One of the most common questions that I get asked from my clients in relationships is “How do you stay attracted to someone you’ve been with for years?”
I’ve interviewed couples who have been married from a few months to 50+ years, and they all agree – sexual attraction ebbs and flows in every relationship.
Whether it’s because of your stress levels, busy schedules, or your partner’s parents are in town for the week and it has one or both of you in a bad mood, there are bound to be some roadblocks to your overall arousal levels.
But what if, lifestyle factors aside, it feels like you’ve been less attracted to your partner lately?
Here are five ways that you can stay attracted to a partner long-term, and shake off the cobwebs.
1. Look In The Mirror
A lot of times, the ups, and downs of sexual attraction in my clients’ relationships speak to how they currently feel about themselves.
When they are happy and have high self-esteem; their partner is the sexiest person in the world.
When they feel stressed, distracted, or down on themselves, then their partner seems to lose their appeal.
So, while it is easy to project our insecurities and bad moods on what’s most readily available (your partner), make sure that you look in the mirror and ask yourself if YOU feel attractive and emotionally fulfilled.
2. Give Yourself The Opportunity To Miss Them
We live in a hyper-connected world where everyone you love is just a text away. But excessive intimacy causes anxiety. And now, with a higher percentage of the world’s population living in mega-cities of millions of people, people are starting to feel the pinch.
If you are constantly around your partner, you won’t have the opportunity to miss them. They will start to feel like a burden more than a treat.
When you’re with your partner, give them your full attention. But when you’re away from them, get on with your life.
Let go of the need to text them every day. Build up your stories so that you have something to talk about when you meet up again in person.
Have your guys’ night, or go on weekend getaways, or have an exercise regime that does not include your partner.
Have some sense of independence and autonomy, so that when you meet up again, you’ve both been given the chance to think “Oh yeah… I really like them. I’m looking forward to seeing them again!”
3. Prime Your Brain With Appreciation
People’s brains have a funny way of needing to appear consistent with their words, actions, and thoughts.
So if you have been taking your partner for granted and not putting any effort into your relationship, your brain will rationalize “If I’m not putting any effort into this relationship… it must mean that I’m not that into her.”
But the reverse is also true. If you’ve found your desire waning recently in your relationship, simply by putting in more effort your mind will think “I’ve been putting so much effort into this relationship lately, I must really love my girlfriend/wife/partner a lot!”
There are two major ways that you can prime your brain with this kind of positive influence.
The first is active appreciation, and the second is to keep dating them.
Just like gratitude journaling, if you prime your mind to look for the positive feedback in your life, you will filter out even more positives. This has a beneficial, cascading effect that alters the way you see your entire life. And you can do this with your relationship.
Instead of thinking “She never puts effort into her looks anymore. She wears sweatpants around me half the time we’re at home”… you can reframe that as “I love how comfortable she is around me. She truly lets me see her like no one else gets to.”
Instead of “I hate how she puts me on the spot at social gatherings. She brings up my career and then expects me to carry the weight of the conversation”… you can reframe that as “Wow… she’s so proud of me and my accomplishments that she wants to see me shine in the eyes of my peers but goes through the effort of introducing the topic for me so I don’t seem like a show-off. She clearly cares about me.”