How To Reinvigorate (and Maintain) Passion In Your Long-Term Relationship

This month's Guest Wellness Editor, Lisa Hochberger, reminds us why it's important to keep the infatuation alive in even the most comfortable, years-long relationships.
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We're so excited to have holistic sexologist Lisa Hochberger sitting in as our Guest Wellness Editor for August. She's sharing her insights on sex and dating in our modern world, all month long. 

Cozying up on the couch, indulging in a piece of warm apple pie, sleeping in on a Sunday morning — these are just a few things that bring us comfort. Comfort keeps us sane. It helps ease our minds after a long day of work and unwind after a wild night out. Comfort is the light at the end of the tunnel, It is support. It is something or someone you can rely on. It is love.

Love has several different phases and forms, though, and some are more comfortable than others. On average, passionate love (sometimes called romantic love) lasts between six months and two years. It comes in quickly like a storm and is characterized by a desire-filled whirlwind of infatuation. It’s the “can’t eat, can’t sleep, can’t do my work” phase of a relationship, when two people become fixated on each other and the obsession grows as they learn all about each other through mind and body exploration.

Passionate love is hot and sexy, but lacks intimacy, which requires a deep-rooted compassion and understanding of one another. In the long run, a relationship without intimacy can be a recipe for disaster. The connection is difficult to sustain without true trust and bonding — the “passion storm” settles over time, and without a strong foundation, it blows over.

On the other hand, solid and stable roots create intimacy that allows passionate love to shift towards compassionate love. Compassionate love is what keeps healthy relationships going, and it brings comfort in the process.

The problem is, some of that infatuation has to stick around, too. As intimacy develops, that fiery infatuation can completely unravel, leaving at least one partner craving that original sense of excitement. It can be hard to find that balance between passion and comfort, but it’s important to know how to keep the former alive in order to fully appreciate the latter.

1. Sign up for an activity that's out of your (and your partner's) comfort zone.

Any fresh challenge brings a certain amount of risk. Will you be able to complete it? If you are able to complete it, will you be able to do it without humiliation? Sign up for a workout class together, participate in a quiz night a bar, or even visit an amusement park. Any activity that makes you and your partner just a little curious and nervous can provide an opportunity for you two to build new bonds, as you wobble side by side.

2.  Plan a special outing together. 

Thrill-seeking isn't for everyone, so planning something a bit more classically romantic might feel better for you and your partner. Be careful not to try to make this romantic evening too perfect, though, because that can add a lot of unnecessary pressure, with high expectations squashing the sexy sense of surprise. Try spending a weekend away to focus on enjoying each other's company, or simply plan a picnic at a park where you two can have some low-key privacy from the chaos back at home.

3. Make time for something sexy. 

Touch is important. Not only is it physically enjoyable, but it can also create a feeling of emotional support. Especially after a stressful day of work, a massage could be just what your partner needs to remove the tension and empower the passion in your relationship, so try lighting candles around your bedroom and experimenting with massage oils (like these ones from Inttimo by Wet).  If a massage night feels too forced, book a couples massage at a spa — anything that brings the two of you together through touch can mix passion and intimacy together in the perfect way.

4. Use consistency to your advantage.

Keeping a relationship filled with passion is all about intentional consistency. Mark your calendar for date nights once a week. Form a tradition with one another. How sexy can a Sunday be if you always begin it with breakfast in bed? To keep the fire burning in your relationship, you have to make the conscious effort to stoke the flames.

p.s. Unattached, but struggling to date with confidence? Lisa has tips for that, too.