Kate Campbell, PhD, LMFT
Top 10 Ways to Fall Back in Love with your Partner
It’s fall, even though it doesn’t quite feel that way in sunny south Florida yet! Fall is often considered the most beloved of all the seasons and with good reason, too. The fall season brings with it a special kind of beauty; richer sunsets, the subtly changing colors of leaves, a reprieve from stifling summer heat with cooler temperatures (hopefully soon for us Florida folks), and the anticipation of the holiday season right around the corner.
Many seem to have capitalized on our current love of all things fall, from specialty coffee drinks only available during this season to the infamous Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
Fall can be its own kind of new year, not one marked on the calendar by January 1st, one that's marked in your mind or your heart as your turn over a new leaf. It’s the perfect opportunity to make a change you've been thinking about, or refresh yourself spiritually, mentally, physically, or emotionally.
Begin Again: Most might answer the question “Can you Fall Back in Love with your Partner?” with a resounding, “No” but the authors at Psychology Today have a different answer; “Yes”. The first step is to begin again. Begin your relationship again by acting the way you did when you first met.
Create New Memories: Part of the appeal of a new relationship is exactly that, it’s new! We’re learning so much about our partner in those first few days and months of the relationship, the novelty is taken for granted. You might find yourself thinking you know all there is about your partner after one, two, three years, or even a decade together. This isn’t true. Explore the new facets of your partner (and your relationship) by learning about what interests your partner now, what he or she likes or dislikes on TV, etc. You’ll find yourself surprised and intrigued as you learn about your partner’s growth and changes.
Listen to the Same Music: Music has the ability to transport us back in time, whether to happy or sad places. Perhaps there’s a song that comes on the radio and it immediately reminds you of your partner (the song you danced to at your wedding, on your first date, or just driving in the car with him or her). Take a minute to go back in time with a song that reminds you and your partner of good times.
Look in the Mirror: Sometimes, our own unhappiness gets in the way of our happiness with others. The old saying “You have to love yourself before you love someone else” rings true for relationships, especially those who feel the waning of romance. Unhappy at work? Unsatisfied with how you feel or look? All of these could be contributing to your less than enthusiastic relationship. Check-in with yourself to see if something within you needs to change.
Get Physical: As relationships, age so does the desire to be physically close with your partner, which is a shame because there are numerous benefits to cuddling. Cuddling releases all those feel-good chemicals in brains and strengthens bonding between partners. Think you already cuddle enough? Take up a physical activity together (running, biking, swimming, yoga, the list is endless!). You’ll get the added benefit of releasing those same feel-good chemicals while also getting healthier with your partner.
Create a Tradition: Traditions are fun things that individuals look forward to, no matter what time of year. I know a couple who buy a shot class every new place they visit for either vacation or work (their collection is extensive) and when one travels without the other, it makes for a nice memento to bring home.
Be Kind: It can be hard to practice kindness in a relationship when it’s feeling stale. Keep in mind that sometimes the children who most need love will ask for it in the most unloving of ways. Perhaps you’re frustrated with how your partner is behaving, either things done or undone, and you’re not feeling your most kind. Although now filing for divorce, Brad Pitt’s famous statement about the positive change in his wife upon showing her love is a lesson to all of us; when the flower doesn’t bloom, we don’t blame the flower, we look at the environment. Create a kind and positive environment for love to bloom.
Change Your Mind: “Change yourself and you change your world.” - Norman Vincent Peale. Our thoughts are our reality. If we think we are unhappy we will act accordingly. There is power in our thoughts and if we think that we are in love again with our partner, it’s true. So much of our world is shaped by our interpretation and our perception of events, we can get caught up in how we feel (or don’t feel) that we stop looking at what may be right in front of us. While your love might no longer be in Gottman’s Limerence phase of love, you and your partner may have moved into a deeper phase of love and as such can honor the strides you’ve made together.
Speak with Love: When you talk to your partner and about your partner to others, speak only from a place of love. This can be coupled with tip number 1 “Begin Again”. After some time, your partner’s goofy grin or penchant for taking an hour too long to get ready might wear on you. Remembering that these were the things that originally attracted you to your partner will help you choose your words carefully when speaking to you about your partner. Nothing is more toxic than speaking ill of your partner and when you open that door for yourself, you allow your partner to walk through it and speak disparagingly about you.
Set Goals Together: In dating, everyone wants to know when you’re getting engaged. After the engagement, everyone wants to know when you’re getting married. After marriage, they want to know when you’re having kids, etc. Slowly, the little goals you’ve set at the beginning of your relationship are completed and it might feel like there isn’t much more to look forward to. Set a goal together and work towards making that goal happen. Want to go on an around the world trip to Australia? Plan it! Want to finally buy that vacation home in the mountains? Go for it! This helps create those new memories we discussed in tip number two and gives you and your partner something to look forward to as the years pass by.
There you have it, the Top 10 Ways to Fall Back in Love with your Partner. Want to add your own tips? Or looking to find your own way to fall back in love with your partner? Dr. Kate Campbell is just a phone call (954. 391.5305 ext. 1) away. Dr. Kate provides pre-marital counseling, marriage therapy, and couples counseling in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.