We all crave passion in our love relationship, take it for granted, and assume the intensity and excitement will last forever (after all, it does that in romance novels and movies, doesn’t it?). But when the sizzle and passion inevitably declines in your relationship, you might think the same thing everybody else does: that the loss of passion signals trouble in your relationship.
The truth is, the passage of time does affect passionate love in romantic relationships. Studies show that most couples fail to maintain the urgent longing for each other that originally led them to be together. And there is a very logical reason for this. At the beginning of a relationship, passionate love is high because everything is new and exciting. You are learning interesting and different information about your partner every day, which fuels the passion. Plus, at the early stages of your relationship, you idealize your partner and see him or her through “rose-colored glasses.” You often hear the phrase “love is blind.” Well, in this situation, it is true! But, as time goes by, you take the rose-colored glasses off and begin to see the imperfections in your special someone.
The good news is that even though passion is sure to dwindle in your relationship, it can be reignited. How? It’s easier than you may think. Here are a few science-based strategies to make sure the sizzle doesn’t fizzle in your love relationship.
- New activities.
In order to keep the passion alive, try new and novel activities with your partner. That could be a different restaurant, sport, or vacation spot – even something you two have never tried before, like dancing, a cooking class, or tennis lessons. How about glow-in-the-dark mini golf? Unique, unexpected activities you share together will spice up your love life and add a romantic flavor to your relationship.
- Romantic getaway.
Try taking a mini-vacation, just the two of you. Go somewhere that interests both of you, whether it’s a bed-and-breakfast or just a local hotel down the road. The goal is to spend quality time together, where you’re going to create memories. Plus, getting away from work, family, or daily responsibilities spurs reconnection and conversation.
- Arousal producing activities.
This is my favorite suggestion, but it is not what you think! If you want to reignite the passion in your love relationship, studies show that if you do activities together that release adrenaline, the arousal that is produced through the other activity will transfer to your partner and relationship. For example, hike outdoors, speed-walk through the mall, go on a roller coaster ride, see a scary movie, or exercise at the gym together. These arousal producing activities increase passionate love, as long as you do them with your partner.
- Get reacquainted.
When you are first dating, you ask questions and get to know the other person. As time goes on, that stops. In order to keep the sizzle from fizzling, rewind to the beginning of your relationship. Learn new and different information about your partner, just like when you were first dating. You think you know everything about your partner, but do you really? You can reacquaint yourself with your partner by playing a board game together, or asking questions about your partner’s interests, goals and dreams for the future.
- Hold hands.
Be sure to continue to hold hands or touch each other to keep the romance alive. This is necessary for couples to feel physically bonded, which is critical to passionate love. Studies show that people feel better and more connected to their partners when they hold hands, hug, cuddle and kiss.
It is important to remember that while passion is an integral element in a couple’s relationship, it should not become the foundation of the relationship. Passion is only one of the many components necessary to establishing a loving, stable relationship over time.
Dr. Terri Orbuch (aka The Love Doctor®) is a relationship expert for OurTime.com, as well as a professor, therapist, research scientist, and author of 5 best-selling books, including “Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship,” available at amazon.com. Learn more about her at: DrTerriTheLoveDoctor.com.