Desire

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Does the “honeymoon phase” feel like a distant memory? You’re not alone. The intense attraction and desire in the beginning of relationships can get lost in the shuffle of daily activities, little disagreements, and becoming familiar with your partner. Long-term relationships can seem like a double-edged sword; you gain a sense of comfort from being able to rely on your partner; but, sometimes, this attachment and dependence can actually decrease desire and lust in your relationship. At this point, people may begin to question whether they are still in love with their partner since the initial excitement has dulled.

Here’s the good news: It’s completely normal for relationships to go through stages. Desire, romance, intimacy, and attraction need to be fostered throughout relationships. The key is for each person to maintain a balance between their pre-relationship lives in addition to co-creating their lives as a couple. When couples make the mistake of becoming too close by merging their likes, interests, and hobbies with their partners, they end up loosing their individual selves. Too many people depend on their partner to be the sole source of their happiness, which creates an unhealthy dynamic and puts a lot of pressure on the relationship. Part of being human and vulnerable in relationships is allowing others to affect you; but, ultimately, your happiness depends on you. Keep creating a life you love regardless of your relationship status. Follow these tips to increase desire and help remind your partner why they fell in love with you in the first place:

1. Nerd out.

When your partner is doing something they’re passionate about, they exude radiance and confidence2, which is incredibly sexy and attractive. Although women are stereotyped to be more needy than men in relationships, 93% of women in a recent study noted that having their own hobbies is important in relationships1. Intelligence and passion about a hobby or career is very enticing and exciting to be around. While sharing something you care a lot about can feel vulnerable at times, don’t be afraid to share this enthusiasm with your partner; it will bring you closer.

2. Don’t be so serious.

Life can get serious and “real” quickly. When you get to know your partner and share your own needs, you’ll be able to figure out when to be serious and when you need lighten things up! One of my favorite quotes is: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.” Laughter is universal and contageous3. Remind your partner to play, enjoy, and find a balance between life’s challenges and having fun! Desire and attraction in relationships increase when you laugh together2 . In fact, the sign of a healthy relationship is, partly, characterized by how often the female laughs3. While laughter in relationships has been shown to decline dramatically as people age3, finding new ways to laugh and enjoy each other’s company will help maintain attraction and make you happier!

3. Break out of your rut.

With the daily grind, it can be easy to fall into a repetitive routine. Bring some spontaneity to your life by shaking things up a bit every now and then. Where there is novelty, there is desire! When we have new experiences the reward system in our brain gets activated, releasing chemicals called dopamine and norepinephrine, which are also seen in the early stages of romance and will make you want to spend more time together1. Translation: Spice up date night!

4.Take time apart.

No, I’m not telling you to take a break from your relationship. Having personal space in relationships is important for both men and women. Keep important aspects of your pre-relationship life while creating a life with your partner. Desire is reignited when you’re reunited with your partner after a separation2. Having your own time and space will make spending time with your partner that much more special.

1Dr. Helen Fisher http://www.ted.com/talks/helen_fisher_studies_the_brain_in_love.html

2Esther Perel:

http://www.ted.com/playlists/6/sex_can_we_talk.html

3 Marano, H.E. (2003). Retrieved from: http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200304/the-benefits-laughter

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Lindsay O'Shea helps singles navigate the dating world more effectively and efficiently. For over a decade, Lindsay has immersed herself in the science of love and relationships, in addition to obtaining a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology, in order to share the key points with you. Lindsay teaches tools to help make a good first impression, save time by recognizing hidden data points to see if your date is a match faster and master online and offline dating to build an intimate connection. Join Lindsay's List for more!

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