- Do New Things
Just like exciting activities, new experiences you share together can also reignite passion. “This prevents you from falling into a routine, and allows you to evolve together,” says Dr Wang.In fact, you don’t have to break the bank and travel to Peru or Bolivia. Dr Wang suggests exploring Singapore or discovering new food places such as a much-raved about tau huay (beancurd) store in Geylang. You could even take a baking class or pick up a new sport together.
2. Take Me Time
Creating distance can actually make you more attractive to one another, according to a dating study that looked at what’s called the “scarcity principle” – or playing a little bit hard to get. Making yourself scarce sometimes, say experts, gives your partner the chance to miss you, so don’t do everything together. Choose a hobby or language class or weekend workshop – and plan to have some solo time.
“Distance gives a relationship its edge and freshness, a bit of intrigue and mystery,” explains Elly,” and the knock-on effect is more desire. When you go off and have exciting adventures apart, you can come back and share, which invigorates the relationship.”
3. Make Sex Fun
Any long-term couple will tell you it takes work to keep passion alive in the bedroom – especially when kids come along and you’re overtaken by mum and dad roles. It’s important to get back to being friends and lovers, and sometimes turning sex into a game can help. Role play, for example, forces you to tap into your individuality and get out of your comfort zone – which can be hot.
4. Stay Curious
Do your eyes glaze over when he launches into an anecdote you’ve heard a million times, or when he tries to tell you about his day? Dr Wang warns that such disinterested and dismissive behaviour may hurt your relationship.
“People grow and evolve, and you should make allowances for that. Never make the assumption that your partner has nothing new to say. Even if you have heard the story before, be patient and practise active listening – make eye contact, and ask new questions about old anecdotes,” he suggests.
We all change over the years but if you stay curious, you’ll get new insights into who your partner is, which can inject new passion and excitement into the relationship.
5. Scare Yourselves
A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that when couples did scary activities they wouldn’t normally do – like riding on roller-coasters or watching horror movies – it boosted brain chemicals associated with desire. The more exciting the activity, the bigger the boost.
“Good feelings create good memories. So if you do exciting things with your partner, you will associate this feeling of excitement with him. These good memories may help you to weather rough patches in your relationship. It doesn’t have to be anything drastic such as bungee jumping. Travelling together is a good option,” says Dr Wang.
6. Don’t Assume
All couples suffer ‘communication gaps’ and in long-term relationships we can fall into the trap of interpreting our partner’s actions through our own filter. That’s because the closer you are, the more you assume, says Elly. “Assumptions can really affect relationships. We need to get into the habit of asking open-ended questions of our partner, such as ‘Let me know what you think about that’ or ‘This is how I feel about X, how do you feel?’ Asking such questions allows for the differences between you,” she explains.
Text: Bauer Syndication / Additional Reporting: Annie Tan & Zarelda Marie Goh