Trying to get hearts and flowers from your partner – or even for them to put an arm around you – can feel like pulling teeth.
And a lack of romance is one of the biggest complaints in new and long-standing relationships.
But dating expert Dr Pam Spurr is here to help put the zing back in your relationship for spring.
She says: “For many women, their men are perfect in every other way – reliable, a great dad, good with your mum.
“Only they’re as romantic as a house brick and won’t think to whisk you off on a naughty weekend.
“From my research for my latest dating guide, I know the unromantic can change.”
Here are a dozen tips from Dr Spurr to drag romance out of him.
1 Get realistic
To kick-start a romantic vibe, you might have to lead the way.
Start with little things – candles at dinner (having dinner on your laps in front of the TV is a romance killer!), put on your favourite music and flirt.
Send him flirty messages during the day. It’ll spark his interest to do the same back.
2 There’s nothing wrong with hinting
If you’ve an upcoming birthday or anniversary it’s good to hint.
Say things like: “It’s been a while since we’ve had a romantic dinner.”
Read more: Is a one-night stand, a holiday fling or drunken sex REALLY cheating?
Or: “Remember those gorgeous flowers you bought me?” Said with positivity, it’ll be well received.
Or get funny about hinting. Stick a reminder that your birthday is coming up on the fridge with a memo reading: “It could be fun to do something on this special day.”
3 Keep a calendar
One relationship study found couples who kept a calendar in their kitchen to mark dates in together were more romantic.
Trouble is, nowadays our calendars are on our mobiles.
Time to invest in a calendar and jot down things for you two to share. It will stimulate wanting to spend more time together.
4 Get the gear on
Lose the faded tracksuit and occasionally slip on something you feel attractive – even sexy – in.
Looking like you feel good about yourself could remind him what a catch you are.
Obviously this applies to him too.
And if he’s always in un-sexy gear, tell him how much you love that atractive shirt he wore on New Year’s Eve at the pub. Let him know he looked hot.
5 Show yourself in a caring-sharing light
Ask him if there’s a surprise he’d like for his next birthday or landmark date he has coming up.
Until now, you’ve been thinking you’re missing out but make it about him, too. Such selflessness on your part, making a fuss of him, won’t go unnoticed.
6 Make a meal of it
You’re not expecting him to book expensive restaurants for regular romantic evenings. Most of us are on tight budgets.
So occasionally ratchet up the sexiness of mealtimes .
Show him foods like mini pizza can be fun to feed each other. Research shows such food-play brings a couple closer together.
Finish off with luscious chocolate pudding or get exotic and melt dark chocolate to dip strawberries in. You’ll both feel loved-up and quite possibly in the mood for more.
7 Take him back in time
Repeated studies show that couples who take time out to look through old photos feel warmer towards each other.
Especially if you’ve faced bad times, these remind you there will be good more good times around the corner.
8 Ignite his competitive spirit
Mention how your friend’s partner organised a surprise for her.
Or how a colleague was whisked away for a surprise night. You might stimulate his competitiveness.
It’s human nature to want to keep up with the Joneses and that’s true when it comes to romance.
9 Make it emotional
Discuss your emotions as part of everyday life.
It’s easy to get bogged down in talk of household budgets and chores, ignoring the meaningful things.
One survey found couples who mention things that have made them happy, sad or angry during their day feel closer to each other.
And definitely be proactive, highlighting great things he does for you, especially any romantic gestures he’s made in the past.
10 Just ask him
Take the last tip a bit further. Clear communication will do the trick. Simply ask him to arrange the evening you want.
Tell him the new place you’d love to get cocktails, followed by the restaurant you want to try. Ask him if he could please book it all. Tell him you’ll really appreciate it.
Said lovingly it won’t suggest he’s been a hopeless loser in the past.
11 Watch a rom-com together
You’re relaxing, watching a drama or film and suddenly there’s a romance scene.
Cuddle up and say, “Remember when we were like that?” Give him a squeeze, whisper loving things in his ear and show him the warmth you feel is missing.
12 Time for ‘the chat’
So nothing’s worked. And he’s still your frog (a lovable one) not a romantic prince. Time for the proper romance chat.
Always begin positively, describing the good things you share. Then mention you feel you’d be closer if you got some romance back into your lives.
Ask for his suggestions. It’s far healthier having this chat than allowing gnawing disappointment to grow.
- Follow Dr Pam Spurr on Twitter @drpamspurr