Picture this: You and your partner have been together for 4 years and now live together. Sound familiar?
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Most of us have experienced that crazy, out of control feeling at the beginning of a new romance. Our heart races, we feel a rush of adrenaline, and all we want to do is be with that person. This is known as passionate loveand it feels wonderful and exciting. Most couples fail to maintain the urgent longing for each other that originally led them to be together. Langeslag SJ, et al. Regulation of romantic love feelings: Preconceptions, strategies, and feasibility.
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DOI: And there is a very logical reason for this. At the beginning of a relationship, passionate love is high because everything is new and stimulating. So, what does the future hold for you and your relationship? Should you stay and work things out? Even if you love your partner, there are three important aspects of your relationship to think about.
First, do you trust them? Next, are the two of you similar in underlying key life values? Do you think similarly when it comes to those values that are most critical to you and your life, like the importance of religion, family, or health?
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And lastly, how do the two of you handle stress and conflict together? You want to handle your disagreements and stress in a positive, constructive way. We all grew up hearing fairy tales about living happily ever after.
Do you expect fireworks all the time, a constant attraction that never disappears, or one that comes and goes? Many people crave passion, take it for granted, and assume the intensity and excitement will last forever. Unfortunately, these assumptions are wrong. Understanding how passion works is a key secret to making your relationship last.
It allows you to have completely different expectations of yourself, your relationship, and your partner. I should expect passion to fade over time.
This is totally typical. You might even decide to work harder on your relationship and give it another try. The elements of passion, romance, and sexual desire are still essential to any long-term relationship.
My long-term study of couples finds that you can rekindle the passion and sexual desire by adding three behaviors back into the relationship: newness, mystery, and arousal — the same behaviors that created the passion in the first place. This can be as simple as finding a new restaurant in a part of the city where you never go. Or you could try water skiing for the first time, or attend a cooking class together. Here are some creative date ideas to spice things up. My research also finds that other activities reduce boredom and predictability, such as spontaneously going to play miniature golf at midnight or surprising them with tickets to a basketball game.
If you do an activity together that creates an endorphin and adrenaline rush, this state of heightened arousal can actually get transferred to your partner and relationship. A vigorous workout side-by-side at the gym will work.
Or watch a really scary movie — the kind that makes your heart race.
You can also scream your head off on a roller coaster ride at an amusement park. After you reset your expectations about passion, try adding these behaviors to your relationship. Assuming that your relationship has trust, compatibility, and you can manage your differences, the passion and sexual attraction should return.
Relationships should still be fun and you should continue to grow with a partner.
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