My Relationship Was Going Downhill Fast… Until We Started Roleplaying

For a while, my partner and I were treading water, sexually speaking. We needed something to shake things up and make the relationship feel new again. Regular roleplay nights did exactly that for us and our relationship has never been better.

It all starts with a seductive text. Neither of us tells the other when it’s going to happen. To make this technique work, I’ve learned that it can’t be forced. We rarely plan our date nights ahead of schedule anyway, so this kind of spontaneity works for us. Whoever chooses to initiate has the job of sending that first suggestive text. We reset our minds into thinking we’re texting someone we’re just getting to know, adding in plenty of euphemisms, flirting and most importantly, pretending we haven’t lived together for the past five years. We respond in the ways you would with any new fling and often I invite him over to “my place” for dinner or sometimes just a late night booty call.

We put a lot of effort into our appearance. If we put the same amount of effort into our appearance every single day for every waking moment we’re together, it would be exhausting (and unnecessary). It’s important to be able to look your worst in front of your partner and know that he loves you regardless and vice versa. However, it becomes too easy to stop making an effort at all, and that was the rut we found ourselves in. For roleplay night, we make sure we look as hot as we possibly can. Just like I would for a third or fourth date with someone, I make sure everything is shaved, my makeup is impeccable and I look flawless. I keep my heels on in the house and constantly re-adjust my hair and makeup when he’s not looking, just as I would when I’m really trying to impress or seduce someone.

We show off the best parts of ourselves. We tell each other about our jobs and passions like it’s brand new information. We glamorize everything, intriguing each other to ask questions and complimenting one another to the point of blushing. We never talk about the mundane; the point here is to essentially sell ourselves. Here’s why you can’t stop thinking about what’s under my shirt. Here’s why you should keep talking to me and maybe you’ll see what’s underneath it.

It reminds us why we fell in love in the first place. When you’ve lived together for a certain amount of time, things change. It can be hard to remember what the initial attraction was when you’re too busy focusing on that throat clearing noise he always makes in the morning. On roleplay night, however, we become consumed with how it felt at the beginning of the relationship, and I remember why I used to get butterflies when a text came in with his name on it or how nervous I was when he invited me out somewhere.

We’ve never been more attracted to each other. I’m not sure exactly when it happens, but at some point in a long-term relationship, you stop undressing each other and start undressing yourself. This isn’t very sexy unless you’re putting on a show. It’s part of the reason I think new relationships are so exciting—you get to unwrap the goodies, so to speak, and there’s tension and a healthy dose of trepidation. On roleplay night, we undress each other, stopping midway to have a passionate kiss or a grope here and there.

It’s not real, but pretending brings back the excitement. We both know there’s only so much self-delusion to be had from this until you’re reminded this is all fake. Still, allowing ourselves time and space to play and become new people has definitely brought the spark back to our relationship.

Sometimes we adopt totally new personas. If we meet in public, we adopt new personalities. We change our names and careers and I wear something unexpected. I might even change my makeup and style my hair in a way that doesn’t suit who I am. For that one night, I’m not me. I’m Sabrina, the on-call doctor, or I’m Rachel, the grad student on placement. If I’m honest, sometimes this doesn’t work and we end up abandoning it. Neither of us are great actors and often we stumble when asked a question about our alter egos that we haven’t prepared for. Either way, we end up laughing like crazy, which always feels good.

It’s opened our eyes to how little effort we make regularly. I find myself doing things for him on roleplay night that normally I wouldn’t, not because I don’t want to but because in real life, I feel that he’s big enough and ugly enough to cook dinner himself if I’ve already eaten, for example. Obviously, I’d never do that in a new relationship. I’d be bending over backward to cook something for my new fling, showing off (limited) cooking knowledge in the hope that I’d get lucky. It’s definitely changed how I act around him when it’s not roleplay night, and it’s definitely for the better.

It’s our chance to let any resentment go. After five years, we’ve had more than our fair share of arguments. Some fights are over big things, others pale in comparison but still grind at us on the daily. This is our chance to start a fresh and it allows me to forget how he never cleans the sink after shaving or how he leaves everything at his feet. We leave all resentment and issues we have in our relationship at the door and simply allow ourselves to love and be loved in return. It’s a breath of fresh relationship air.

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