to them in the first place. Sometimes we think, “ahh the ring is on the finger” or “we’ve been together forever so they’re not going anywhere” or “once the kids are grown and gone, we’ll have our time then.” We take each other for granted and think that we don’t have to try so much anymore. We don’t realize however, that one day they might wake up and say, “enough is enough, I’m leaving you” or maybe they don’t have a tomorrow. Nothing is forever, nothing lasts and if you don’t nurture your relationship, like a plant which is starved of light, water and oxygen, it will die. Time won’t wait for you to do all you need to do. You might wake up and realise it’s too late. We should always invest time and effort into our relationships. It’s not just something you do at the beginning to win your partner or pick up at the end once the kids are gone, but it’s a life-long continuous investment and commitment on a daily basis. I don’t want to go on about that too much today as I want to write a separate post on commitment but my point is, we need to take care of each other and show love more often. And it doesn’t have to be grand expensive gestures or just about sex.
So how do you spice things up and reignite the flames?
In no particular order I’ve put together 31 tips (because I am 31 and that just seemed logical!) that I think might help to inspire you to reconnect with your partners based on my experiences (10 year relationship, 3 year long distance relationship, many other shitty relationships 😉 ). Most of these are also good for long distance relationships too, just the physical stuff together might have to wait until you’re together in person. I hope it inspires you to get creative and invest some time, love and energy into your relationship. If you have any other tips feel free to share them in the comments below. I wish you much love and a lot of fun with trying some of these out!
31 tips for spicing up your long term relationship
Boudoir photo shoot or nude shoot
Buy some sexy lingerie, put on some make-up, get your hair done, either do it alone or as a couple and get some sexy photos taken by professionals. Guys you can do this too! You don’t have to be a pin up model to do it, be courageous and know your partner loves you and your body so take the plunge and do it. It’s liberating, a huge ego boost for yourself and your partner will love them! They’ll have their very own pinup! 😉 And you can’t beat the professional lighting and skills. It beats selfies any day! You can email digital files or send prints by post if you’re doing long distance. You are beautiful as you are including the cellulite, wobbly bits, scars, acne and everything else 😉 Those are just hieroglyphics / tattoos representing the stories and adventures in your life! Own them and love them! You are a beautiful masterpiece who is unique!
Write a letter and post it
Sometimes words appear more powerful on paper than spoken or in electronic format. It also shows you took the time to sit and put ink to paper and collect your thoughts because there isn’t a delete key. They can see your handwriting, it’s more personal and if you want to be really fancy, spray the paper with perfume and let it dry first before writing on it. Don’t underestimate the power of the senses! Smell is a really important sense and it is often said we are first attracted not by sight to someone but by their smell. 😉 It’s old fashioned but so romantic and everyone loves getting post!
Send surprise gifts
This doesn’t have to be expensive and you shouldn’t just do gifts on birthdays and at Christmas. Think care packages–they’re not just for the military! Anyone can have one! You can order flowers or chocolates and those always go down well but think outside the box as well. Make something out of paper and leave it on their desk at work or send it by post. Buy a cute postcard that will make them laugh. Grab their favourite snack or sweet treat and leave it in a secret place at home for them with clues or a text message telling them where the surprise for them lies. Think of things they like and send or give them those things. Pick some wild flowers. Send them an old photo that makes them laugh. Give them a keepsake from a date you once had together (ahh memory lane 🙂 ). It doesn’t have to cost much. Sometimes the best gifts are the most random, funniest or even freebies or things we make ourselves. If you have cash to splash then go ahead and pamper them but I’m all for keeping costs low and being original and thrifty 😉
Plan a romantic evening together
This can be in a restaurant, their favourite fast food joint, in the garden at home with candles, soft music and wine. On a secluded beach somewhere or the place you love to hang out. You can do it via Skype if you’re not together in person. You can do something you both love or just chill out together. It doesn’t have to involve food either, but food is always good! Just clear your schedules and get together for quality alone time where you can talk and canoodle!
Sexy text messages: flirty and fun, light and full of innuendo. Who doesn’t love those? It creates the mood, gets your partner aroused and makes you feel great. You can be explicit as you’re comfortable with or be romantic. It’s your relationship so you know best how to flirt and be sexy. Send sexy pictures and make your partner feel special and desired. It’s a huge ego boost, will leave you both grinning like mischievous teenagers and you both get something out of it 😉
Leave sexy voice messages
With smart phones today and all the apps take advantage and leave a few sexy messages for your partner. They will hear your voice, tone and your breathing and that will make them smile and depending on what you say, might turn them on. You can tell them what you want to do to them later after work and go into detail or you can just wet their appetite 😉 It’s a great ego boost and reminds them they are sexy, desired and yours. Have fun and get creative!
