What are some things I can do to fall back in love with my partner?
January 4, 2009 7:31 PM   Subscribe

Have you ever fallen out of love with your partner, worked at it, and fallen back IN love with he or she? If so, how did you do it? What would you recommend?

My partner and I are in our early thirties and have been together for just under two years. Our relationship has been nice and stable without much drama. We were never really "crazy in love," but we do love each other, and the relationship just works. Now, I don't know what triggered it, but recently I felt like a switch turned off in my head. I looked at him, and I thought, "I don't think I can continue this." But I want to continue it. It's a good relationship. I'm just losing interest for some strange reason, and that scares me. I'm thinking that maybe it's just gotten a little stale, and we need to shake things up. I realize that this relationship could have simply run its course, but I'd like to give it a real try before I call it quits (or he does... maybe I'm not the only one who's bored!).

Any tips on rekindling a romance gone stale? Any personal stories from people who've experienced this same situation and overcome it?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (18 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
I have not overcome this, but I have failed to overcome it, and I promise you that the answer is sex. Lots of it, and better.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:52 PM on January 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

I'm in the same boat. My partner is my best friend, so in a way I don't want to move on from him. I'm trying to work it out by having regular dates and, as potomac put it, a lot of sex.

Is the sex still good?
posted by big open mouth at 7:55 PM on January 4, 2009

Sex is good. Also, is it possible you just don't like your life right now and are seeing him as the problem? How's work? Your family? Is there anything else going on to give you the blahs?
posted by Lesser Shrew at 8:01 PM on January 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

LTRs have ups and downs. Go with the flow.
posted by k8t at 8:16 PM on January 4, 2009 [6 favorites]

are you long distance?
posted by sweetkid at 8:20 PM on January 4, 2009

Seconding k8t. After two years you may lose some of the frisson, but good loving relationships are wonderful things. What's more, with an little curiosity, you'll find that you can discover and appreciate your partner in ways that you can't even imagine just now. People have amazing depth to them, if you just take the time and interest to find out. My wife is an immensely complex person, much more than I even would have realized when we first me.

Losing interest is a little like being bored, it says as much about you as about him. The question, I guess, is why?
posted by leotrotsky at 8:28 PM on January 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

In my experience, and from what I've observed in others, it's pretty normal to go through a period of doubt/friction around the two year mark. That's normally when the crazy newness of the relationship has worn off and you see your partner as really human--with all sorts of human flaws--for the first time.

But, if you've never been crazy in love with the guy, these flaws should be old hat to you. While it's normal to have passion wax and wane, I do think that you're short-shrifting yourself if you stay in a relationship where your feelings never fully wax. Maybe the sex is lacking, or maybe the relationship lacks in other ways, but would you really be okay with waking up fifty years from now to realize that you'd never felt little lightning bolts of passion for the old dude beside you, despite the presence of a mature, platonic appreciation?

I guess what I'm saying is that, sure, passions change over time, and you can probably get through it, but it might be more fair to both of you to just be friends, if that's what you really are, because there's no reason why you can't feel passionately toward a partner and have a functional, stable relationship.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:42 PM on January 4, 2009 [4 favorites]

My Mum gave me a piece of advice when I was a few years into my first ltr and it was all feeling a little stale. She told me to take a few hours and make a list of everything I liked about him, every little thing. It was an excellent exercise for rekindling appreciation and love.
posted by Kerasia at 8:48 PM on January 4, 2009 [3 favorites]

Why not take a short vacation by yourself for a week, just being away from him and ask the same from him. By being away, you might be able to search your feelings better and no doubt will be thinking of him more.
posted by thomasck at 8:57 PM on January 4, 2009

My traditional role as hopeless romantic means that I am here to say:

It sounds like you are valuing safety and security and "niceness", which is fine. Heck, it can even be appealing, especially if you have been in many high-drama relationships before. But it's only really going to continue if you can accept that you're deliberately trading your chances for real love and passion (and heartbreak, and suffering) for that.

If that's a deal you can take and be content with, do it. Be happy.

If not... well you can't add such things on purpose after the fact, so you should move on and take some more chances.
posted by rokusan at 9:20 PM on January 4, 2009 [3 favorites]

On one of these here threads, somebody related a story about his/her parents that has always stayed with me. It was quite simple, really: whenever they hit a rough spot, they would go away for a trip -- even if only for the weekend -- that forced them to do something neither of them had ever done before. It revitalized their relationship by making them see new aspects of each other (and discovering new aspects of themselves in the other one's company).

I thought it was sweet advice, and better yet, it was time-tested! Her parents had been happily married for several decades.
posted by artemisia at 9:20 PM on January 4, 2009 [34 favorites]

What are some things I can do to fall back in love with my partner?

