The start of a new relationship is exciting! Discovering each other’s interests and personalities, being on your best behavior, going out on dates, and even hiding your weird habits. And then, the honeymoon stage ends, and the sweatpants and mundane routines kick in. All possible adventures fall into the void of “we should try that,” never to be heard from again. Many couples fear that once passion fades, it may never come back. The truth is, passionate love is a marathon that takes continued work and effort to keep ablaze.
What is passion in a relationship?
Passion in a relationship is the intense emotional intimacy and physical longing to be connected and intertwined with your partner. Passion is not just having great sex and sexual attraction; it is also understanding each other compassionately and genuinely sharing curiosity for and with each other. Expressing passion means paying attention to each other without distractions, surprising each other by initiating sex at unplanned moments, and catching yourself feeling butterflies for your partner years into the relationship. Passion paves the way for feelings of acceptance, appreciation, and belonging. Couples with passion place effort as the priority and continue to work hard to keep the spark alive in their everyday lives.
Is it normal to lose passion in a long-term relationship?
Yes! Like most novel experiences, initial excitements can fade as feelings of familiarity, security, and comfortability build. However, stability doesn’t need to feel like monotony. You and your partner can get that spark back by engaging in fun and new activities together and finding new ways to inspire and support each other. Passion becomes lost when we stop trying. We all have the innate human need to be needed. When you stop trying to ask for support, encourage connection, or request intimacy for and with your partner, passion becomes extinct. Listed below are 10 signs that passion has left your relationship; how many of these have your relationship fallen victim to?
10 signs your relationship is lacking passion
- You feel that there’s nothing to talk about and pass by each other without communicating verbally or physically.
- Everything feels robotic/mechanical as if you are just “going through the motions.”
- You never want to have sex! Especially when you have the time and space to do so.
- You don’t trust each other. There is suspiciousness, jealousy, and you don’t give each other the benefit of the doubt.
- You ignore each other by spending time on your devices or with others instead of connecting with quality time.
- You blame each other for your bad moods.
- You constantly argue. You let stubbornness or “wanting to be right” get in the way of resolution and repair. Many couples report that they can’t even remember what they argue about!
- You stop asking open-ended questions and lack curiosity about your partner.
- Texts are merely passing of information, no more flirting or innuendo.
- You stop trying to impress each other.
How to rekindle the spark in a long-term relationship
Relationships will naturally go through ebbs and flows of passion, so it is essential to set realistic expectations with intentional actions on how to improve your connection and intimacy. Many couples report stalemates due to not feeling ready for intimacy. Don’t wait for the passion to show up; make it happen! Passion breeds passion. Be in control of the time you spend with your partner and make your love intentional. Don’t wait for a grand gesture! Use words of appreciation for your partner for the little ol’ things. Even if you’ve decided on the roles and responsibilities, it’s still nice to hear words of encouragement and gratitude for everyday tasks and chores. Even these seemingly small acts of kindness and compassion help kindle the fire of passion in your relationship.
Remember that improving your sex life is not the only way to renew passion in romantic relationships. There are several different types of intimacy that you can cultivate with your partner. Consider sharing recreational time with fun hobbies, discussing intellectual ideals, exploring innermost values, creating shared friendships and social circles, and being vulnerable with each other mentally and physically. Be playfully adventurous. Be curious. Ask questions and be interested in their responses. Tell each other jokes and tap into your inner kiddo by giving genuine and wholesome laughs. Share physical contact. Hold hands, rub their back, brush alongside them in the kitchen. Skin-to-skin touch releases happy oxytocin brain chemicals. Validate your partner’s feelings. When people feel understood, they are more relaxed and feel more connected. And finally, talk about what you need and ask what your partner needs. We are not mind readers; no matter how long you’ve known each other, there’s still room for curiosity.
Speak in each other’s love language
Knowing each other’s love languages allows you to understand what your partner needs to feel appreciated and cared for in the relationship. It’s normal to have different love languages. Recognize that it may take extra effort to provide physical touch if it doesn’t come naturally. Try to remember that a love language is something that fills your partner’s emotional bank account. When you provide for them in their desired way, you give the gift of understanding them and their needs. So, what are the five love languages?
This love language is about being thoughtful and understanding what your partner likes and dislikes. When you make time to give your partner a gift, you make them a priority by wanting to make them feel appreciated and cared for. Amplify this love language by expressing gratitude for your partner when giving them their gift. Let them know your thought process and how you imagined their excitement opening up their present!
Acts of service
Acts of service are practical actions that help your partner out. This love language is not a power imbalance; it is a recognition that your partner has a lot on their plate, and you want to lighten their task list. Assisting with cleaning up, making appointments, fixing repairs, and asking what your partner needs help with shows you are a team, and you want to be an active participant in helping to relieve their stress.
Words of affirmation
Affirmations are words of encouragement for your partner in their endeavors and achievements. Even if your partner is always the one to walk the dog, thank them every so often for doing it! Appreciate and listen actively to your partner and express gratitude for their time and vulnerability. Write out little love notes and leave them around the house or in their lunch bag or send over an “I’m thinking of you” text when you’re both away from each other to make them feel special and appreciated.
