Here’s how to reconnect with your partner.
By Susie & Otto Collins — Last updated on Aug 06, 2023
Photo: phive2015 via Canva | nd3000 via Canva
So you and your mate have been together for a while now, and it seems to you that intimacy and passion are dead? You’re not alone in worrying that this could lead to a broken relationship.
Perhaps you look back to your early years together and wistfully remember when time spent together with your partner seemed alive and even red hot. Or it might be that your intimacy has never felt as close as you’d like. Maybe you’ve always longed for a spicier and more connected marriage.
You know that in order to fix your broken relationship, and ultimately save your marriage, you will need to bring back some of your passion, intimacy, and connection — and this is going to take communication.
The definition of intimacy, “the state of having a close, personal relationship or romantic relationship with someone,” is somewhat ambiguous.
Basically, being intimate with someone is about sharing a feeling of closeness, and there are varying levels of intimacy in different stages of romantic relationships and marriages.
Everyone has his or her own preferences about the degree of closeness or passion desired. When one or both people in a relationship are consistently disappointed and perceive their intimate connection as lacking, it’s time to figure out how to fix your relationship before it’s broken.
After all, being in a love relationship or marriage is a choice. Why would anyone choose to be in what seems like a passionless relationship?
Let’s use Carmen and Jon* as an example.
Carmen remembers the days when her husband Jon brought home flowers “just because” and held her close and kissed her deeply each and every day. Now, after 25 years of marriage, it seems as if she’s with a different man.
While Carmen knows that relationships mature and settle in, she didn’t think intimacy with Jon would be so changed. It’s almost as if he has no time or interest in keeping their love alive and passionate. She does drop not-so-subtle hints to Jon that she’d like to be romanced as if they were dating. But it seems like Jon only retreats further into himself afterward.
Carmen is certain that Jon loves her and that she loves him. It just seems like they are merely good friends and co-parents to their children. This is not what she had in mind! She wonders how to save a marriage where two people seem like they want such different things.
If you’re like Carmen and want to fix your relationship (and possibly even save your marriage), here are things to do when you’re bored as a couple to build intimacy again.
If you’re bored and lonely in your relationship, do these 3 things ASAP
1. Get clear about what you want
It is quite common for people in long-term relationships (or even committed relationships that are newer) to settle into habits and roles and then become fixed in them.
These couples don’t give much thought to the kind of relationship they want and certainly don’t usually take steps toward creating such a connection. In fact, in cases like this, there is often a sense of taking for granted one’s mate, and the relationship or marriage in general. Of course, it’s wonderful to feel like you can count on your partner. But that doesn’t mean you have to box either of you in.
There is room to be a great parent, have a successful career — man or woman, AND continue being the engaged and exciting partner to your love.
Sometimes people stop thinking about what kind of relationship they want because they take what they have for granted and assume it’s as good as it’s going to get. They might also do this because they become too busy with other aspects of life.
Whatever the case in your relationship, break out of the box and give yourself permission to envision the relationship intimacy you desire. Be as specific and clear as you can.
For Carmen, the key to saving her marriage was to stop thinking back to her early days with Jon. Instead, she begins to envision what she wants for her future with him.
She realizes that by constantly asking herself, “Why doesn’t he bring me flowers or kiss me deeply anymore?”, she is only building up resentment and fear within herself. She starts having fun thinking about ways they both can begin to rev up the passion between them again.
2. Be boldly open, honest, and do not blame your partner
Once you are clear about what you want in your relationship, communicate that with your partner. The trick here is to stay open, listen, share honestly, and set aside the blame.
It might seem evident to you that your feeling that your relationship is broken is because your partner is no longer doing x, y, or z. Stay focused on what you want, instead, and don’t try to find the “bad guy” in your relationship.
You might use words such as, “I would really like to increase the excitement in our relationship. I enjoy spending time with you in so many ways and I want to move closer together in our intimate sharing as well.”
You could even add something like, “I am most interested in talking with you about both of our ideas for increasing the passion between us. I would like to come up with some specific ways we can make our intimacy more alive.”
Be upfront about what you want — especially if you have particular actions in mind. Then listen to ideas that your mate might have.
There might be habitual ways of interacting that you’ve each fallen into. So this shift probably requires you both to be aware of what you usually do and then make choices that will point you toward deeper intimacy instead.
3. Re-commit to the relationship you want, passionately
In order to really start the work of healing, Carmen and Jon had a difficult yet very healing conversation about the intimacy in their relationship. While at first Jon felt defensive and assumed that Carmen was blaming him, they were able to keep communicating. They were both able to stay open, which is key to improving your communication skills.
In fact, Carmen and Jon came away from their talk with a sense of anticipation for the possibilities ahead in their relationship. They agreed to try some new ways of being intimate with one another — including sharing massages and increasing other physical touches. They decided to make reviving the intimacy in their relationship more of a priority.
Ask your mate if he or she is willing to make a commitment with you to rekindle a more passionate relationship — together.
It is vital that you both freely make this commitment. From time to time you will probably need to come together and talk about what you want and what’s possibly changed for you. You might even set up regularly scheduled “check-in” times to do this.
The great thing about being on the road to a more passionate relationship is that the sense of excitement and aliveness almost always spills over into other areas of your life. You’re not just fixing a broken relationship or saving a marriage — you’re bringing a new sense of excitement into your own life.
As you come to enjoy being intimate and closer to your mate, you will undoubtedly enjoy your life more and more deeply as well.
*names have been changed to preserve privacy
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Susie and Otto Collins are relationship coaches and authors who help couples communicate, connect, and create the relationship they desire.