Five Ways to Stay in Love

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You love your partner—that’s a given. But are you still “in love?” Be honest. You know the difference. You know what I mean. Do you still feel the magic? The awe and wonder? The thrill of being with your special someone, that tingling sensation when you lock eyes, brush arms, or hear that sweet voice—even on the phone?

Or has your life together become humdrum—happy, content, but missing the spark, the fire you felt on those hot and heavy first dates, the flame that set your heart aflutter? Like I said, you love this person, and you’re not leaving. But you’re wondering how that thing you thought could never happen to the two of you did happen, that thing that only happens to other couples. You’re wondering how you woke up one day and your relationship became … ordinary—drained of its romantic energy, practical but not passionate, satisfactory but not satisfying, warm but not … hot.

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All sorts of things have been written about how infatuation wears off and you’re left living with or married to a real, flawed person you thought was perfect when your relationship was new. And yes, that happens. And all sorts of things have been suggested for restoring romance to your routine … Date nights … Love notes … Sex toys … Hotel rooms … Scented candles.

But most of the tips and tricks on these lists merely create opportunities or ripen the mood for physical intimacy, as if having more sex is all it takes to reclaim your emotional connection. Sex is great, but it can’t draw the feeling forth. It can’t make it happen if … well, if it just isn’t happening. So what can you do? Here’s what—a list of new things to try to get your old groove back.

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1. Play truth or dare. Be gentle and kind, but push the envelope and ask the questions you’ve always wanted answered. Make the dares fun and sexy, never embarrassing, demeaning, or punitive. Be willing to surprise each other—with both your honesty and your humility. The only hard and fast rule of the game is first, do no harm. Other than that, it’s open season. You will learn things about each other that you didn’t know and free up areas of conversation that were closed before. The game will break down walls and open up new pathways for communication and connection. Go ahead, I dare you.

2. Sit face to face on the floor a few inches away from each other with your eyes closed for 15 minutes. No talking. No touching. Just feel each other’s presence. Listen to your partner’s breath. Imagine his or her thoughts. Imagine holding your partner and doing intimate things together. For the last minute of the exercise (you’ll want to use a timer), imagine your partner isn’t there. Pretend you’re alone and let yourself feel the absence, the isolation. When the minute is up, open your eyes, gaze at your partner, and hug. You will connect heart-to-heart in a way that reminds each of you why you chose to be with one another.

3. Share your earliest childhood memories. You may have already shared these with each other, but return for half an hour or so to this fertile emotional ground. Try to remember the smells and sounds, the feelings you experienced, to taste the flavor of those early, formative years. Doing this will bring out the child in you, unleash your playful spirit, and free you to feel more uninhibited with your partner, both emotionally and physically. If you have unpleasant memories of your past, sharing these has the potential create or strengthen the intimate bond you have with your partner and engage him or her more fully in your healing.

4. Write down the story of how you first met and compare notes. You don’t have to be great or even good writers to benefit from this exercise. Just sit down and tap out a few paragraphs, filling them with every detail you can remember. Each of you has probably told this story many times to family and friends, and you have your communal, approved version. When you write it this time, make it your own personal tale, and give yourself permission for it to differ in places from the one you tell together. Surprise your partner and maybe yourself with something you’d forgotten or held back. And relive the excitement. Returning to the creation story of your relationship will return you to the flood of feelings you felt and free you to relive those feelings. Let the wave overtake you. Imagine you’re right back there in that bar or restaurant, on that beach or in that conference room, or wherever it was you first set eyes on each other. Just go there … and be there again.

5. Watch a sunrise together. There is something magical, mystical, and entirely rejuvenating about watching the sun’s light break over the horizon. A new day. A new dawn. An overwhelming brightness and the sense of unlimited possibility. Turn your phones off or better yet, leave them in the car or at home. You’re not there to take photos or share them on Instagram. You’re there to be fully present with your partner as you witness the miracle of renewal. The moment the sun’s fiery dome rises, make a silent promise to each other. Repeat it to yourself, then release the promise towards the glowing ball of light and pledge to renew it with each and every new day. You will feel reconnected to your partner in a way that is tied to the rhythm of the universe.

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So if you’re looking to get back that lovin’ feeling, do yourself—and your partner—a favor and try some of these fire-starters. You’ve got nothing to lose, and they might just help you fall back in love.

Author: Thomas G. Fiffer, Executive Editor at The Good Men Project, is a graduate of Yale and holds an M.A. in creative writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He posts regularly on his blog, Tom Aplomb, and serves as Editor of Westport's HamletHub, a local online news and information service. He is also a featured storyteller with MouseMuse Productions and is working on his first novel.

This was originally posted by The Good Men Project.

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The Good Men Project

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