8 Tips for Intimacy, Love and Connection
By Michelle Maffei
Although chick flicks make romance look like a breeze, living a life of love isn’t as easy as the big screen makes it seem. Whether you’ve been together forever or are new to couplehood, every relationship needs that extra effort to keep the bond strong and the flames of passion burning bright. Looking for a little romantic inspiration? Try these eight ideas for boosting the BELLA in your relationship:
1. Think outside-of-the-date-night box – To amp up the excitement of a night out, skip the usual dinner-and-a-movie routine and uncover unique date ideas in your area. Hit a local cigar bar and do your best Demi Moore or Robert DeNiro impression. Or, score a front-row table at a comedy club to release those feel-good endorphins. “Laughter truly is the best medicine,” says Dr. Tamara Sofair-Fisch, a New Jersey-based psychologist. “When you laugh together, you are operating as a unit again, as opposed to the daily struggles of competing interests that act to separate you in the humdrum of everyday life.”
2. Embark on a romantic getaway – There’s no better way to reconnect than getting away from it all. Retreat to a spa resort and take the time to appreciate one another while enjoying some R&R. Or, discover wine country: explore local vino and stay at an inn that’s part of a fully functioning winery.
3. Indulge in partner appreciation night – “One of the best things you can do for your own happiness, as well as the happiness of a relationship, is express gratitude,” recommends Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D., author of A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness. “When you show your appreciation to your partner, it helps your partner feel good and boosts your own level of joy.” Spring for tickets to see your honey’s favorite band, or for that blockbuster you know your mate’s dying to see. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, so long as it’s all about doing the things your significant other loves.
4. Say what’s on your mind – Communication is key when it comes to any relationship, especially when it heightens the anticipation of the time you spend together. Start the day off by telling your darling you’re excited to see him after work. Or, send a sexy text message (the digital version of whispering sweet nothings!). The anticipation of what’s to come can keep things exciting regardless of how long you’ve been together.
5. Be spontaneous – Break your routine and keep your relationship fresh by surprising your significant other. Make a lunch date at a hotel, order room service, or rent a sports car and embark on a scenic drive: no matter what you do, shaking things up will bring you closer together.
6. Touch each other more often – Regardless of how great your relationship is between the sheets, make an effort to make physical contact with your sweetie pie outside of the boudoir. “Touch is part of our regulatory system,” shares Emma K. Viglucci, of Metropolitan Marriage & Family Therapy in New York. “It triggers the release of oxytocin, helping partners feel intimate and connected. It is a cocktail for happy relationships!” Increase your frequency of physical contact outside of the bedroom by walking arm in arm, playing footsie, or sitting with your legs touching while snuggling in front of the tube.
7. Do something nice – Gestures of kindness shouldn’t be reserved for special occasions. They can do wonders for your relationship! Something as simple as offering to get your partner a drink when you go to the kitchen can go a long way to strengthen your bond.
8. Put yourself first – Couples who meld into a “one couple blob” (think Bennifer and Brangelina) tend to lose themselves, so keep your love alive by spending time apart. Sign up for a cooking class, join a sailing club — just take time for yourself and engage in your own interests to be a better individual and stay stronger as a couple.
Remember that boosting the beauty in your relationship doesn’t have to be elaborate; mix grand gestures with small daily actions to keep your love alive. With a touch of creativity and a little bit of effort, every day of your relationship can be filled with beauty that can keep you connected to your partner for a lifetime.
How to Find the BELLA Love of Your Life
Unless you’re one of the lucky ones, finding “the one” takes some self-evaluation and a little guidance. Consider advice from a professional like Siggy Flicker , matchmaker/love coach and star of the show Why Am I Still Single? on VH1, Sundays at 9/8c. To get off on the right dating foot, she says, start by changing your outlook on romance. “I truly believe if you change your attitude, you can change your life,” shares Flicker.
Next, you need to learn from your dating mistakes and keep yourself open to the possibility of love. According to Flicker, “keep repeating the same dating mistakes over and over again expecting different results, and you’ll continue to wonder why you’re single.”
Finally, get to know someone before you do the mattress mambo. “Sex is a very beautiful thing. It should not be shared too easily and not be given away,” advises Flicker. “It takes three to six months to get to know someone. Do I have a rule about sex and dating for my clients? No. But definitely it should not be on date one, two, or three.”