Unplug yourself from your phone, iPads & laptops
Focus your time and energy on the person sat next to you or opposite you. Don’t ignore them when they are talking by staring into your screen catching up on the latest news or FB status. Those things will come and go and circulate again next month. New headlines happen daily. Let it go. Unplug and say no. It’s time for you and your partner and everyone else can wait. Set boundaries. Respect yourself but respect your partner & put them first. It’s just basic manners and social etiquette. Don’t spend every evening watching the same TV shows, get off the couch, get moving, get creative and do something else. Maybe try a board game or play cards together?
Go dating again
Schedule ‘date night’ once a week to spend time with your partner. Often we get caught up in work and weeks go by and we haven’t spent any quality time together. It doesn’t have to be the same night every week, mix it up a bit and stay flexible but pencil it in and make time for each other like you did in the beginning. Date night, 90% of the time, will end in sex 😉 it’s so important to show that you’re still interested in doing things together and spending time together. See a movie, walk in the park, visit a museum or gallery or do something you love. Just get out the house, spruce yourself up, throw on a cute dress, smart shirt and make the effort to impress. Imagine you haven’t got your partner yet and you’re trying to win them over! That’s how it should always be!
Do something you’ve never done before
This could be in or out of the bedroom. Do something new and exciting. It will give you something to get excited about, you’ll talk about it afterwards and you’ll learn something new (either about yourself or the activity). You might even conquer fears you had (maybe bungee jumping isn’t for everyone though :p ) and doing it with your partner will make it that much more special and create memories.
Go down memory lane
This can be a fun thing to do (so long as the relationship is going well otherwise it can be painful and you’ll look at the memory with sober, hardened & critical eyes so only do this if things are peachy 😉 ). Often we forget about places and things we did when we were first dating and while I don’t like to live in the past, sometimes going down memory lane is fun. Visit old hangouts or re-create your first date. Visit or do things that remind you of your early dating days. Some places may have changed but then again, so have you so keep an open mind, be positive and just enjoy spending time together.
Send messages or pictures to make them laugh
Laughter is always the best medicine and it’s definitely the way to my heart. If your partner is feeling down or having a stressful day sometimes a funny meme or picture, a joke or message to make them laugh is all they need to feel better and know they are loved.
Leave love notes on pillows, lunchboxes & in pockets
I love notes. I love handwriting. I love surprises. If your partner is like me this is always going to win you brownie points! Be creative, write quotes or little sexy messages and put them in places where your partner will find them. It’s kind of cliché and can be seen in so many romantic films (Top Gun—the airplane on the pillow the next morning? God, I love that! *sighs dreamily*) but it works and makes your partner smile and feel cherished. Of course, you don’t have to just leave notes, you can leave other little things on pillows, in lunchboxes and in pockets too 😉 be creative. E.g. candies, movie / game tickets, sexy lingerie, etc.
Now I’m not talking about mind games here, don’t play those. I mean get your inner-child head on and start having fun! Besides board games, cards and sports, you can add a grown up twist to games and make things sexy and entertaining. From things like guessing the colour of your underwear (if they get it right, they win a sexy prize 😉 ), solving riddles and rhymes with blatant innuendo, doing dares, creating a treasure hunt where they have to collect clues and eventually end up somewhere (like a hotel room for a sexy weekend away), hide and seek to bedroom games and role play, etc. The list is endless! Create your own games and have fun. We need to remember that life is about having fun and to let our inner child out to play sometimes 😉 It keeps things fresh and entertaining, spontaneous and unpredictable.
Send lyrics to songs they like or songs that make them feel great
Music affects our mood and can lift our spirits. Sometimes certain songs or lyrics resonate with us and we can connect to them. Sometimes it is difficult for us to express ourselves and we find it easier in song lyrics so send those, send the songs or choose songs that make your partner smile and feel great. It’s just the simple things in life but shows you care, that you take interest in what they like and are trying to communicate with them on another level through music. It’s romantic and makes someone feel special. It can boost their ego, give them drive and motivation and ultimately remind them of things or people they love.
