Relationship psychologist Mairead Molloy from Berkley International dating agency offers some advice for long term relationships on how to keep the love alive.
If you are married or not, long terms relationships offer many great things such as security, companionship and friendship, however sometimes the love and romance can get put on the back burner for the easier and more natural elements of living together. So if the spark has gone out or is nearly there what can be done to get the flame burning brightly again?Mairead says, " Often long-term relationships can become stale, as when you have been together a long time, it is easy to get caught up in a routine. You become more fixated on getting through the daily grind and can begin to take each other for granted.As you know each other so well, it is easy to become comfortable - too comfortable. Eating dinner in front of the TV in silence and losing interest in your appearance (because you don't have to make the effort) are two key signs that a relationship is drifting into the 'friend zone'. It is up to both parties to keep the magic alive".
IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO
"I know it sounds straightforward but relationships require time and effort from both sides, and in my experience this really is the crux of where relationships go wrong. If you become complacent and stop making the effort, then it becomes all too easy to act like old friends.It is sometimes the simple efforts which show you appreciate your partner and it is these which actions resonate the most; simple actions like making your partner a cup of tea, leaving a note for them to read before heading to work, or making an effort with your appearance, can all help to bring about togetherness and make the other person feel valued".
DIARY IN DATES
"Remember you are in a relationship, and in a relationship, couples go on dates. This should not stop, even if you get married or have been together over a year. A really great way for keeping that spark alive is to regularly go on dates together!Plan one activity every two weeks, whether it is dinner, drinks, cinema, or something really different, and make sure it involves just the two of you. When you are on the date, make sure to focus solely on each other, away from the other demands in your life which may take over on a day-to-day basis".
"People don't talk enough. Women often expect men to know what they're thinking, whereas men respond best to transparency, these differences can cause friction and frustration, so simple communication is key.No matter how tired you are after a long day at work, make sure to ask you partner questions about their day and tell them about yours. Remember that this person knows you the best, so if you have an issue or something that is bothering you, do not bottle it up. Instead talk about it with your partner and this will stop any unwanted tension developing between you both".
BRING BACK THE DESIRE
"Sex is a very important part of any relationship; I believe it makes up to 70% of a relationship as it helps maintain the intimacy between couples and distinguishes between a relationship and friendship. Many couples say that they don't have the time, but it is imperative that you make the time.After being with someone for a long time, you can lose that desire for one another, but with a little effort, you can get it back. I suggest making a list of everything you find attractive about your partner and list any memorable intimate moments you have shared. This will help remind you of those times of intimacy and if feasible, give you the opportunity to try and recreate them! Don't wait for your partner to make the first move, be bold and give them the signals, it will make them feel wanted.Another great tip is always being open to spontaneity! If you or your partner feel that urge of desire go with it, don't knock it down because you are busy. It is these moments that end up being more memorable, and will rekindle intimacy between the both of you".
DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT
"The problem in long-term relationships is that it all becomes too similar and comfortable, and that is how couples can easily slip into the daily grind. Do something different! Perhaps start a hobby together that is unlike anything you both have done before. This will build a sense of togetherness and will commit you both to spending time together on a regular basis.I also suggest planning a day out or weekend away somewhere completely different, it will be a new adventure for the both of you and will give you both something to look forward to together."