It’s normal to feel different degrees of love towards your partner at different times. Lulls in a relationship can leave you feeling hopeless or doubtful, and it can be difficult to pinpoint why you lost that lovin’ feeling.
You may still love your partner and want it to work things out, but you can’t access that free flow of affection, the easy give-and-take, that made you light up and eagerly anticipate your time together.
Couples often lose love and affection when they mistake fantasy bonds and their illusions of safety and fusion for genuine love. But there are proactive steps you can take to reconnect and feel love again.
- Be kind.
Kindness truly is the key to staying in love. Acting kindly will make you feel more loving. Strive to be kind in all interactions with your partner. This will soften your partner, even when moments get heated. It will make you feel good about yourself and will encourage your partner to draw closer to you. And it will allow you to act more empathetically toward your partner.
- Don’t be critical.
Anyone in a relationship can start viewing their partner through a “critical lens,” which easily distorts things. It magnifies and focuses on your partner’s mistakes, catalogs their flaws, and keeps score. It’s far too easy when you live together to pick apart your partner and get annoyed with them. But it’s likely your partner already had these qualities, when you first got together.
People get critical with the one they love because they listen to their critical inner self. Your critical inner self encourages you to put yourself and your partner down. We’re all human and have real issues, but your critical inner self won’t help you resolve things.
To stay in love, listen to what your critical inner self is saying. Then actively resist its advice and attitudes. Adopt an honest and more compassionate attitude toward your partner. Don’t let your critical inner self drown out your affections.
- Communicate candidly.
Many couples struggle with communication. Talk about deeper issues. Tell your partner what’s really going on in your head. Ask what they’re feeling and thinking about. There will always be new things to learn about each other.
- Maintain individual interests.
Early in relationships, both partners still see themselves as individuals, so they maintain the personal attributes that fulfill them as independent individuals. It’s often these very qualities that made you fall in love with each other. Don’t forget how to be your own person. Nurture your own unique personal attributes, and extend the same courtesy to your partner.
Becoming a mere extension of your partner sacrifices a component of who you are. The opposite also is true. So, allow yourself and your partner to pursue individual interests. Don’t exert control or place restrictions based on insecurities. Don’t limit your ability to truly know each other. Love each other for who you are.
- Remember what you love about your partner.
Recall your partner’s characteristics that brought you joy, and reflect on what you appreciate and love. Which qualities do you admire? What about them amuses you? If you like their sense of adventure, find new activities to share. If their sense of humor delights you, be playful when you communicate. If you value their warmth and affection, connect with them daily before getting involved in other things.
- Keep sharing new experiences.
When people first fall in love, we’re the most open we’ll ever be. Falling in love means allowing an entirely new person become important to you and letting them influence your life. This openness is part of what creates sparks in a couple. Continuing to explore things together and to seek new experiences to share keeps the relationship exciting, vital and strong. Relationships can feel more routine and practical as they go on. But the responsibilities of things like kids, a household, and finances can also be an adventure, as long as you make sure you’re doing new things that help you both feel dynamic and passionate.
- Rediscover who you both were when you first fell in love.
When it feels like you’ve fallen out of love, you’re longing for the person you fell in love with as well as the person you were at that time. Time passes and we all evolve and grow, so rediscovering yourselves isn’t about becoming a previous version of yourself, or rejecting your development. Falling back in love will be an exercise in lowering our defenses to purely love yourself, your partner, and life in general.
- Don’t forego intimacy.
Physical affection makes couples feel more connected. It produces oxytocin, a neuropeptide in your brain that promotes feelings of bonding, trust, and devotion. When you’re stressed, busy, or distance yourself from your partner, it’s easy to stop showing affection. But even hugging or holding hands can encourage intimacy. Staying aware of your sexuality and sharing intimacy is an effective way to stay close to your partner.
- Vent negative feelings in healthy ways.
It’s okay to be frustrated or angry. Nobody’s perfect. But stewing in your anger and keeping score in preparation for a blowup are not productive strategies for finding relief and feeling affection for your partner. Venting isn’t meant to justify your anger. It’s to find relief through the release of your feelings. This will lead you to a rational, calmer point of view.
These steps are all easier said than done. Staying in love means staying in touch with all of your feelings. Being in love opens you up to experiencing real loss. Hurt exists, and it can be easier to live at a distance than letting yourself trust. Falling back in love is not tumbling passively into the past. It’s an active leap of faith you continue taking each day you’re together.