It sounds to me like you never really "fell" in the first place. Not a bad thing necessarily - the "falling" bit often blinds people to the reality of whether this person is a good match, long term. Anyway, to clarify where you stand on this issue, I recommend that you go away on a trip by yourself, or with old friends, or spend a weekend doing an activity that reconnects you to your pre-relationship identity, if that applies.

Spending a decent amount of time alone was the only way I worked out that I was never going to fall back in love with my previous partner. Likewise, time away from my current SO helped me come to the surprising (given the circumstances) conclusion that I actually loved him quite a bit!

So I would say book a holiday or take a weekend trip by yourself, rather than with him. You need space to work out how you feel.
posted by Weng at 9:46 PM on January 4, 2009

i.e., what thomasck said.
posted by Weng at 9:47 PM on January 4, 2009

Hanging out with other people always makes me appreciate my partner more. An brief vacation sounds like an even better way to do that.
posted by redsparkler at 9:48 PM on January 4, 2009

Are you taking time to BE together, to pay attention to each other? It's easy, when you live with someone, to each live separate lives in the same space and lose track of each other. Make time to sit together with TV and computers off and talk about your lives - even the boring stuff. Go out together, to dinner and a movie, or a sporting event, or for a long walk in the cold, or go to the gym together, but do something where you're together, just the two of you, and you're deliberately being with one another. Hold hands. Kiss. Be silly. Do something sexy and surprising. Have sex often - initiate it - even if you're not in the mood make sure you have it. Mix it up in bed a little, even if it feels weird, just try to enjoy yourselves. Look into each others' eyes. Read the same books, one after the other. Play a computer game together, or watch a TV show together, or send each other a million little e-mails over the course of each week day. Think about your life together, and how great it is, and how much better your life is now that you're together, compared to when you were apart. Be realistic, and tell yourself: "There are a lot of other people in the world I could have fallen in love with, I could have been happy with, but this is the person I've chosen to love and be happy with, and it's great."
posted by croutonsupafreak at 10:21 PM on January 4, 2009 [16 favorites]

If you keep this secret from your partner, and you have to keep acting as if you're feeling the way you always have, that can be unbearable. Do you have any moments of feeling calm, contemplative, and accepting of it, like "Hmm, yes, I'm feeling that 'can't continue,' stale feeling with my partner. It's about a 7 on the 1-10 scale right now, and I can tune in and notice it getting sometimes more intense, and sometimes less"? If you can, see if you can let your partner in on the secret, maybe just a baby step first, so you don't have to hide it by yourself. It's a risk, but the act of doing that is anything but stale -- it's real intimacy.
posted by daisyace at 5:11 AM on January 5, 2009 [3 favorites]

When I hear about situations like this, I often think of an anecdote I read years ago. A therapist said that a client of his enthused to him about how attracted she was to a co-worker of hers, that they had so much in common and connected so well because of it. Why, they even had the same favourite movie! The therapist asked his client, "What is your husband's favourite movie?" She didn't know.

If you don't know either, get to know your partner again, using the ideas in this thread.
posted by orange swan at 5:31 AM on January 5, 2009 [4 favorites]

First of all, I would examine a comment like rokusan's and whether or not it applies to your relationship before taking it too much to heart. It is possible to be in love and have great chemistry and still feel like you didn't have a "crazy in love" infatuation stage. I found this question about that topic helpful. Ideally we would all fall crazy in infatuation that turns into real love... but they don't always go hand in hand, and it is a very romantic, Hollywood movie point of view that seems to leave many unsatisfied with their relationships and always chasing that romantic ideal.

That said, I HAVE been in a relationship that didn't have that crazy in love feeling, and after 3.5 years I decided to leave... but not because I didn't feel like I loved him enough, but because I realized that there were really important things that I needed in a long term-forever type relationship that just weren't a part of his personality. If there are real, tangible things that you need, that you feel like you just aren't getting (and won't get because of who they are) or if you find yourself often wishing his personality was different... well these are valid concerns that need to be examined, and it may be much more difficult to get to love back.

I really liked this excerpt of an answer given by nebulawindphone to a similar askme question:

The conclusion that I've come to is that you can't trust the warm fuzzy "I love you" feeling (or, for that matter, the cold spiky "fuck off" one) one way or another as a barometer of how the relationship's doing. You need to think about the relationship itself. Do you respect your partner? Do you trust your partner? Do you treat each other well? Are you dealing with the problems you've got? Are you at least aware and mindful of the problems you've got? Are you still happy together more often than you're unhappy? Do you still want the relationship to work?
posted by veronicacorningstone at 11:32 AM on January 5, 2009 [6 favorites]

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