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To be clear: Despite what rom-coms and the above headline might imply, romance isn't simple. In fact, there's no formula, fix, or surefire move that will automatically make you worthy of a Luther Vandross lyric. That's because romance depends on so many factors—from your relationship status are you courting or are you comfortable? And that's not even including the factors like self-esteem and trust that influence how we give and receive romantic gestures throughout our lives. Despite romance's complexities, that doesn't mean you can't improve your amorous arsenal with your partner.
After all, isn't the whole point to dance with your beloved through life in sync, close together, and maybe even a little sweaty, too? So read on, and learn how to raise your romance-level through the roof. Hugs and kisses should have energy, says Dr. Take 60 seconds every day to do something that makes your partner feel important, says O'Reilly. That can be anything from making their tea to warming up the car to cleaning a laptop screen.
Say thank you for things you take for granted, like grocery shopping or any kind of run-of-the-mill responsibilities, says O'Reilly. It reduces the resentment and increases the harmony, she says. Ava Cadell, Ph. Smothering may work for butter, gravy, and marinara, but not for relationships.
Time alone makes for better time together.
Date night for long-term couples should use strategies from short-term couples: Trying something new each time. Studies show that novelty is good for romance. It can be as simple as driving across town for dinner to get away from routine spots or more elaborate outings like doing some kind of weekend retreat that focuses on something like cooking or yoga.
Research shows that when communicating with a partner, you need to make five positive comments for every negative one, says Sadie Leder Elder, Ph. Research shows that those who do something altruistic outside of the relationship have a better connection. Treat good news from your partner the way you would a sporting event. A study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found better relationship satisfaction when a person was very enthusiastic about good news from their partner.
A Baylor University study found lower relationship satisfaction when couples perceived their partners choosing their phones over them. If logistically possible, carpool every so often. It's a chance to catch up and slow down in an otherwise hectic schedule. Candles can bring different scents into your home, but you can make the smells even more personal by taking a trip to a spice or herb market and picking out ones you both like, Cadell says.
Combine them to make a customized bowl of scents for the bedroom. You don't need to win every disagreement. The willingness to sacrifice is a big component of increasing connectedness in a relationship, Elder says. One recent study showed that both relationship and sexual satisfaction increased when as much time was spent being close with each other after sex as it was beforehand.
When you clink glasses, say something short, say something specific, say something sneaky. Shave her legs. Shave his face. Hot water, lather, steam, skin, and sharp objects make a cocktail of trust and sensuality. Especially at the most vulnerable moment, Cadell says. Vacations, even for one night, can start the simmering. Vacations, if they involve bathing suits and bodies of water, raise the temp to boiling.
Remembering a wedding anniversary is a given. Remembering a stealthier anniversary—a first date, a first sight—is golden. People with high self-esteem report having higher levels of connectedness, Elder says. Part of that comes from feelings of unconditional love—the kind that parents give children, she says.
That doesn't mean you can't have conflict, but forgiveness shows relationships are less fragile. And not as a chore. It's a time to bond, a time to chat, and a time to—literally and metaphorically—show that you're willing to be the one to clean up the crap. To your partner's other circles—friends, family, co-workers—even if you mix together like OJ and toothpaste.
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