Relationships invariably go through ups and downs. That’s perfectly normal but how do you deal with a phase of feeling less attracted to your partner? Most relationships go through a “honeymoon” phase where everything is great and we are physically attracted to our partners but after approximately eighteen months, this phase tends to lessen. Making a decision based only on appearance is short sighted as many factors are involved in the longevity of a relationship. There are ways however, to feel more attracted to your partner again:
1. Redefine Attraction
How do you evaluate your partner’s attractiveness? Look at yourself in this process too. Attraction is more than just skin deep – there is companionship, emotional and intellectual compatibility. In order to feel more attracted to your partner, look at them as a whole and consider all the positive factors that contribute to the quality of your relationship.
2. Recognize Your Fears and Face Them
When you’re in the thicket of anxiety, it’s almost impossible to feel positive feelings towards your partner. Sorting out your own internal balance is required before the relationship can be resumed as before. Deal with your own stress levels and find strategies to maintain balance in your life. This allows positive feelings to flow back into the relationship and help you to reconnect with your partner. If your job is causing you stress, deal with the source rather than transferring the stress onto your relationship. This is the easiest option but it will most definitely cause long term damage to your relationship.
3. Love Yourself
When we don’t like ourselves, we tend to project what we don’t like about ourselves onto our partners. The more we accept ourselves, the more tolerant we are of others around us. If there’s something that you don’t like about yourself, take responsibility and focus on improving yourself. Self development is vital, it gives us meaning and encourages greater contentment within ourselves and with others. Self love encourages positive regard and can promote an environment where we feel more attracted to our partners.
4. Remind Yourself Why You Fell in Love in the First Place
What attracted you to your partner in the first instance? Was it their kindness? Did they make you laugh? As time goes by, we can become complacent and focus on the irritations and negatives rather than what we enjoy and appreciate about our partners. Monotony invariably sets in and we are all subject to the routines of life like paying bills and housework. Make a conscious effort to focus on what you love about your partner and you’ll feel more attracted.
5. Improve the Mental and Emotional Connection
Communicate to feel more attracted! When we are emotionally and mentally connected, the physical connection is so much better. We all need an ally in life and feeling close and connected to someone is one of the free gifts that life gives us. Ensure you spend quality time together and talk about the important stuff, not just about the chores and what’s on the television. Get to know each other and stay connected. Do this on a regular basis and you increase the chances of maintaining attraction.
6. Check For Any Underlying Health Concerns
Some health issues can affect libido. Anxiety and exhaustion can cause a lack of libido. Drugs and alcohol, hormonal issues, depression and getting older can all affect our sex drive. If lack of libido has been an issue for over three months, go see your GP to check whether there is a health issue that needs to be addressed.
7. Practice Gratitude – Cognitive Behavioral Modification
Remind yourself regularly of all the things you appreciate about your partner. Get into the habit of regularly telling your partner of the things they have done that you appreciate. Some of my clients leave each other post-it notes two or three times a week, telling their partner of three things they appreciate. It could be something as simple as making each other a cup of tea/coffee or it could be appreciation over thoughtfulness or patience. Feeling important and validated by your partner definitely leads us to feel more attracted.
8. Do Some Thrill Seeking Together
In a classic experiment conducted by Arthur Aron, researchers gave couples a list of activities that were “pleasant” (such as cooking, going to the cinema or going out with friends) or “exciting” (skiing, ice skating, bungi jumping or attending concerts) but that they had enjoyed only infrequently. Each couple was instructed to select one of these activities each week and spend 90 minutes doing it together. At the end of ten weeks, the couples who engaged in the “exciting” activities reported greater satisfaction in their relationship than those who engaged in “pleasant” or enjoyable activities together.
Surprise and excitement are potent forces. When something novel occurs, we tend to pay attention, to appreciate the experience or circumstance, and to remember it. We are less likely to take our partners for granted when the relationship continues to deliver strong positive emotional reactions. Uncertainty sometimes enhances the pleasure of positive events and enables us to feel more attracted to our partners. For example, a series of studies conducted by researchers at the University of Virginia and at Harvard showed that people experienced longer bursts of happiness when they were at the receiving end of an unexpected act of kindness and remained uncertain about where and why it had originated. So, go ice skating, do something different and step out of your comfort zone together to reintroduce passion and connection.
9. Learn Each Other’s “Love Languages”
According to Gary Chapman, there are five languages of love. These are: quality time, acts of service, gifts, words of affirmation and physical touch. We all have preferences in the way we feel loved. For some of us, it is compliments (words of affirmation) and for others, it may be that spending quality time with their partner makes them feel loved. All five languages of love matter though and injecting these five elements into your relationship will promote closeness and help you to feel more attracted to each other.
10. Be Independent – Don’t Expect to Get All Your Needs Met by Your Partner
When we expect our partner to meet all our needs, we can end up feeling resentful when our partners are unable to meet our needs and expectations. It is unrealistic to expect your partner to be able to meet all your needs. Instead, be realistic – have a good group of friends and interests outside the relationship.
Attraction and feeling connected in a relationship is something that needs to happen on an ongoing basis or else other things will ‘crowd’ it out and take its place. Behave your way to success. Like the old adage: Use it or lose it. Eschew predictability in favor of discovery, novelty and opportunities for unpredictable pleasure and feel more attracted in the long term.