One of the most common complaints I hear in my therapy room is from those who have been in long-term relationships. Couples lament over their affection as though it has gone forever. People often find that after many years of being in a long-term relationship, their intimacy is reduced. Most people crave intimacy in their relationships; whether that is emotional or physical intimacy, though feel unsure of how to rekindle that closeness. There are ways to bring the spark back into your relationship, and without a lot of effort either.
- Familiarity breeds boredom – do something different!
It’s true. People often feel bored or disinterested in their partner. If they haven’t had the time or resources to invest energy into the relationship, then this is common. Most people have spent a large portion of their lives raising children and paying the mortgage, so it’s natural that sexual interest will wane.
A simple gesture such as making eye contact or really noticing your partner again can elicit feelings of lust and desire. Too often we move through life not noticing the most important things around us, and that includes our partner.
Open your eyes once in a while and really take a look at this person who has stood by you for so long. Remember what they mean to you and enjoy the fact that you have achieved so much in your time together. Unfortunately, so many people take their partner for granted, and even worse, so many feel taken for granted. Show your gratitude for the years spent together.
- Believe in yourself – you are more passionate than you think
Sadly, some people over a certain age begin to believe the myth that older people shouldn’t feel sexual or sensual. While sex therapists are trying hard to dispel this myth, it is often difficult to confront such cultural notions. The problem is that older people themselves then tend to buy into the social assumption about ageing and sexuality, resulting in less interest in intimacy with their partner.
Challenge your ideas about your sexuality, and remind yourself that you are still a sexual and sensual person. Getting older doesn’t mean that sex becomes redundant. In fact, many older people say that they are having the best sex of their lives, so forget the myth and enjoy your sexuality. One of the luxuries of ageing is that there is more time to pursue the things you love. Make your intimate relationship one of those things and go on a journey of rediscovery together.
Try attending a workshop on rebuilding intimacy together. Or even just go somewhere that you haven’t been before. Experiencing new things together is proven to enhance a feeling of closeness and make partners feel revived in their relationship.
- Take a risk – show your vulnerable side
When relationships experience ruts around intimacy, it can be really hard to change them. It feels awkward or uncomfortable, because lack of affection has become the norm. For anyone, changing the status quo is challenging, but without it, nothing changes. If you want more tenderness from your partner, let them know.
Talking about your emotions can feel very vulnerable. Sharing your feelings of sadness or disappointment in your intimate relationship is scary and not many people want to feel so exposed. But it can be worth it. Your partner may have no idea that you feel that way, and you might be surprised at their response.
No-one wants to know their partner is hurt or unhappy, yet often they don’t even realise what they are going through. Couples who make the time and effort to reenergise their intimate relationship discover that its the best investment they have made.
I would love to hear your ideas about how you keep the spark alive in your relationship. Comment below and I will be sure to respond.