But you may have the opportunity to build an amazing relationship with the person you have, by taking some steps to bring the passion back to your partnership.
Relationships are dynamic: they shift and change over time but you may find yourself craving how things were in the past. If you miss the chemistry you used to have, trust that there is a way to rekindle passion in your long term relationship and maintain sexual desire in a long term relationship.
Acceptance is the first step
We all know what ‘the Honeymoon Phase’ is and when you’re in it, it feels incredible! Then the months (sometimes years) pass, maybe children come along and suddenly you’re bickering over the dishwasher and wondering whatever happened to the connection you once had, and how to get intimacy back.
The trick to rekindling love in marriage or a long relationship is to not expect your relationship today to be the same one you had when you first met.
It is easy to get addicted to that ‘high’ of a new romance, but you have to remember this spark always has a half-life. As your sense of emotional security and certainty builds with your partner, you’ll probably naturally shift away from passion and towards being comfortable in their presence.
Accept that it is normal for relationships to ‘evolve’ in this way. But with work, you can rekindle love and feel that sexual chemistry in your marriage or long term relationship again.
Let’s start with a simple action step you can take: are you spending enough quality time with one another?
Quality time doesn’t mean slobbing out in front of Netflix every night. It means actually being present with your partner.
When was the last time you sat down and really paid attention to what your partner was trying to tell you? Have you spent time together recently where you’ve been away from your screens? Are you getting enough one on one time as a couple without the children?
Sometimes carving out time is the most basic ingredient you need to put the passion back into your relationship.
Change of scene
When we get stuck in a routine it gets harder to appreciate the points of difference that make our partner attractive to us. They may fade into the background like a piece of furniture.
A change of scene can help us jog our minds to rediscover how attractive our partner is.
This doesn’t have to be a fancy vacation. It could simply mean switching up your routine. Could you check out a new brunch spot? Take a day trip somewhere new? Bonus points here if you can also both focus on your self care and put some time and effort into feeling sexy for your date.
Assert some independence
In long term relationships you may find that over time your friends, hobbies and interests converge. You long ago gave up that dance class that you loved, and they stopped hanging out with their mates once your children came along…
When you know everything about one another, and you see each other all the time, it can be hard to find the exchange between you to be erotic and exciting.
Sometimes the spark can be reinvigorated simply by spending less time together and developing your independence again.
Taking a trip away with friends, or encouraging your partner to join that tennis club, might seem daunting when you feel your connection is waning, however this space may be exactly what you need to reignite the spark between you.
Remember when you first met and try to reset the clock to the different ways you used to spend your time together when you first met.
Stress inhibits desire. It’s hard to find anything erotic when you’re worried about a work deadline, or tired from too many night shifts with the baby.
If your partner doesn’t feel attractive, or seems reticent to have physical intimacy, don’t assume this is a reflection of you.
Instead question whether there’s stress in another area of their lives that could be impacting their ability to be in the moment with you. To bring sex back into your marriage, or long term relationship, it could be wise to pitch in (okay, I know you do this already, but just for a moment give again) to help your partner to unwind.
That could mean running them a nice bath, taking on more than your ‘fair share’ of chores, or helping them talk about what’s bothering them.
It can be tough, but the truth about relationships is they’re not always equal in terms of who takes on more of the load. But if you have a good teammate, once they’ve bounced back they’ll also be more than willing to help you out too.
When we don’t feel understood by our partners it can lead to us shutting them out. What might start as frustration about them not really listening to you can end up in you deciding not to bother telling them how you really feel in the future.
If you feel emotionally closed off from your partner, the first sign of this could well be that you physically shut down too. Sometimes if we can’t mentally put up a boundary, our bodies do this for us.
To help work through this you want to focus on fostering emotional intimacy between you. This simply means being able to have honest and open conversations about your feelings.
To achieve this may just take an evening away from the TV, or it may mean you have to take a deep breath and allow your partner to express their feelings about something that always annoys you.
Once you start communicating verbally this may give you the sense of closeness and connection you need to physically reconnect.
Take the emphasis away from sex
Sex should be a pleasurable source of connection in your relationship: if instead it’s turned into a bone of contention where you are gridlocked in discussions around your sex life (or lack thereof) it could be time to shift your focus.
When there’s a lot of pressure to have sex, unsurprisingly it takes away from the desire to share that between you.
To help take the pressure off you may want to consider ruling sex out (just for now!) and instead only ‘allowing’ yourselves to hold hands or hug.
You may find once the elephant in the room is removed, and in fact you’re prohibited from sexual contact that it will allow your old desires to resurface.
The passion you experience now may not be the same as it was in the past, and it may not be there all the time, but rest assured with the right steps you can regain the chemistry you have between you.
The spark between you may have changed, but it’s far from extinguished.