10 Ways to Put the Spark Back into Your Long-Term Relationship

Put the Spark Back into Your Relationship

You can still experience passion after age 60. Here are ten ways to rekindle your relationship and get back that loving feeling.

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You love your partner, and you’re pretty sure they love you too. But somehow, it’s hard to feel the same level of passion you felt when you first connected years ago. Yeah, you get through day-to-day life together. But do you really enjoy your togetherness?

First of all, recognize that these feelings are totally normal. When two people have been together for decades, even the best of relationships can lose that va-va-voom.

“Relationships can certainly get stale, and it’s normal to feel differently about your partner after decades of marriage,” Christine Baumgartner, a dating and relationship expert and owner of The Perfect Catch, told the website SilverSneakers. One reason, she added, is that after years of work and raising kids, people suddenly find themselves retired with an empty nest. “This can make us wonder, ‘Well, what are we going to do now?’” said Baumgartner.

Sometimes, unfortunately, it doesn’t end all that well. More than one in three people who divorce in the United States are older than fifty. But many other couples stay married, and find that their partnerships get even better. Here are some ways to put the spark back in your relationship.

1.  Take a walk down memory lane

Visit the place where you first met or where something special happened, like your engagement. Revisiting these romantic locations can remind you of those moments when you felt butterflies for the first time. And it will help you remember that you and your partner are still interesting people who love each other.

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2.  Ask questions

The next time your partner goes into a long-winded tale about golf, don’t just nod your head and scroll on your cell phone. Pretend you’re on a first date, and you’re fascinated by every word. Ask them to tell you more. It will make your partner feel valued and safe when you give them your full attention. Hopefully, they’ll learn from your cues and show the same interest in you!

3.  Share a secret

Maybe it’s a sexy dream you had that you don’t feel comfortable telling anyone else. Or a fantasy you’ve always thought about carrying out. If you let down your guard and describe it to your partner, you’re telling them that you trust them. Then they may feel safe enough to share something with you. After that, who knows? Maybe you can make those fantasies come true!

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4.  Ask for what you want

No matter how long you’ve been together, your partner can’t read your mind. It might seem obvious to you that they should take out the garbage, but they may not have a clue. The key is to ask…but ask nicely. When there’s something you want, ask your partner if it’s a good time to talk. It’s far better than snapping at them for something you think they did wrong or just didn’t do.

5.  Create your own special rituals

Maybe it’s a weekly hike in the woods with your dogs. Or relaxing together on the porch after a long day. What matters is that you find a way to spend time together without any technology to interrupt you. You don’t even have to say a word if you don’t want to. You can just enjoy being together, and soaking in the beauty of nature, or the peace and quiet on your porch.  The regular time together is a way to reaffirm your commitment to one another.

6.  Go skydiving together

Research shows that activities that increase levels of stress hormones like adrenaline make you feel more aroused. So consider an activity that takes you out of your comfort zone. And no, you don’t have to jump out of an airplane! Visit an amusement park and ride the rollercoaster. Try a new activity, like rock climbing. Or just watch a scary movie together. If none of that is up your alley, then try an exercise class together. Working out raises adrenaline – and arousal levels – too.

7.  Say thank you

A relationship can seem stale when you take each other for granted. Thank your partner every day for something that they’ve done. It can be as simple as remembering to take out the trash. Studies show that when you express gratitude, your body releases a “love hormone” called oxytocin. This will build a better connection and bond between the two of you.

8.  Hold hands

Locking hands with your partner can add some spice to your relationship. Why? Like gratitude, holding hands releases the love hormone oxytocin, which can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? You’ll feel less stressed and more able to focus on each other.

9.  Spend some time apart

You know that old saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder?” It’s true! If you’ve been wanting to take a girls’ trip with your college roommates or visit extended family, now might be a good time. Just make sure that your partner is okay with your being away for a little while before you book your ticket. In fact, you should encourage your partner to do something on their own, too. Sometimes you need a little time away from each other to remember what you’ve got together.

10.  Put yourself first

When you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, it can be hard to think about your own needs. But fueling yourself first can light a spark in your relationship. Find a hobby you really like, begin to volunteer, or take a new language class. These new interests will give you something to talk about with your sweetie. You’ll also feel better about yourself. And when you value yourself, it’s a clear signal to your partner to value you, too.

Discover your post-retirement passion!

Consider couples counseling

If you’ve tried all the above advice and your relationship is still in the doldrums, it might be time to get professional help. This is often covered by Medicare if it falls under the category of family counseling and mental health care. Medicare Part B covers 80 percent of the cost once you’ve met your annual deductible if it’s provided by a behavioral health care provider like a psychologist, social worker, or nurse specialist. Some Medicare Advantage plans may offer additional benefits. To compare plans in your area, check out our easy-to-use Find a Plan tool.

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ANGELA ESCOBAR
Angela Escobar writes about lifestyle, health, and wellness for the 50+ crowd. Based in Arizona, when she isn't writing and editing, she likes to spend time with her husband, their dogs, and brag about her two adult children.

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