Any long-term relationship goes through peaks and plateaus. The honeymoon period is long over, and falling into a comfortable routine, while reassuring, doesn’t do much to bring you closer together. Fear not — here’s a bumper list of 20 ways to deepen intimacy when you’ve been with someone a long time:
Schedule low-tech time. If it’s too hard to go cold turkey, start with scheduling 10 minutes a day without TV, phones or the Internet, and spend real, undisturbed low-tech time. Increase the 10 minutes gradually, and before you know it, you’ll be far more actively engaged with each other.
Do each other favous.Without reason, and without being asked for help, go out of your way to make your partner’s life easier. If something is bothering them, or they’re super stressed, find out practical ways you can help and without over-talking it, just do something to lighten the load.
Learn something new together.This is a great way to shake up your routine and see your partner in a new light.
Skip the small talk.Go out of your way to have meaningful conversations. If you’re struggling with this, consider whether you’re nurturing yourself independently.
Remember how to play.Make time for playing cards, boardgames, video games or kicking a ball around. Whatever it is, do it regularly and do it together.
Forget date night. Instead, scheduled a regular ‘experience’ night. Go beyond dinner and a movie, and instead experience new things together, like an exhibition, or a gala or a concert.
Make it hurt. The couple that bleeds together, stays together! Take on a challenge like running a marathon, volunteering physically or doing something that you dread a little bit. Pushing out of your comfort zones together is memorable and powerful.
Make plans for the future.You probably did this when you were just getting together, but have you spoken about it in a concrete way recently? Make sure you’re still talking about your hopes and dreams and check in on how you’re both progressing towards them.
Eat together. Sit down, switch off the TV, and share your meals regularly.
Be cute again.Fine, he doesn’t bring you flowers for no reason or spring foot rubs on you any more, but it’s easy to start up this kind of behavior again. Give each other little sweet, seemingly superfluous surprises and it’ll bring you closer together.
Sweat the small stuff.Care about the details and think about small conflicts if they’re happening regularly. Why? So what? Don’t let emotional disconnection fester and grow. It’s the ultimate intimacy destroyer.
Don’t flake on your friends. Maintain your social life, and socialize together in a group. The debriefs and conversations after social events will bring you closer together.
Offer help, even if it’s not asked for. It’s as simple as that.
Take up a new hobby together, or be more active in your partner’s hobbies. It’s possible you feigned interest, or even passion for each other’s hobbies when you were trying to put your best foot forward, but that can often change over time. You can grow closer by taking an active interest nonetheless, and trying to see what makes your partner love the things they do so much.
Plan a trip together and go on it.Even if it’s to a nearby city or park, making the arrangements and going out into the world together is a great refresher that will strengthen your bond and let you spend some real quality time together.
Speak up — share your thoughts and opinions.You may have developed a shorthand and have stopped talking about your work, your friends and your every day ideas. Take a week to go out of your way and talk about anything that pops into your head. You’ll see how much of your partner you’ve not been hearing.
Treat yourself individually, then report back to your partnerDating yourself and making space for what you love as an individual gives you more fuel and more content and more passion to share with your partner.
People watch together.Instead of watching TV, head to a cafe for an hour, sit in a window and people watch together. It’s playful, thoughtful and a different way to spend time together and reconnect.
Listen, with rapt attention.Learn how to be an active listener and it will pay infinite dividends in your love life.
Live for right this second.Practice being in the moment together.
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