Play 20 questions
This is a great way to get to know each other and maybe learn a few new things about one another. Over the years tastes and hobbies change so you might think you know your partner but this really checks that you’re still on the same page. You can be as random as you like or stick to a topic or category. Just take it in turns to ask each other 20 questions each. It might help give you things to talk about or make discussing awkward, embarrassing or taboo subjects a little easier and more fun.
Share your fantasies with each other
Everyone has fantasies, sometimes we complete them and sometimes we don’t do any of them because we are afraid. By now, in your long term relationship you should feel comfortable with each other, trust them and feel safe and secure to try out fantasies or discuss things you want to do both in and out of the bedroom so spend some time together talking about these things. You might be surprised at your partner’s answers and look at them in a new (positive, I hope) way. Everyone has quirky sides to them so let them feel safe to confide in you, don’t be quick to judge and don’t be afraid of trying new things.
Plan romantic getaways together
There is nothing quite like going away for a sexy weekend or even just to do sightseeing, shopping or socializing to break up the monotony of your routine. It will do you both some good, give you a change of scenery and you’ll have something to get excited about, talk about and memories to treasure.
Cook their favourite meal or food
Nothing says “I love you” like your favourite food and drink waiting for you when you get home from work! They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, I think women enjoy a good home cooked meal too and it makes a change not to slave over the stove for once! Surprise your partner and treat them with their favourite home comforts.
Give them a massage
The power of touch shouldn’t be underestimated – again focusing on the 5 senses is always good! 😉 It doesn’t have to necessarily be a sexy massage but just massaging your partner and having that close contact will make them feel special, loved and you will bond emotionally. Massage is relaxing for you both and private time together. It’s those intimate private moments that say “I love you”. Give your guys’ neck, back and shoulders massages and kiss them softly there. Ladies, make sure you exfoliate, shave and moisturize your legs and paint your nails and guys will love to massage your legs and feet especially after a hard day’s work. 😉 (Unless they are squeamish about feet) If in doubt, ask where they’d like to be massaged 🙂
Tell them you crave, desire and want them (not just I love you)
We all like to be loved, feel loved and give love. Our parents, kids and friends tell us they love us and we hear it from our partners too. But the difference between friends and partners is sex. Sex is an important part in a relationship and it’s important to feel needed, wanted and lusted after sexually. Ie. More than just friends. “I love you” can sometimes become overused and lose it’s powerful meaning but the words “crave, need, desire, lust and want” are more dramatic, selfish and passionate. Those are the words you probably used in your earlier dating days so start using them again. They make us feel sexy and dominant so get your sexy on and tell your partner you desire them! 😉 Even if it doesn’t end in sex, it will make them feel good and make them smile.
Take up a hobby together
Doing something new together will not only give you quality time together and something to talk about but it’s building trust, learning together and being successful together. It’s like team work and will bring you closer together.
Be honest, talk, listen, respect each other, let anger and arguments go and don’t hold grudges
Sometimes when things get tough we shut down, pull away and get angry or resentful. It makes it so much harder to come together for romantic quality time and getting in the mood for anything sexual seems awkward and difficult. Sometimes rekindling fires and sharing intimate moments are times where we actually just listen and talk and get things off our chests. That deeper level of conversation we often don’t find time to have can work wonders. Discuss things bugging you, reflect on where your relationship is going, talk about what you want or need from your partner, look for compromises and let go of topics once you’ve discussed them. You don’t want to sound like a broken record. Respect each other for being honest. Be objective, open and do not judge. Try to see things from the other person’s perspective and figure out how you feel about the things they are saying. It does a relationship good to have a serious heart to heart now and then.
Make quality time for each other, put in equal effort
I could put this with number 4. and number 8. but I feel I need to say it again because it isn’t quite the same thing. It’s important to have romantic time together, likewise it’s important to date (sometimes dating in public doesn’t always mean romantic time) but it is also important to make time for each other for when your partner needs you. It might not be straight away but if your partner wants help with something they should come pretty high up on your priority list. We spend a lot of time at work and often more hours with colleagues and customers than our own partners so it’s only fair you give your partner the time they deserve or as much time as you can give them. It makes them feel validated, loved and important. You should also be putting in equal effort so it’s not just one person always having to plan and book everything, rearranging their schedules and canceling their engagements. You should compromise and both be putting in equal effort or as much as possible. You should both be giving each other attention, both be sending sexy messages and both be doing all these points I’m listing here. Not just one of you. Relationships are about team work, sharing and both putting in time, energy and love.
