Have you and your partner lost that loving feeling? Relationships can be tricky to navigate at the best of times. Throw the pandemic into the mix, and it’s really no surprise that divorce rates have skyrocketed in the past few months. So if you are needing to reboot your relationship, you’re not alone. We asked the experts to share their tips on how to get back on track with your significant other.
1. Live in the present
It’s unrealistic to wish you had the same waistline now that you had in your 20s. So is trying to recreate the fireworks you felt when you first met. ‘Time changes a relationship,’ says Neil Wilkie, author of Reset: Finding a New Course After Drifting Apart. ‘Things can’t be the same as they were before careers, age, money and life changes.’
If you want to reboot your relationship, you’ll need to focus on the one that’s realistic and achievable. Work towards goals of mutual respect, appreciation and having fun in each other’s company. It could be something as simple as booking a date night once a fortnight, and sticking to it.
2. Focus on listening
‘A troubled relationship often has a lack of communication, with arguments going round in circles,’ says Neil. One way to ensure that both of you have an equal say could be to combine an open discussion with – wait for it – a head massage. ‘The person receiving the head massage listens, while the person giving the massage talks,’ suggests Jasveer Matharu, founder of women’s holistic wellness app Elara Care.
‘Plus, if someone is in a relaxed state, they’re more likely to respond in a supportive manner.’ Search ‘Indian head massage’ for demos to get the right technique. Head massages not your partner’s thing? Listen to where there relaxation and comfort lie – perhaps they’d feel better getting a foot massage!
3. Make new memories
‘One of the best ways to rekindle a romance is to experience new things togetehr,’ says Dr Laura Vowels, principle researcher and therapist at sex therapy app Blueheart. ‘It doesn’t have to be extravagant, but it can help broaden your mindset. Doing it with your partner can strengthen the bond between you both. Sometimes it can help you see your partner in a new light.’
Talking of massages though, why not create new memories with these deals on couples massages?
4. Be open
Communicating honestly is the key to reboot your relationship. Sparing someone’s feelings now can only lead to more pain later down the line. ‘Be honest with your partner,’ says Samantha Evans, sexual wellness expert and co-founder of Jo Divine. If you feel that you can’t do that alone, give counselling a go. Look beyond the stigma because not only is counselling a useful tool but more normal and common than you think!
‘It can make a real difference. Breakthroughs normally come within the first three sessions after couples have been able to truly listen, understand the root cause of the problems and have started to change their behaviours,’ says Neil.
5. Get together and change the way you watch Netflix
These days we spend much of our downtime watching screens. While we are always trying to minimise this, it’s a habit that can be tweaked to reboot your relationship. Especially if you tend to binge-watch solo. ‘Watching TV separately, but at the sam time, can be deadly for a relationship – you are fixed on a screen, not engaging with each other,’ explains relationship expert Jessica Leoni. ‘Even worse, you lead separate lives in separate rooms.’
The solution is simple, but can help to create a bond. ‘If you are both into the same series, don’t get ahead of each other,’ says Jessica. ‘Watch together and talk about what you liked and why with a glass of wine afterwards.’
6. Express gratitude
‘If you’ve been in a relationship for a while, it can be easy to take each other for granted,’ says Dr Vowels. ‘Identify and express gratitude for the things your partner does for you throughout the week, whether that’s making you lunch or saying something kind.’ a simple, heartfelt ‘thank you’ can do wonders.
7. Take small steps to sex
‘Desire discrepancy is normal, with most couples experiencing a dramatic drop after only two years,’ says sex and relationship expert Megwyn White. There are many reasons that sex gets put on the back-burner, especially in a long-term relationship.
‘Focus on small steps,’ advises Megwyn. ‘You don’t need to conquer the issue by having full intercourse. You may make compromises by starting with cuddling, holding hands or even just making sustained eye contact – anything that will support you and your partner getting closer together.’ If you’re at the stage where you need to reboot your relationship, it is often less about sex and more about intimacy.
8. Be wary of grand gestures
If you struggle to express yourself verbally, small gestures can make a big difference – but the emphasis is on small. ‘Picking up their favourite snacks when you go shopping, or putting on their favourite film if they’ve had a long day, shows them you care,’ Dr Vowels says. ‘These are more meaningful than extravagant displays of affection in helping your partner feel valued.’ Plus smaller gestures are easier for your partner to reciprocate. Take money and large amounts of energy or time out of the equation in favour of meaning.
9. Try going to bed naked
‘Get into bed together naked – not for sex, just to lie together,’ says Jasveer. Remember, intimacy! ‘Removing clothing lowers barriers and creates vulnerability between a couple, to allow for conversation and connection. Do this when you’ve had a good day together, to create a positive and safe association with being naked.’
10. Don’t pile on the pressure
‘Avoid becoming too dependent on your partner to fulfil your happiness. It can put strain on a relationship,’ says Carolyne Bennet, advanced law of attraction coach. Emotional support is essential in a partnership, but emotional dependency can become toxic. For example, if you feel upset by something in daily life, be your own “hero” by empowering yourself to solve it, rather than immediately looking to your partner to sort it out for you.
Troubling emotional dependence often stems from feeling insecure in childhood – if it’s a long-term problem for you, therapy can help.
Cover image by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash.