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Relationships are beautiful and sometimes things come easy, but life gets busy, people grow and learn and change, and sometimes the plot twists seem to come out of nowhere, and that’s when you might need to know how to fall back in love with your partner again.
All relationships require maintenance, but in the everyday drama of life, this can sometimes be the last thing on our minds. It’s not necessarily that we fall out of love with each other, it’s often more that we’ve forgotten to invest in each other. We’ve forgotten that relationships aren’t “set it and forget it,” right?
Speaking from 10+ years of marriage, I can tell you that long-term relationships require effort! If you’re willing to put in the work, the very, very, meaningful work, you can fall back in love with your partner over and over again for the rest of your shared life.
Ready to dive in and fall back in love? Let’s do this!
The first thing is to recognize that just because the Hot & Heavy, Thoughts On Fire, Completely Consumed By Your Person brand of love has cooled off a bit does not necessarily mean that you’ve “fallen out of love” with each other. It’s a part of the normal evolution of a long-term relationship for some of that intensity to cool off as you settle into a comfortable rhythm with each other!
If you are simply not feeling as “on fire” as you were in the beginning, there are ways to spice things back up again! Maybe it’s firing out some flirty texts to your person throughout the day, indulging in some fun new sexy time accessories, or even planning an epic romantic getaway to rekindle the spark between you two, but you can find those fiery moments again with a little concerted effort.
Here’s the thing: life is busy, things come up that demand our attention, and it’s all too easy to take our connection with our significant other for granted, especially after we’ve settled into a comfortable routine in our relationship.
I’ve written about how to maintain connection in long-term relationships, but the basic gist is in the intentionality of it. In setting aside time for purposeful play together, intimacy, date nights, whatever it is, it’s the intentional time spent together that really pays off. There’s a difference between grabbing lunch together when your schedules happen to intersect and clearing the calendar to go out together to share an experience. If you’ve got kids (as my husband and I do!) this becomes even more crucial. We all want to feel worth each other’s time.
It’s only natural that after so many years together, a relationship can become a little predictable. When that happens, it can feel like that loving spark has faded, but you can rekindle it by introducing some novelty back into your lives!
This will look different for every couple, but it could be as simple as introducing some fun new items/experiences in the boudoir or planning an unexpected date night that is adventurous or challenging, like an adrenaline-inducing skydiving experience or a charming weekend getaway spent on an exotic beach somewhere. Create a couple’s bucket list together and then start working your way through it… sharing new experiences is an excellent way to find yourself falling back in love with your partner!
I believe the purpose of life is growth, and people grow individually and couples grow as a unit. Every one of us wants to feel seen by the people we love the most, but sometimes it can be hard to separate our shared history from our present, and no one wants to feel like their efforts have gone unnoticed. This is when it’s helpful to acknowledge growth.
Let your partner know that you notice their growth, “just a few years ago, you probably wouldn’t have believed it if someone had told you that you would be where you are right now in your career. You’re kicking butt, babe, I’m really proud of you.” Do this within the partnership too, “I’m actually really proud of us for handling X the way we did; just a few years back, I don’t know if we would have made it through that. It was hard, but we did it!” You’re either growing together or growing apart, so celebrate your growth journeys to remain on the same team.
Get Away Together
Want to fall back in love with your partner? Go on a trip somewhere new to the both of you! Traveling to new places is a novel experience that promotes excitement, but it also brings the two of you together because it’s the two of you against the world! Okay, maybe not “against,” but it promotes all those warm and fuzzy feelings of camaraderie that we get from partnerships.
There are many reasons why couples’ travel bolsters relationships, but one of the coolest is the positive effect it can have on our sex lives! It’s true, getting away somewhere new together can improve intimacy and promote feelings of closeness and togetherness. If you’re looking for ways to fall back in love with your spouse, traveling together is a fun one… how about a romantic stargazing trip?
Adjust Your Point of View
In the early days, you might have gushed on and on to a friend about all the beautiful little nuances of your person and what makes them special, but as the years move on, we get used to them and these things we used to adore can fade into the background. Consider making a Reasons Why I Love You list for your partner so you can remind yourself of all of the reasons why you fell in love in the first place!
Try to see them through the eyes of a stranger: are they hardworking? Are they thoughtful? Are they charming? Are they funny? Reminding yourself of all of the fantastic things about them that probably drew you towards them is a great step towards falling back in love with your partner.
Fall Back in Love with Play
It happens to all of us. Life gets busy and we get stressed and play can be the first thing that falls away, but it shouldn’t! Couples that play together, stay together, with couples that are more playful reporting higher levels of satisfaction within the relationship and increased feelings of closeness.
Being playful and having fun experiences together promotes the production of all those feel-good hormones like oxytocin, the so-called “love hormone,” too, and gives you the opportunity to associate your person with all those happy feelings again. Want to fall back in love? Play more with your partner, whether it’s something structured like video games or ultimate frisbee, or just having fun goofing around together while doing household chores!
See a Professional
I’m Team Therapy all the way. I go to a professional mechanic when my car needs some attention, I go to a licensed cosmetologist when my hair needs some attention, and my husband and I have absolutely gone to a marriage counselor when our relationship has needed some professional guidance! There is so much value in working with a neutral third party who can help you both see potential blind spots.
Therapy is amazing for relationships because they have seen it all, heard it all, or learned about it all, and can offer you personalized tips and guidance as you two sort through what needs sorting. Couples counseling doesn’t mean your relationship is failing, it means you care enough about your relationship to get the professional help it might need. I think it’s a credit to the importance of our relationships when we give them the support and nurturing they deserve!
Go with the Flow
Every relationship goes through natural seasons. There might be a season where all-nighters mean lingerie and sexy music and a season where all-nighters mean burp cloths and diaper blowouts. A season where work is the least important thing to either one of you because all that matters is squeezing in as much time together as you possibly can and a season where work is very important to both of you because what matters now is capitalizing on that 401k match for your future.
Life has its ups, its downs, and its seasons. I think it’s okay to focus attention elsewhere for a while as long as you and your partner remain united in your common goal, whether that’s raising your baby, working towards financial freedom in the future, or whatever; as long as you’re on the same team, go with the flow and you’ll find your way back to each other again.
Ultimately, if you are feeling as if you have truly fallen out of love with your person, you will need to determine what that means to you. Does that mean it’s time to part ways and look for love elsewhere, or are you okay with the relationship as it stands? Does it still serve you or is it holding you back?
I think there are many ebbs and flows in loving feelings in a relationship, but everyone has their own personal standards for what their relationships must feel like for them, and that should always be honored, even if it means hard choices.
Wherever your journey of love is leading you, I hope it leads you to fulfillment and happiness, with a whole lotta laughs along the way!
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Kendra Paulson is the writer behind the content on Has Baggage, Still Travels on IG and FB, where she creates original Content to Cultivate Our Best Selves. She loves to travel and explore new places with her husband and two kids, which is a good thing because their military family moves every couple of years to a new place for a new adventure! A mix of every place she’s ever lived, Kendra likes to think she brings a little taste of the plains of the Midwest, the coastal Southeast, the desert of the Southwest, and the lush Hawaiian Islands to everything she works on.