By Brittany Dursi, LMSW
Ah the “honey moon stage.” The phase of being an untouchable, connected, happy couple. A mix of intense emotions, blended with just enough spice to leave your taste buds begging for more. It is a chapter many hope to experience yet seldom remains central through the relationship.
So, what is it about the “honey moon stage” that fades? There are endless possibilities, exclusive to each relationship: loss of loved ones, betrayal, money dilemmas, miscommunication, exhaustion etc. The list is limitless. When we take one, or multiple obstacles, and allow them to control the relationship it is undeniable romance can lose its spark. When this happens, every so often it is easier to create distance from our partners instead of working to maintain unity and support. It is even common to feel like strangers.
Sex can become…well sex. That is, if it is existent in the relationship. When our mind is flooded with stressors we can forget how beneficial physical touch and connectedness with our partner is. We fail to realize being intimate can relieve stress, physical pain, such as headaches and can lead to feelings of security in the relationship. We may find ourselves rolling over in bed as a result of exhaustion instead of taking a moment to cuddle up to our loved one. So how can we maintain a consistent, satisfying and exciting sexual relationship with our partner?
Communication is Key
Sustaining a strong sexual relationship first starts with communicating efficiently with our partner. That means: asking questions and listening. Our partner’s day is just as important as ours. Ask specific, individualized questions. Listen to understand, not to respond and not to accuse. Listen to relate, create depth and explore new ways to approach and acknowledge their feelings. Even in times of distress, vocalize your feelings. You cannot be faulted for expressing how you genuinely feel. Being transparent and honest with your partner can lead to an increase in trust and ultimately more security within the relationship.
Remember when you first met your partner? Everything about them was interesting, the way they walked, the way their hair felt between your fingers, their scent, how they took their coffee, the energy they showed when doing something they loved etc. We get so used to the distinctive traits that make our partners who they are that sometimes they go unnoticed. Stay curious. Our partners are ever growing and changing. Take notice. Find new quirks, interests, things that can create new conversation and build off of it. We are ever changing, our partner is ever changing, our relationships are ever changing and it is our responsibility to keep up with it.
Mentally, none of us are programmed the same. We have different interests and fixations that stimulate us, making us all unique. It is common to feel uncomfortable or unsure about things we may want to explore in the bedroom; and in some cases, results in remaining concealed from our partner. It is far-reaching to discuss some of these interests with our partner. It allows our partner to be open with us as well and explore agreed upon options to satisfy the needs of both partners. When we understand our partner, are open with them, feel understood by them and work together we have a higher chance of both sides feeling satisfied and secure in discovering different layers of the relationship.
Schedule Together Time
We make time for work calls, meetings, bills to paid, errands to be run and other essential daily tasks. So why not make time to embrace our loved one and give the relationship the nurturing that it deserves. We lead busy lives, but it is always crucial to take care of ourselves and that means taking care of our relationship. Why not schedule in a one hour time block to turn off our phones and pay total attention to the one who has our heart? Even if you live together, or spend hours a day together, is it true quality time? Make the time to embrace one another, talk, laugh and give the attention we all need. Time together is a human need, schedule it.
Compliment Each Other
When we feel confident and appreciated in our relationship the positive parts of our personalities often will take the forefront. The same goes for our partner. If your partner is feeling belittled, betrayed and unworthy the relationship will feed off of that. Remind your partner of the qualities you like about them. Have conversations about what you each appreciate, lift each other up and help build confidence. When each partner feels confident, understood, appreciated and loved the relationship will also be more likely to feed off of that. Never have too much pride to express what you love about your partner. Never have too much pride to build your relationship.
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