When you start a relationship, you spend your time wooing this person. The goal, in theory, is to create this connection. You make the effort to think of them and you find ways to make them feel special. You call them beautiful/handsome and compliment their talents and accomplishments. The flirting is strawberry bubblegum sweet. The sending of a text when you wake up doesn’t seem silly, you want to make sure they know you’re thinking of them. When there are kids, it’s even more important to make sure you find things to do together.
I don’t know why it happens, but these things inevitably fall away. The compliments and flirting go away. Time away gets lost in the day-to-day tasks and events. Before long, you’re only doing things on special occasions. Or worse, keeping only set weekly plans like an old married couple :p. Not that being a married couple is bad, but the old part? I love JFTP’s thing: “Let’s grow old together, not be old together”.
Anyway, things can completely deteriorate when you forget about being a couple. Fights, feelings of being ignored and unloved, a general decline in the relationship. Then you add the kid factor and you have a recipe for disaster, no matter how much you love each other. Here are some things I think couples can do to keep the relationship from sinking.
Putting your relationship on auto-pilot does you no favors. You cannot expect things to grow themselves. Any relationship, romantic or otherwise, is like a garden. It needs to be paid attention to if you want to see growth.
Good day? Talk. Bad day? Talk. Angry? Frustrated? Happy? Talk. And when you do it, don’t blame and accuse, but THINK. Is it True? Helpful? Important? Necessary? Kind?
Get Out Together
Just because you’ve been together for 1, 5, 100 years, doesn’t mean the romance should be gone. Go out on dates. Spend time anywhere without the kids. You can make anything into a romantic day or evening if you have the proper mindset.
Remember the Little Things
A text in the middle of the day. Flowers for no reason. A hug or kiss. A sincere compliment. Or a surprise dinner date. They’re not earth-shattering but can make someone’s day.
Keep it Fresh
Like I said, don’t get old. Mix things up! The restaurant, music, pub, lingerie ;). Take a class together. Go to a museum. Something. Anything. The key thing is to keep jumping the vast chasm of domesticity. Don’t let shit get stale, or everything will start to mold.
When I talked to my DSM about it, she said that we need to remember I am a packaged deal. Well, no sh*t. But being parents (or a parent and “mom’s boyfriend”) isn’t all we are. And we have to take care of us. I love him. I’m not going down without a fight.