| || |
| || || | The secret of fancying your long-term partner, according to Hollywood legend Bette Davis, is: “separate bedrooms and separate bathrooms.”
Alas, we don’t all share Bette’s bank balance – or that of Catherine Zeta Jones or Princess Michael of Kent, two other successfully-married women who’ve quoted Ms Davis’s line.
But even when you’re living (and sleeping, and brushing your teeth) in each other’s pockets, there are many ways to keep the romantic fires burning in a long-term relationship.
Here are 10 simple, everyday ways to keep your lust alive.
- Flirt with your partner
The most successful long-term couples never stop giving each other the eye. Check out the red-hot body language of Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart, together for eight years and still up for a nuzzle on the red carpet. Why is flirting so important? It’s about showing an interest in someone, whether they’re a stranger or the person you share your life with. Flirt with your partner by looking them in the eye when they talk; touching their arm or putting your head on their shoulder; or simply by chatting to them about your day. Don’t turn into one of those couples who hardly exchange a word until there’s a “discussion” to be had. Never stop paying them compliments. Tell them how nice they look, how much you appreciate their work around the house, or whatever else you appreciate them for. They need to hear it.
- Have sex
You needn’t go as far as Charla Muller, who gave husband Brad a “birthday gift” of sex every day for one year. “We’d been married for eight years, and I wanted to reconnect with Brad,” says Charla. Sex becomes a chore if you do it every day out of obligation. However, there is a lot to be said for doing it often. If you let it wane to once every few weeks, then every couple of months, it soon becomes once in a blue moon – or never. Sex matters because it’s a powerful way to feel attractive and express desire. Some doctors even claim that the more sex you have, the more you’ll want: regular sex produces hormones that boost your libido and romantic attachment.
- Give each other space
The couples who stay interested in each other are not the ones who cling on for dear life. Human beings are individuals, and even the most loving couples can’t be in each other’s presence 24 hours a day. Give each other space to see friends and pursue your own interests. You need time to look forward to seeing each other, and separate experiences give you things to talk about. And if you can’t afford Bette-style separate bathrooms, at least shut the loo door!
- Go on dates
If you only ever see each other at home, is it any wonder that your partner has become part of the furniture? Get out and have fun together. Try somewhere new, revisit a date venue from years ago, or have a multi-venue date: an aperitif at a bar, dinner at your favourite restaurant and sweets in the cab home. Even going out for a walk together gives you a chance to chat, exercise and hold hands. It’s a much underrated mini-date.
- Buy presents
Don’t break the bank (especially if you share an account). The pressies with the greatest impact are often the cheaper ones that require thought and effort. Boost the romantic value of your gift by sending it through the post. So what if you’re living together? Whether it’s a love letter, a book ordered online or a “treat pack” of mini pressies, its arrival by post will thrill your partner. And never forget that we all love to receive flowers – men included.
- Make romantic gestures
Dirty weekends aren’t just for new lovers. If you have the time and cash, whisk your partner away for a surprise break. Time away from everyday stress can remind you how much you enjoy each other’s company. But like gifts, loving gestures don’t have to be pricey. Love notes are a timeless expression of romance. Write messages of love and appreciation, and leave them where your partner will find them – in the fridge, under their keyboard, wrapped around their toothbrush. Another all-time favourite is breakfast in bed. Get up early and dish up a feast of pancakes with whipped cream. You may find alternative uses for the cream once the pancakes have gone.
- Do the chores
It may not seem as romantic as a ticket to Paris, but they’ll be thrilled to come home to find that you’ve secretly cleaned the house. Cooking dinner often turns into a chore when you’ve been together for a while, so try to recapture the romance of your early dinners together. Send your partner an invitation and give them a candlelit restaurant experience in your own front room. You can be chef, waiter and dessert.
- Pamper each other
Have a hot bubble bath waiting for your partner when they come home from a hard day at work. Give them a massage after the bath, and let one thing lead to another. Romance means looking after yourself, too. Marriage or a long-term relationship isn’t permission to let yourself go. You may be off the market, but you’ll still get a buzz (and self-respect) from looking good for your partner.
- Make public displays of affection
Haven’t held hands in years? Why not? There are few sights more romantic than an elderly couple holding hands as they walk down the street. Casual touching, hugging and hand-holding does a lot to strengthen your bond and improve your sex life, no matter what age you are. Also keep up your kissing. A kiss doesn’t have to lead to sex – it’s an intimate gesture in itself, full of warmth and expression.
- Say “I love you”
The first time you said those three little words, they meant everything. So don’t let them fade into silence, or save them for when you’ve had a fight. Say “I love you” because you want to, and because you mean it.
Illustration from Clyde Mendes column at MetroSexual LA
| || |