RE­LA­TION­SHIP AD­VICE:

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.

Bona - - Contents - By Amanda Mtuli

Tips

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

at all.”

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