The honeymoon period is over. You’ve been together for a year and things already feel a little different. That feeling of wanting to spend every second together has dissipated and those niggling habits that you once thought were so adorable are starting to grind. It’s tempting to start nagging your way through or questioning whether your partner is the perfect match you always thought they were, you might also start to think of someone else… Well don’t. It’s time to put the brakes on this kind of thinking and get realistic.
Realism and romanticism are not great bedfellows, but realism will win every time in this game we call love. Things won’t always be as they once were, but before you start slipping down that particular slope, put these actions into place to keep your relationship fresh and alive beyond honeymoon period.
1. Don’t get stressed and anxious
Bringing home stresses from work and not being able to switch off will really damage a relationship in the long-term. We all get stressed, however we must remember to not project our frustrations onto each other. Being stressed and anxious all the time will only curtain sexual desire and ability. Try to be mindful during the day either by setting aside time to meditate, taking a little walk or doing things together as a couple. Working together as a couple to reduce stress will benefit both partners. You could try losing weight together, going to a yoga class or simply spending time together away from the house. It will help to keep the bond and reduce stress.
2. Take some time and space
The greatest relationship we all have is with ourselves. When we begin a relationship, our identities become intertwined with our partners. We mould into each other and all too soon, we become a ‘we’ instead of a ‘me’. Vital then, once the honeymoon period is over to start finding ourselves again. Take some time out and spend some quality time alone each day. It could be grabbing a coffee and a cake in your favourite cafe, or having a long soak. Take at least half an hour a day to be alone with your thoughts. You can survive this time without a partner and sometimes it’s nice to just be with your own company. Also, check your thinking if your thoughts are telling you that time apart means separation. It doesn’t.
3. Create your routines
Perhaps, Monday night is your partner’s turn to cook a romantic meal, Tuesday is a girls and boys night out and, Wednesday is a little walk in the park after dinner. Try to build structure around your week and don’t just resign yourself to a lifetime in front of the TV. Set aside time, maybe on a Saturday to sit down and discuss any issues or problems. Doing this every week means little niggles don’t become huge problems and things get sorted as and when they come up. Saturday is a great time to have a Date and relive all those honeymoon moments. If money is an issue, some of the nicest things to do together are very cheap or completely free. A little picnic in the park, a trip to the cinema, or drive in the countryside, even making Sunday a Sunday Roast day are all fun and inexpensive things to do.
4. Go on a date
It’s time to rekindle those fires and remember what it felt like to date each other. If you can, arrange to meet after work, or at least when you’ve spent some time apart. Get dressed up, buy some new perfume or aftershave and prepare yourself for a ‘date’. Going to a romantic restaurant will soon get you in the mood for love and you’ll feel instantly transported back to a time when you felt that tingling sensation. The important thing is that you both make the effort. Don’t be tempted to not dress up or to get a takeaway, make the effort to be the person your partner fell in love with.
5. Sort out the chores
It might sound really boring but having a household rota for chores and cleaning can really take the pressure of your relationship. It’s difficult to get sexy if one party feels they are responsible for all the housework. Balance is key in any relationship and being resentful has never been a turn-on for anyone. Find time to work out who does what and stick to it. If you feel overwhelmed by cleaning, tidying and organising then pull back from the activities and set some boundaries. Often people aren’t aware of our frustrations unless we make them super clear, so be explicit and say what you want.
6. Keep your sex life exciting
We hear a lot about sex becoming a distant memory after the honeymoon period has ended. It’s really important to disregard these common misconceptions and create your own view of sex in a long-term relationship. Some couples have lots of sex after the honeymoon period has waned and some couples have hardly any at all. Be honest and discuss what works for you both. Identify what foreplay you enjoy? What sex means to you and ask what kind of sex you both want? Also discuss the regularity of sex, how often is it ok to have sex? How often do you need it? Spend time creating a ‘sex wants and desires list’ for both of you and talk openly about what you want to try and what you don’t want to try. It helps to do this separately to avoid any coercion from both parties. Admitting what you want from a relationship in a sexual sense is a very brave, strong move to make and one that will make a relationship last. After the honeymoon period many of us are guilty of letting our appearance slip and perhaps not looking as good as we once did. It’s vital for our own mental health and our sex lives to keep up appearances and retain our looks. Always make sure to dress up and look sexy for a partner, this keeps things alive and allows that sexual energy to continue for a long time to come.
Another idea is to have a ‘sexual wish jar’. Each partner should find a small container or vase and when the mood takes you, write down your ‘sexual wishes’ on a slip of paper. Pop these in the jar if you are too shy to communicate your wishes. Then, whenever the occasion arise, take out a slip of paper from your partner’s jar and enjoy the activity. Make sure sex isn’t ‘just sex’ and be sure to incorporate foreplay, massage and other things like listening to soothing music and lighting candles into your love life. Ensure that 50% of your intimate times are simply about holding, kissing and loving each other.