If you've ever been in a relationship that, after some time, starts to feel a little too comfortable, you're not alone. The rush of falling in love, paired with the utter satisfaction of the honeymoon phase in a new relationship, can feel pretty freaking amazing. But as the initial intensity between you and your partner begins to simmer down and you start settling into your relationship, you may be wondering if you'll ever feel excited about your partner again like you did in the beginning.
Don't freak out: According to NYC-based relationship expert Susan Winter, it's normal to feel less excited about your partner as the relationship becomes more established because both individuals have "dropped the pretense of being what their partner wants them to be," adding this normally happens six to nine months into a relationship. "Continual exposure to the same person and same routine can make our experience of a relationship feel commonplace, which can lead to boredom," she says. Once this happens, it's easy to panic and worry about the relationship becoming stale forever. But one of the first things you can do to improve the situation is to shift your focus toward fostering a deeper connection with your partner, instead of trying to transform the relationship into an earlier version of itself.
Although it may be tempting to assume that with a few tweaks, you and your partner will be back to the razzle-dazzle of your first few months together, chasing the honeymoon phase can set you up for disappointment in the end. Instead, work on embracing the comfort of the relationship the way it is now, and on building upon that instead of trying to turn back the clock. Here are some ways to do just that.
Embrace The Challenge Of Keeping Things Fresh
As your relationship evolves, challenging yourself to find new ways to connect with your partner can actually be super fun. "Successful long-term relationships understand the need to keep things fresh and shake up the routine to heighten interest," says Winter. Therefore, the first step is to communicate with your partner about how you're feeling and what you want to do about it. Starting the conversation in a light and positive way can keep you both focused on how you can have even more fun together, instead of framing the situation as problematic. Consider waiting until you're doing something fun together to let them know you want to make time for activities on the reg. A simple, "We should make time to do things like this together more often," may suffice.
Once you've told your partner you'd like to create more opportunities to connect, it's important for you both to make it clear you're willing to put in the effort by taking initiative. "When the passion fades, roll up your sleeves and go to work," relationship and etiquette expert April Masini previously told Elite Daily. "It's important to show your partner that you're all in — especially if you're both not on the same page of passion."
Share New Experiences As A Couple
The deeper level of connection that can be achieved between you and your partner through taking the time to understand each other's respective needs for novelty, and how this can be satisfied within your relationship, can result in a ton of discovery and growth. "The goal is to discover a new side of yourself and bring that forward to your mate," says Winter.
Coming up with ideas for what you want your life to look like (both as an individual and in the relationship) can make connecting with your partner a matter of figuring out what you want to try next. "Make sure that you both have [bucket lists], and that you're facilitating your separate and mutual bucket list goals," said Masini. "Forgetting about them indicates a loss of hope — and working towards them bonds you and creates the basis for passion."
Have you always wanted to learn to cook? Are you eager to explore your city's parks? Think about activities you and your partner can do together. Once you have a list, it's time for you to put yourselves out there. "Take an art class, learn the tango, or study a discipline you’ve never considered before," recommends Winter. The adjustments you make don't have to be massive.
Surprise Each Other
Anything you can do to break your normal routine can infuse your relationship with positive vibes. Something as simple as planning surprise date nights for each other, or showing up with flowers unexpectedly, can also bring some giddy feelings to the surface again. If it's your turn to cook dinner, take the time to make their favorite dish or pick up that decadent dessert you know they can't get enough of. If you haven't been able to spend as much quality time together due to busy schedules, plan a weekend trip away so you can both focus on each other. Even a spontaneous romantic text in the middle of the day can go a long way. When it comes to surprising your partner, the possibilities are endless, and the opportunities to show them how well you know them are plentiful.
Being in a relationship isn't always fun and exciting, but it should come with enough positives and love that make the hard work worthwhile. Sometimes, just taking the time to really appreciate and acknowledge all the ways you and your partner make each other's lives better can re-ignite the feels. "Life has no guarantees, other than that it's filled with changes," Cherlyn Chong, a dating and breakup recovery coach for professional women, previously told Elite Daily. "Tell your partner how proud you are of them, how lucky you are to have each other, and how much you admire and cherish them. Flattery goes far.”
Even though the honeymoon phase seems to get all the hype when it comes to relationships, there are so many other fulfilling chapters to look forward to once you find your person. Instead of fretting and trying to turn back the clock, make a concerted effort to reinvigorate the awesome relationship you already have. You won't regret it.
Susan Winter, NYC-based relationship expert
April Masini, relationship and etiquette expert
Cherlyn Chong, a dating and breakup recovery coach for professional wome