Most of us have experienced a relationship that starts out exciting and then fades over time. In the beginning, we revel in the attraction and get caught up in the discovery process a new relationship brings. As time goes by, we begin to feel more comfortable as the relationship settles into a more predictable pattern. Once the newness wears off, our focus begins to shift. Our awareness becomes more attuned to the things we overlooked in the beginning of the relationship: inconsistencies, habits, incompatibilities, or personality flaws that may become annoying or worse.
Let’s take a closer look at what is at play here. When we start a relationship we put our best foot forward (projected best self). Over time, we become comfortable and reveal more of our authentic selves. Often this is a make-it-or-break-it time in a relationship. Things that were overlooked or pushed aside in the beginning of the relationship begin to take center stage. At this point, a much clearer picture of the person as a whole emerges and you will either work through any differences in order to stay together, or you may break-up.
When a couple stays together over a long period of time, usually several hurdles have been crossed. This process can yield a solid, well-tested, happy relationship, or it can produce a union that only appears to be a good, healthy relationship (for an in-depth understanding of this phenomenon, read “The Fantasy Bond” by Robert Firestone, PhD).
If you have a relationship that offers true friendship, great passion, and the joy of shared interests and this remains true even after the newness has worn off, you are fortunate indeed! Yet every relationship needs excitement to remain fulfilling. But how do you accomplish this when you know each other so well and have so many demands for your time? Let’s cover the top “do’s and don’ts” to keep any relationship more exciting.
1. Keep personal things personal
A large part of the “Magic Kingdom” that Walt Disney created was based upon illusion. When you arrive at the park you see only what you are meant to see. You never see the employee restrooms or break areas or maintenance sheds, to do so would leave a counter mental image of the magical experience. Yet the park works diligently 7/24 to make this seem like it is effortless. This is a good example of how to handle your most personal affairs. Do take the time to look your best, but do not discuss the details of how you managed to look amazing. Close the bathroom door for your private affairs. Keep your personal effects stored in an appropriate place. If these suggestions involve changing your existing habits, simply make these changes but do not discuss why you are changing. Keep it personal. (Caveat: This is not to say you have to appear perfect all the time or can’t be natural–you can! But making an effort to look your best is always appreciated by both sexes. This is just about keeping your private habits to yourself.)
2. Be a little mysterious
What exactly is mystery you may ask? It is the art of allowing someone the pleasure of wanting to know more about you. Enjoy taking your time to disclose everything about you. Don’t feel the need to pour out every element of your day-to-day affairs (especially frustrations). It is important to keep communication open and natural, but this does not mean you need to utter every thought that crosses your mind or every feeling that rises up. Take your time and invite a dialog. Mystery also comes from you developing your own life and interests. No other person can be your whole world. When you expand your interests, you have more to share in your relationship. Little surprises are always welcome, but use them in moderation or these too can become anticipated and therefore predictable.
3. Be adventurous
You will both enjoy this one if you have a strong bond and are authentic with each other. We all enjoy some level of comfort and predictability, but we all crave variety and spontaneity. So be adventurous! If you have grown into a comfortable rut with anything, mix it up! Try new places to explore together. Visit new restaurants. Find new places, ways and methods for making love–but not just for effect–choose things you will truly enjoy or simply want to experiment with. Keep it fresh. Begin a new sport or take a dance class. Take a trip to a new destination together, but also take trips apart with friends or solo. It’s healthy to take time for yourself and encourage your partner to do the same. It will build your confidence and sense of self. When you get back together you will be excited to share your experiences and be excited to reunite. A little space is healthy in a relationship.
4. Know your priorities
We all have so many responsibilities in life that keep us busy. We also have many challenges that arise that demand our attention. But, it is important to keep your priorities in order, you can’t lose sight of what is important. Even when you only have a few moments to spend together, take the time to appreciate the one you value most. It is so easy to fall into complacency and take your partner for granted, yet few things are less inspiring than being taken for granted. Don’t let this happen. Make an effort for the one that matters most to you.
5. Be your best self and share your world
Show you care for yourself and your partner. Never stop making an effort to be your best self. You will both appreciate all of your efforts and reap the benefits. If you have started to ignore your appearance, make some changes. Get and maintain a healthy body. Change your style on occasion. Buy some new outfits that you look and feel great wearing (both for during the day and at night) or try a new hairstyle. When we feel our best we act differently towards others and our confidence and good mood are contagious. Always continue to learn and grow. Read, start a hobby, listen to new music, play games, join a new group–anything to expand your life experience and awareness. Everything you learn will enhance your world and you will have new things to share with your partner. Keep an open mind about things your partner enjoys and find ways to have fun with it. Attend sporting events or concerts or go to a play or any other event that your partner enjoys and even if it is not your favorite, experience and appreciate their joy. Invite your partner to share your world, but do not rely on their participation. Live in the moment when you are together and stop worrying about the future–you will create happier memories when you are able to control your fears.
When you take these steps towards a more fulfilled and exciting relationship (and life!) you will find that you feel different. You will expand your own interests and have greater appreciation for yourself and each other. Instead of staying stuck in old patterns, you will break free and create new, exciting experiences that will keep you looking forward to spending time together.
What are your secrets for keeping your love exciting? Share your ideas with our readers in the comment section below.