Long-term loving relationships are beautiful things within this life. They’re something many of us strive and hope to find, and those of us who do, do our best to hold onto this little slice of magic. As wonderful as they are, things aren’t always perfect, and sometimes we can find our relationship getting a bit stale if we don’t give it the love and attention needed to keep the flame burning bright. It’s easy for routines to form, and the magic that once glowed to slip away bit by bit.
When you love someone so deeply but things have lost their sexy shine, we have to find ways to rediscover and reignite the spark. We spoke to relationship therapist Eboni Harris to get some of her expert insight and advice on how to reignite the spark in long-term relationships.
Connection is crucial
Connection is so crucial in relationships - feeling connected to your partner, but also feeling connected to yourself. It’s easy to get busy with life, to not focus on your relationship until things have all gone a bit wrong. Identifying the shifts and changes in our lives and our relationships can help us to move forward.
“Often in relationships, we lose our connection due to life happenings. To reconnect with your partner you have to start with understanding yourself.” - Eboni Harris
Feeling connected to your partner starts with being connected to yourself. As Eboni says, we can sometimes end up shifting the blame onto our partners, but it’s important to understand what’s going on and the part you have to play.
"When we don't feel like ourselves or if we feel we can’t be our most authentic self, it's really hard to be connected with someone else.” - Eboni Harris
Tip 1: Spend time learning about yourself. Find out about the things you enjoy, and what you may struggle with, emotionally, physically and sexually. This will help you speak for what you do and don’t enjoy, and enable you to communicate clearly to your partner who you are. It’s time for you both to get back to a space of enjoying yourselves with each other.
Work on yourself
Finding yourself doesn’t end when you’re in a long term relationship. You can still continue to work on yourself - self-improvement isn’t just for you, it’s for your relationship too. Remember when you were first dating, how you’d want to dress to impress, the ways you’d want to make this new person you liked feel special? You can still do that. Your partner still wants to feel special to you. We have some ideas for date nights on our blog, such as a romantic picnic, or surprising your partner with breakfast in bed.
“Taking time to focus on your happiness, connecting with yourself, and understanding more about who you are, what you like, and how you want to spend your time, will make it easier to communicate your needs to your partner.” - Eboni Harris
When you connect with yourself, work on yourself, you’re more ready to come into your relationship in a space willing to grow and connect.
Tip 2: Consider how you can work on yourself. Read, watch, learn and remain open!
Sex date nights
Sex date nights might sound a bit less-than-spontaneous, but they are wonderful for creating a space and time focussed on intimacy.
“I love to assign sex date nights for couples who are wanting to reignite the spark in their relationships. Sex date nights do not mean that once a week you have sex. If it happens, great! If not, that's OK as well.” - Eboni Harris
So what does a sex date night look like if it’s not definitely having sex? Eboni says it could be anything from online quizzes to learn more about sexual preferences, to answering discussion questions about what feels good, what you enjoy about sex, and what concerns you may have about initiating sex. This could also be an exercise that involves physical touch to learn about the pressures, textures, and sensations we enjoy and turns us on versus the ones that are ticklish or make us uncomfortable.
Tip 3: Schedule in a sex date night with your partner. Set a time and place, and go into it without any expectations of what will or won’t happen. It’s about a time for intimacy - not a time for pressured sexual interaction.
Don’t force it
Communicating with your partner about the things that make you feel good and the things that make you feel uncomfortable are so important. Remove all the shame you may find you place on yourself, the internal judgement that stops you from sharing your experiences and feelings. There is always room for improvement and growth, and it’s okay that things maybe haven’t been so good with your partner - it’s an opportunity for something exciting and new together.
"Investing in learning and growing your sexual relationship is just as important as regularly discussing finances or doing regular date nights to reconnect. You want to be intentional about making time to grow that part of the relationship." - Eboni Harris
So continue to give, communicate, show your love and you’ll see that spark reignited. Where there is love, there is a spark, and where there’s a spark there can certainly be a flame once more. It just needs some love, time, and attention.