If you’ve ever been in a romantic relationship that’s lasted more than a year, you probably felt your passion fade over time. Is this normal? Is there any way to avoid this?
The relationship research says YES! Here’s how.
Relationship experts know excitement and passion levels drop significantly 12 to 18 months after a relationship begins. This is normal and unavoidable. It’s NOT a sign that your relationship is broken or that you’re with the wrong partner.
According to research from a landmark relationship science study that has followed hundreds of couples since the 1980’s, there are strategies to reignite your passion.Here’s three specific insights that might help.
Enjoy NEW Experiences Together
When you met and started dating, everything you did was new and interesting. Everything you learned about each other was fascinating, charming and attractive. All brand new experiences.
You can replicate the passion you felt then by experiencing newness together again. This means you should sign up for scuba diving, a cooking class or go to the gun range. Volunteer together somewhere or take a different kind of vacation than you usually do.
Some of my fondest married memories are when my husband and I volunteered as Election Workers, something new we did together. It was thrilling to be together when we took our first ever cruise ship vacation. Both these experiences helped us see each other in a new light and we learned more about each other even though we’d already been married many years.
Surprise Each Other
According to the long term happiness predictors in the marriage study, couples who regularly surprise each other rate their passion as much higher than those that don’t.
One of the greatest highlights of my marriage was when my husband surprised me with short weekend getaway to Las Vegas to see Jennifer Lopez in concert. I only knew we were going on a trip, but I didn’t know anything else until we boarded the plane.
Surprises don’t have to be grand gestures. Showing up unexpectedly to kidnap your sweetheart for lunch, or buying surprise concert tickets, or an desired gift item will do the work of keeping excitement and passion going in your relationship.
Also...don’t underestimate the power of micro-surprises. Send a racy text, bring them a fountain drink, a donut or a even a new pair socks. All these things affirm your love and consideration for each other and keep the passion going.
Share Exhilarating Experiences Together
Research shows, the adrenaline you feel doing exciting things together will transfer to the partner you’re with. Sharing high bursts of emotion is arousing and creates a bond of intimacy.
If you need to renew the spark, seek out a roller coaster ride, take a scooter or bike for a spin together. You could also try watching a scary movie or laughing hysterically side by side at a comedy show. Sharing these kinds of peak moments renews your excitement for the person you’re with and the relationship you share together.
Before you cast off your relationship as dull and boring, give these three strategies a try.
If you’d like to know more details about this topic, I got all these great insights from one of my favorite relationship mentors, Dr. Terri Orbuch in her TEDx Talk titled: Is it Lust or Love? It’s a great 15 minute watch or listen for any person in a long term relationship.