Whether it’s a new relationship, long distance or marriage, keeping the romance alive can help make it last longer, and keep you both satisfied.
to up your love game
The importance of romance in a relationship cannot be emphasised enough. When both partners make an effort to keep the spark burning, this translates into a lasting and satisfying bond. And, there are many ways to achieve this. “You need to keep the romance going as if it’s the beginning of your relationship,” advises Dr Matthews Katjene, a clinical psychologist and relationship expert, from Pretoria. It’s sometimes easy to let the flirty and fun side go by the wayside, but you really shouldn’t. Here’s his advice on how to keep things going:
6 MONTHS DATING
Viwe Mthembu* and Nosisa Yedwa* have been in a relationship for six months after meeting at a mutual friend’s house-warming party. “The first three months of our relationship were filled with adventure. Viwe would always text me in the morning to wish me a good day, and we’d talk for hours in the evenings. But, lately the
messages have stopped, and the calls are shorter or don’t happen at all,” Nosisa says. The two now feel as though their relationship has lost the excitement. They want to work on it, and would like to regain the intensity they had at the beginning. “Ordinarily, a couple that is in a relationship for six months should still be in the honeymoon phase. Speak and engage more as that fosters closeness. Explore each other’s erotic fantasies. Know each other’s love language to facilitate mutual satisfaction. Be wild and daring, it is an opportune time for self-indulgence,” Dr Matthews says.
LONG-DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP (2 YEARS AND 6 MONTHS)
A lot of people believe that long-distance relationships don’t work out. Your family and friends may even discourage it, with some advising you to not take it too seriously. This was the case for Sanele Nyembezi* and Khulile Mabaso*. They met via social media platform, Facebook. For Sanele it was love at first click. “What drew me to her was her profile picture; I thought she had a beautiful smile, so I sent her a friend request right away.” What started out as an hour wait, until she accepted, has now blossomed into a 2 years and 6 months long-distance love affair. Sanele is based in East London and Khulile lives in Johannesburg. Apart from the obvious challenge of distance, they now have a hard time communicating and connecting emotionally, especially when they are together. Dr Matthews counsels that the context of the relationship must always be understood by the couple.
Dedicate time for physical contact; monthly, bimonthly, quarterly, etc. depending on the distance between you and your practical and financial arrangements. “For constant contact in the absence of physical contact, make use of video calling for exciting, kinky and steamy encounters. Write to each other as this can be an effective way of creating a safe space for self-expression and declaration of your love. Remind each other of your commitment by using various and creative methods because commitment comes before romance,” he says.
MARRIED FOR 5 YEARS
Lungelwa Zondi* and Mpho Zondi* have been married for five years. In the last year, they have seen a drastic decline in the bedroom. This is due to the pressures of raising two teenage boys, and managing hectic work schedules. “Step out of your comfort zone, and manage complacency. Give each other attention, it is easy to be absorbed in work, family demands and social commitments that lead to you neglecting each other. Start special date nights with the sole purpose of cultivating an intimate connection. Be creative with your sex life; change always brings an element of surprise. Take baths, walks and getaways together to create space for only the two of you,” says Dr Matthews. “It is critical to note the phase your relationship is at, all the time. The dynamics at play define it and determine the potential it has to reinvent itself,” Dr Matthews concludes.
“Lately the messages have stopped, and the calls are shorter or don’t happen