Read aloud to your partner
Can be erotic fiction, can be a classic novel, a passage from the Bible, it can be a newspaper article, anything. Reading to your partner is intimate and teaches the other person to listen to your voice and words and it is something you are doing together. You are including the other person in your task and often stories where you can make up voices and be silly are just hilarious! Reading bedtime stories isn’t just for kids but it’s great for adults too. It’s why they sell audio books 😉
Take a bubble bath / shower together
Who doesn’t love canoodling in the bath? Go spend some romantic time together and have fun!
If you’re bossy step back and let him / her take control for once
Tell the other person what you’d like and then wait for them to take action. Don’t be in a rush to do all the organising, initiating and running around. Learn to let go and give your partner a say and let them do something for a change. Let them plan something, let them wine and dine you or surprise you or let them decide where the furniture should go! It’s only fair.
Make a bucket list together
Often we are so used to thinking about our own bucket lists and work careers that we forget about making plans with our partners. Yeah sure, you want to go on holidays together and get married, have kids, move house etc. but make a fun list that is quirky and tailor-made just for you two. It could be all the places you want to have sex together, all the restaurants you want to try, a walk in a different park every other Sunday etc. be creative, suggest things you both like or want to try and come up with a bucket list just for you to do as well as your own individual ones and then start working on them!
Hug more, touch more, smile more, body language matters
This one makes a big difference. Touch and body language are so important and over time the little touches, sexy glances, brushes across the lower back and holding hands fade and eventually we forget to do those things. But those are the small romantic gestures that create the intimate moments. Those are the things you do when you first started going out and couldn’t keep your hands off each other. Indulging in each other’s beauty and admiring and desiring them. A smile is contagious and welcoming your partner home with a smile when they finish work will make them smile and you’ll both feel happier. Sometimes a hug says what words cannot and sometimes a really long romantic embrace is all you need to remember that you belong to them. Make eye contact, stare into each other’s eyes like you used to and flirt with your body language not just words. It will put you in the mood and make you feel all young and teenage-like again.
Share the chores
As much as chores suck it’s not fair for just one person to do all the work. Take it in turns, swap chores, maybe surprise your partner and do their chores to give them a day off. Unless you decide one of you is going to do all the chores and be a stay-at-home mum/dad, generally you should put in equal effort and run the household together. Don’t let one person do all the work because no one wants to be a butler/maid in their own household serving the other. 🙁 Make it fun for example, first person to finish their chores in the fastest time gets treated to lunch out. I’m sure this would totally work for kids too ha-ha!
Love yourself and get your confidence back. Remind your partner why they fell in love with you in the first place
Over the years it is quite common to forget who you are. A few pounds gained here and there, a few more scars and a few heartaches later you might not recognise yourself. You take on different roles from raising kids to housewife/ househusband to counselor to chef to juggling full time employment and many more job descriptions, etc. and by the time the kids are grown and gone and all the roles have calmed down a bit you forget who you once were. Maybe you have changed and don’t know who you are now?Sometimes we become lazy, indulge too much in bad habits and just let ourselves go. Find out what you need, what you want, reflect and discover who you are and then make a new goal or plan for yourself. We all need things to aim for to keep us going but often in all the crazy hectic of life we lose sight of our ambitions and get lost. Take time out and get yourself back on track. Join a gym, get healthy and fit, take up a new hobby or try a new hairstyle or look. Take time and make the effort like you used to in your younger days. Remind your partner just how amazing and gorgeous you are.
Give each other space when they need it and learn not to take everything so personally
This can be from a few hours out with the girls or guys to a short weekend away by yourself. Absence makes the heart grow fonder as they say. Boys/girls night is important but so is quality time together so find the balance that works for you. Alone time is also good to reflect and assess things and to just miss your partner. If you are constantly around each other you’ll get annoyed at little things they do and say and there are going to be pet peeves. There won’t be any time to actually miss them if they are under your feet all the time. Often when our partners are having a bad day they will either tell you about it (great, I get all the moaning negative crap) or they will bottle it up and storm around the place in a mood (great, I get a grizzly bear). They might bark or snap at you but it isn’t always your fault. You don’t know what is in their head or what put them in that bad mood. Don’t press them straight away. Give them space to cool off and then approach with caution and ask to talk about it. Only once they are calm can you say that you don’t appreciate them for biting your head off for something you didn’t do. The trouble with being so close to someone is that often we feel safe to show our true colours and tell them everything which can come across as negative. Just remember it might just be something bothering them, not necessarily to do with you but they need to own it, confront it and find a solution. Don’t take it personally though, try to help them and learn to let it go.