Quality time is intentional uninterrupted time spent together. One-on-one time is important because it continues to promote that you like spending time with each other. This time can be spent by taking walks together and talking about your day, cooking together, or even watching a movie without other electronic devices misdirecting attention.
Physical touch exists on a spectrum! Hand holding, forehead kisses, erotic touch, and all the way to intense sexual intimacy. When you recognize and implement alternative forms of touch, you will find yourself being more vulnerable and trusting with your partner. Spend time light kissing, cuddling, and giving each other massages so that you have options besides the bedroom. You won’t always have time to be intimate, so make the most of the time you have by embracing in a quick hug or kiss.
Work on improving yourself
Just because you are a part of a duo doesn’t mean you always have to be stuck together! Make sure to make time for yourself and continue to cultivate your individuality. Self-awareness is a vital key to being a great partner. If you are not feeling challenged in your personal or professional life, you may be riding in perpetual boredom, which won’t help when trying to spark passion with your partner. Set aside time for self-care and self-reflection for your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and continue to work towards positive mental health. Keep up with your passions, hobbies, and social circles to maintain your independence. Spending time apart from your partner creates curiosity and communication for your reunion! Partners who experience greater satisfaction with their well-beings bring their own confidence into the relationship and report having a more centered approach to repairing any issues or conflict.
Get out of your comfortable routines
Try not to let everyday life feel like every other day. Plan something out of the ordinary for you and your partner on a date night, like taking a cooking class or trying a new restaurant. Change up your after-work routine by refraining from throwing on the sweatpants as soon as you get home. Enjoy some time looking at and being around each other, all dressed up! People disengage when their attention is not demanded and commanded, so hold each other accountable and active by not falling prey to mundane interactions.
Try activities that are new to both of you
Throw away the to-do list and spend some spontaneous quality time together. Engaging in novel experiences exercises values of open-mindedness, having fun, and cultivating a deeper bond and connection with your partner. Make new memories today that you can look back fondly on in your future. Try researching new activities in your area or picking out a movie without reading the synopses and going in unknown together. Take turns picking new adventures or create a “date night” jar of many exciting things to pull for an extra element of surprise!
Build sexual tension
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, especially if you add in a bit of seduction! Send a flirty text or sexy photo when you’re apart or even before your partner comes home to build anticipation. Don’t let sex and flirting turn into “remember when.” Make time for play! Grab a karma sutra book and try some positions or bring a new toy into the bedroom to spice things up. Where are your automatic connection points, and how can you make them accessible to your partner? Show them where and how you like to be touched and which spots can be more sensitive than others. Tease, taunt, and make an effort to explore and play, and your passion will continue to burn!
Talk to a marriage/couples counselor
Speaking with a couple’s counselor, certified sex therapist, or marriage counselor can help you rekindle passion and bring communication back in your relationship. If all you can feel are negative feelings about your partner, it may be time to bring in a third party. If you’ve tried to spark passion a few times and feel stuck, it is time to call in a professional for tailored exercises and accountability. Sometimes, it’s not a lack of wanting; it’s a lack of resources and stamina. Counselors can support you and your partner in improving communication by learning skills to navigate conflict and strengthen friendship, deepen intimacy, and build or rebuild trust so that you can focus on sharing your life’s goals and values together. Counseling offers an opportunity to spend an hour of uninterrupted time together to discuss the concerns and issues and take steps to move forward towards a healthy relationship.
Throw away your resentments
Resentment is feelings of anger and bitterness toward your partner resulting from experiences of being treated unfairly. Resentment compounds and builds up over time if issues and concerns are bottled up or left unresolved and untreated. Many couples get too stuck in stubbornness and wanting to win arguments that they forget about the love and friendship they share in the relationship. Communicate about your feelings and try to give each other the benefit of doubt. Validate each other’s experiences and ask open-ended questions that seek to understand one another’s thoughts and feelings. Choose dialogue instead of shutting down or gridlock if you feel you are not being heard or being treated fairly to give yourself a voice and your partner the agency and opportunity to make it right.
Time spent in resentment is time away from passion.
Resentment is contempt. It is a dark cloud of only pointing out the negative and sitting in disgust. When you are actively resenting your partner, you will not want to have intimacy or passion with them. Imagine going on a beautiful vacation with your partner and spending all your time planting your heels in bitterness and finding faults. Instead of immersing yourself in the excitement of a new environment and creating lasting memories of spending time in desire and sexual connection.
Make your relationship an active priority
Don’t let sex and passion be another task on your to-do list that you keep moving to the next day. Be more active in your relationship! Ask your partner about their day, communicate about what makes you uncomfortable, and make plans to share new experiences together. Have empathy and curiosity for each other and manage your expectations to foster realistic outcomes for repair when things become difficult or stagnant. Remember, falling in love is easy, but staying in love and having passion takes a combined effort and intentional action.