Remember a time when you couldn't keep your hands off your partner? When with one look, one touch, you'd spend all day glowing in what felt like an all-consuming passion?
You used to have endless energy and time for romance and lovemaking, but now that you've been together a while, things have changed. Your days are filled with to-do lists and social obligations rather than steamy all-nighters and love notes. When your partner caresses you, you might get sleepy rather than turned on. A nap or watching TV might sound better than sex. You love your partner, but maybe you're just not "feeling it" anymore.
When we first fall in love, the romantic thrill happens effortlessly because pleasure-boosting hormones create a neuro-chemical cocktail that drive us toward greater intimacy. Nothing is more important than being with that one person who makes you feel like you're on fire. It certainly didn't take planning or feel like work to keep the flames of lust burning and your interest in one another growing.
Unfortunately, this euphoria rarely last forever, especially when the demands and responsibilities of real life take over. Suddenly, there's precious little time or energy left over in your day for an affectionate caress, an intimate conversation or a night of romance.
It isn't long before your partner seems more like a roommate than a lover. You lay down each night next to a person who feels miles away from you. You begin to wonder if you even know each other anymore. When this emotional disconnect starts to happen, you're entering the danger zone.
For monogamous couples, is it just a matter of time before the romance is dead and the relationship begins to drift apart?
Not necessarily. It depends on the little things you do on a daily basis that can mean the difference between a passionate, thriving relationship and one that's on a slow death walk towards infidelity or divorce.
Is it really possible to keep the passion and romance alive after 5, 10, 20 years together?
Absolutely. Giving each other a daily dose of what I call the 3 A's -- attention, appreciation and affection -- are the critical factors in keeping any relationship alive with interest and desire.
If taking a nap, watching TV, being on Facebook or chatting with friends sounds better than making love to you, here are six strategies to immediately apply to get the enthusiasm and closeness back in your relationship, pronto!
PHOTOS: 6 Passion-Boosting Tips for Your Relationship
You get out of your relationship what you invest into it. When you make daily love "deposits" of attention, appreciation and affection into your relationship account, you'll be able to maintain a healthy and sexy love "balance." By following these six simple strategies and making love a priority in your life, everything else in your life will feel a whole lot sweeter.
Sheri Meyers, Psy.D is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA, and author of Chatting or Cheating: How to Detect Infidelity, Rebuild Love, and Affair-Proof Your Relationship.
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