Do you feel the “spark” has died down in your relationship?
Do you still kiss as much? Has sexual intimacy started to decline? Are you still as passionate about your partner as when you first met? Although there might be many reasons why the flame is decreasing, a common cause may be that you have stopped putting in the work necessary to keep the flame alive.
Just because the flames have died down, it doesn’t mean the fire is out.
Many relationships go through a phase where the “spark” fizzles out, and the romance, fun, and infatuation with your partners start to subside. The initial “honeymoon” phase feelings are no longer there, and you start wondering what happened to that passion.
As with most relationships, the beginning phase is always fun, full of excitement, passion, and romance. However, as time passes, that initial phase starts wearing off, and comfort starts settling in. It can be easy to take your partner for granted when you get comfortable in your relationship. There’s nothing wrong with getting comfortable; it’s one of the best parts of being in a long-term relationship: the “in love” feeling matures into more “love and caring” emotion, but this comfort mustn’t cause you to overlook your partner or to give up on the possibility of a bit of excitement.
Making excuses not to have date nights, sex, or time alone to communicate with each other becomes the norm of the relationship. You slowly drift apart and start resenting one another for the slightest mistake, action, or inaction that your partner makes. You notice their imperfections and lose sight of the initial reasons why you fell in love with them.
Here are a few other reasons why the flame has started dying down:
- You stopped communicating and sharing your whole self.
Over time, as couples begin to feel secure with each other, they no longer invest the time and effort necessary to communicate as they used to at the beginning of the relationship. You wanted to know everything about them in the beginning, so you made an active effort to engage in conversations. Later in the relationship, you may not be as attentive, which can come across as dismissive to your partner. Try being present and mindful when conversing.
Real intimacy involves ongoing honest communication about things, good and bad, which is essential for maintaining a healthy relationship.
- You stopped prioritizing sex and time alone together.
Physical intimacy is a very important part of any romantic relationship. If you find yourself in a bit of a dip due to stress or lack of time, it can be worth pursuing intimacy through scheduling time together. As unromantic as that might sound, it can be fun to have something penciled in that you can look forward to. Make the necessary time for your partner, this will reassure them that they are a priority to you.
Spend quality time alone without friends, family, or children to keep the flame burning. Spend one-on-one time with your partner, by going on date nights, lunches, or events together.
- You don’t have enough time apart and you stopped growing
Often times we believe that for a relationship to work, we need to be compatible in every area of our lives. However, relationships work just as well when both can do things apart, as well as together. Therefore it is perfectly fine to not share the same hobbies.
A healthy relationship requires each person to find ways to make themselves happy by not depending on the other person to do it for them.
Personal growth is also important throughout the relationship. You can’t stay the same from day to day. You need to grow and learn as an individual, but also you need to learn and grow together, as a couple.
If you are not certain on how to start growing closer to your partner, the following are few suggestions that you can try as a couple to rekindle the flame:
- Find out their love language and ask for something new every week
We all love and give love in different ways, and you need to find out what your partner’s love language is. What makes them feel loved. Both partners must ask for one thing each week that the other one must do. For instance—giving gifts, words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, and/or physical touch. Doing this diligently will turn into a habit.
- Put your phone down and make eye contact
Make a conscious effort to spend less time on your phone when you are together. Make a rule of no cell phones at the dinner table, just before bedtime, on date nights, or when having a conversation. When you are talking, make eye contact with your partner as it produces neural synchrony and releases oxytocin. It will also show them that you are actively listening and care about what they have to say. At an event, try and lock eyes in a crowded room as you did at the beginning of your relationship.
- Try something new together
Break out of your normal habits or activities and try something new together like cooking classes, paint nights, mountain biking, or any activity that both partners will enjoy.
Keep it fun and exciting. Seeing your partner in a new environment will teach you new things about them, and you might fall in love with them again. Research has shown that activities filled with adrenaline will release oxytocin that brings couples closer together.
- Try to impress each other and put some effort into your appearance
During the dating phase of your relationship, you went all out to impress each other. You wore heels, put on make-up, splashed some cologne, wore a nice shirt, and brought her flowers. Although your partner has seen you at your worst and still loves you, make that effort to impress them again. If you see that they are making an effort, compliment them so they can feel appreciated.
- Make an effort with sex and intimacy
Discuss with your partner what you would like from the relationship when it comes to being intimate. Find a comfortable compromise when the sex is too much or not enough. If both partners are open to exploring, try something new in the bedroom.
Intimacy is not just about the act, but also all forms of physical touch. Extend your cuddle time, hug more often and place a hand on your partner when they are near.
- Schedule time for conversations
Can you remember when was the last time you had a real conversation with your partner? One that didn’t involve small talk just before bedtime. It’s normal that the real, emotional conversation dies down with time. Reasons might include you are either more focused on watching TV, playing with the kids, being on your phone, or working till late.
Schedule some time to check in on each other and have a deep, meaningful conversation about your feelings or any issues that are important to discuss. There are some techniques that can be used to assist with better communication. If you struggle with talking, perhaps write a letter to your partner conveying your feelings.
Regardless of what got you in this dip of your relationship accept what is happening and stop pretending that there isn’t a problem. Get clarity on what is going on before speaking to your partner. Ask yourself the following questions: Is the sex drive not there anymore? Do you get annoyed with your partner? Do you have doubts about your level of commitment or compatibility? Do you not trust them anymore? Do some soul searching of what is going on and then speak to your partner. Have an open and honest conversation without blame or judgement and be vulnerable to discuss your true feelings. Do not project your feelings onto your partner, but share your own experience and how you feel.
Listen carefully without interrupting or trying to justify your actions or inaction or trying to change their perspective about the situation. Their feelings are valid, and you need to create a safe space for them to be vulnerable and speak their mind.
The effort to maintain a special connection with your partner can lessen and the fire you felt at the beginning can slowly fizzle out. But as long as both partners are motivated and willing to make an effort, it is possible to reintroduce that excitement back in your relationship.
Focus on the positive aspects of your partner and why you fell in love with them at the beginning. Have fun together and schedule time alone to do things that both enjoy. It will not be easy to rekindle the flame, but with time, patience, and work, you can connect with your partner again.
Should you need assistance with any relationship issues, please feel free to contact me.
Debbie Hartmann, Life, Relationship and Teen Coach @ My Kinda Life Coaching.