When the Passion Fades: Tips for Long Term Relationships

A new relationship is exciting.  Those first few months together are filled with new experiences, adventures and passion.  It is the kind of relationships that you see in romantic comedies, light hearted, fun, and well… basically perfect.  This stage of the relationship is often referred to as the ‘honeymoon phase’. If you have ever had someone comment that your relationship was in the honeymoon phase, I am sure you were immediately frustrated by the reference that the magical love you have found will somehow end.

The truth is, yes, typically relationships will shift and change over time and sometimes that magical spark your relationship used to have, may fade away.  The good news is that once the honeymoon phase ends, it creates room for a more intimate relationship.  The relationship will progress towards a true companionship filled with trust, respect, and a collection of shared experiences together.  The kind of relationship where you are completely comfortable being yourself in front of your partner, knowing they will love you unconditionally.  But gaining this experienced intimacy involves dealing with the ups and downs of the relationship and sometimes there are seasons where the passion has seemed to fade. The key to success is learning how to sustain a happy relationship and it takes hard work.

In a relationship, if the passion has seemed to fade, it could be a symptom of something deeper happening between the couple.  Perhaps a couple has had a shift in priorities and the relationship has been unknowingly placed on the back burner.  This is really common with couples who may have become overly focused on parenting at the sacrifice of dedicating time to their significant other.  Perhaps it is a sign of lack of intimacy, either physically or emotionally.  Often the two are intertwined so a lack of emotional intimacy can impact the physical and vice versa.

It is also important to look at yourself individually.  It is often easier to blame your partner for loosing the spark, but take a look at recent changes in your life.  An increase in stress, physical or mental health issues, or major life changes can drastically impact libido.  It is important to not compare your physical intimacy to that of your ‘honeymoon phase’ as your physical intimacy may just be adjusting to something more sustainable for a long term relationship.

What can you do to keep the spark alive?

Increase your communication and not just about trivial day to day things.  Go on a date and discuss your hopes and dreams, perhaps the way you used to when you were first dating.  Maybe take a note from things you did when you were in the honeymoon phase.  Recreate a first date or pick up an old hobby that you used to enjoy together.

Understanding how your partner gives and receives affection can be key to ensuring you are communicating your passion for one another effectively.  For example, if you wife’s love language involves spending quality time together, she will value a date night without the kids, much more then that bouquet of flowers you usually buy her.  You can read more about Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages, here.

Sometimes we struggle as a couple to see things objectively or have deeply rooted guilt or anger that needs to be expressed before the relationship can heal.  A psychologist can help facilitate these conversations and help couples keep their relationship strong and intimate. If you would like to book in a time to speak to a psychologist, contact us on (02) 6262 6157 or book an appointment online

Related reading:

Communication styles in Improve Relationships
Going from Good to Great In your Relationship
Making the Most of Couples Counselling

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