As I mentioned earlier this week, I think fall is the most romantic time of year. Nights are long, the scenery is gorgeous, the drinks are hot, and the weather is perfect for cuddling. Fall is the perfect time to fall in love, but what if you’re already in a long term relationship? Don’t worry! You don’t have to miss out on the fun. Here are 3 easy tips to help you fall in love with your partner all over again, no matter how long you’ve been together…
1. Leave your comfort zone … together. My boyfriend Nick and I had already been together for 7 years when we decided to take a leave of absence from our jobs and explore Europe for a month and a half. Seeing him navigate this new situation, and the way we leaned on each other when we were confused or overwhelmed, really did make me see him in a new light, and my love and respect for him grew as a result. The same thing happened when we moved to a new city together. Taking your relationship out of its usual context and watching your partner respond to challenges will give you a new appreciation for them (and them for you!). Traveling is a great way to do this, but it can also be achieved by taking an art class together, learning to scuba dive, or any shared experience that takes you both out of your comfort zone.
2. Be a better listener. When we get to know people really well, we often assume that we know everything about them, and our listening skills start to lag. We cut each other off, mumble “that’s nice, honey” while flipping through a magazine, or impatiently wait for our turn to talk instead of asking questions. One way to renew your love for your partner? Make a vow to really, truly listen to them. Focus on them when they’re talking. Ask thoughtful follow-up questions. Treat your partner like a fascinating stranger you’re eager to get to know better, and it won’t be long til you find yourself nursing a fresh crush.
3. Don’t stop dating. Like most people in LTRs, I tend to skip over dating advice, assuming it doesn’t apply to me. And while it’s true that tips for navigating OK Cupid or breaking things off with a clingy one-night stand might not be relevant to my relationship, dating shouldn’t stop just because you’re in a relationship. No matter how long you’ve been together, keep dating your partner. Keep seeking out fun new date ideas. Keep getting dressed up for special occasions. Keep planning romantic nights together. Keep being spontaneous. The more you can bring that fun, exciting, dating energy into your established relationship, the less you’ll take your partner for granted. And hey, maybe by your third date, you’ll want to take them home with you.
[Photo of couple in leaves via Shutterstock]