The timeline that (most) relationships go through is sort of a funny thing. In the beginning of the relationship, most couples are shy and timid, followed by a period where they can’t keep their hands off each other. Things stay pretty heavy for a while, but then, in time, they start to drift back to their previously reserved state. Usually, it’s not intentional – we just start to get preoccupied with other things.
Keeping the romance and magic alive in your long-term relationship is not always easy, but it’s pretty important in maintaining your bond over the years. After all, do you want to be the couple who spends their Wednesday nights eating silently at the same table at 70 years old, or do you want to be the couple who takes trips together, plays like children, and actually has sex after the age of 40? (I’m guessing you’d rather be in that second category.)
The good news is that it doesn’t take a lot of effort to keep your spark alive – just a little bit of initiative. Try these 7 flirty mini-challenges and repeat as often as needed.
1. Massage therapy – it’s a real thing.
Most of the time, the romance starts to fade away when we get too caught up in what we need to do and don’t spend enough time thinking about what we want to do. This leads to a lot of unnecessary stress, not to mention physical pain and exhaustion. A relaxing massage can tackle all three problems without too much effort. And you don’t need to be a certified massage therapist to get these benefits – just look up some massage tips online, and listen to your partner’s body. Chances are, you already know where her most high-stress areas are, as well as her erogenous zones – use these to your advantage as you work out all the knots.
2. She needs a reminder of your love sometimes.
Another one of the biggest reasons we lose our romance is because we take for granted that our partner knows how we feel. We’re comfortable enough with one another that we assume she knows what we’re thinking. It’s important to realize that’s not the case, though, and even the most secure and self-confident women like hearing that they’re loved, respected, and appreciated. (And it wouldn’t hurt to explain the physical and mental attractions, too.) Write your partner a love note and leave it somewhere she’ll find it while she’s going through her day. If you’re a little more ambitious, consider making her a journal of your love – there are numerous prompt books available online, or you can pick up a nice notebook and do it all freehand.
3. Make out like horny teenagers.
In the beginning of the relationship, when you’re still completely infatuated with one another, it’s so easy to make out with one another. After a while, though, it feels like we don’t need to anymore – after all, sex isn’t the most important thing anymore, and what’s the point of making out if not to lead to sex? But thinking like that is part of what helps your romance go away. Because you undervalue the importance of the small romantic (and sensual) gestures, you take away the romantic feelings they bring. Make time to make out with each other on a regular basis, but don’t put any expectations on where things will lead. It’s important to keep some spontaneity!
4. Girlfriend’s choice for dinner.
Sometimes, it really is the simple things that make all the difference. Simply learning how to cook your girlfriend’s favorite meal – or, at the very least, finding a restaurant that has it on the menu – is a sweet way to show her you care, and that you know what she likes. If it’s a family recipe, ask her to share it with you or teach you how to make it. Once you’ve learned all her favorites, consider cooking a few of your own favorites and family traditions.
5. Buy her something she’d never buy for herself (even though she really wants it).
Many women feel guilty about spending money on themselves, and avoid splurges. If your girlfriend has been eyeing that expensive sweater, or disappointed in her usual boxed wine, splurge on her behalf and buy her a treat. This may be something she’s asked for, for a gift, or it could be something she’s been looking at online and keeps taking back out of her cart. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive – she’ll be happy that you thought of her. (Not sure what to get? KitschKandy has a wealth of great gift options!)
6. Get a little nostalgic.
Go back to a spot that has a sentimental significance to your relationship – maybe the place you met, where you had your first date, or the first place you two went on vacation together. Take some time to talk and remember the early days, when your relationship was still full of passion. If you live too far away from your sentimental places now, consider finding some new meaningful places – you can still think back to the good old days.
7. Kiss her in public.
Lastly, if you want to bring back the romance and you’re envious of couples who do the whole PDA thing, you’ve got to actually show a little affection. Hold her hand, steal little kisses, and even discretely touch her butt. (Hey – no judgment!) You two get to decide how much PDA you personally feel comfortable with, within any local regulations (and respective of your safety, of course). Don’t be afraid to show her how much you care about her just because there are other people around.