Couples have been forced to spend every day with each other during the Covid-19 lockdown – and unsurprisingly, many are feeling the strain.
Thankfully relationship experts have shared their top tips for reigniting that romantic spark while you’re both stuck at home.
From sleeping in separate beds on certain nights and scheduling sex to watching a scary film together and even wrestling to spark adrenaline and prompt arousal, it is possible to ‘miss’ each other even when you’re together 24-7.
Here relationship counsellors and psychotherapists offer advice to lockdown couples who are fast becoming sick of the sight of each other.
Relationship coach Helen Snape and psychotherapist Matt Davies have revealed their tips to help couples reignite the spark and ‘miss’ each other during lockdown (stock image)
SLEEP SEPARATELY ON SOME NIGHTS TO ‘MISS’ EACH OTHER
Most couples are used to having time apart from each other, whether that’s during the day at work, while exercising or spending time separately with friends.
Relationship coach Helen Snape insists creating space between yourself and your partner to ‘miss’ each other is just as important during lockdown as it is at any other time.
She suggested sleeping in a separate bed for a couple of nights a week and making time for yourself, rather than simply ‘blobbing together’ with your partner.
Helen explained: ‘If we are able to work in separate rooms then we are just creating some space in that way. Or even if someone calls you on the phone, then take that somewhere else.
‘Why not sleep in a separate bed for a couple of nights a week just so you have that sense of coming back together?
‘Whilst it might be nice to go out for a walk with your partner and exercise together, maybe you can do those things on your own. And make time for doing stuff on your own or with other people – whether that’s reading, meditating, doing yoga, whatever it is.
‘It just means you remember where you end and they begin. It’s so important for us to obtain our own individuality and autonomy so we are not blobbing together with the other person.’
WATCH A SCARY MOVIE TO SPARK AROUSAL
Among the top tips, Helen advised couples to do activities, including watching a scary movie, to build adrenaline and create arousal and excitement (stock image)
Helen advised couples to reignite the spark in their relationship by trying to recreate the feelings and experiences from the very start of their budding romance.
She explained that a great way to do this is by building adrenaline to create arousal and excitement.
Helen said: ‘When you’re in that excitement of a new relationship, it’s all about that arousal and that adrenaline. So if we can recreate that, then that arousal can be transferred to the relationship.’
TRY WRESTLING OR DANCING TOGETHER
Uncertainty can make relationships fun and exciting, and playing games with your partner can be a safe way to reignite the spark in your relationship.
Matt suggested couples try wrestling with each other to reignite some passion as well as dissipate any pent-up anger or frustration during lockdown.
He also suggested trying out other fun-filled and spontaneous activities, including dancing and singing, to have a laugh as a couple.
And the less active couples may also enjoy Matt’s advice to play traditional board games, such as backgammon, to bring some playfulness back into your relationship.
He explained: ‘Couples who can play together will reignite their spark. Play can be the traditional board game, such as backgammon, nine men’s morris or chess, as in the thrilling series Queen’s Gambit.
‘Or it can be spontaneous dancing to music in the kitchen. Dance is energising too and great fun. Any kind of movement is dance, I don’t mean learned steps.
‘So put your favourite music on and have a laugh together.’
One unusual way she suggested that couples do this is by watching a scary film together.
‘Working out together at home or going jogging together – or even watching a scary movie, it all just builds that adrenaline and it makes you remember, “oh actually I fancy this person”,’ she explained.
PLAN AND THINK ABOUT SEX TO BUILD ANTICIPATION
Many people believe that scheduling sex is unromantic and leads to a lack of spontaneity.
But psychotherapist Matt Davies (www.mattdavies.org) argues this is a common misconception, and insists planning a night of passion with your partner sends the mind ‘wild with anticipation’.
‘The brain is the most erotic organ. Therefore, looking forward to something is vitally important to keep the mind focused,’ he explained.
‘We call it “simmering” when you are anticipating a night of passion with your partner that is planned and in the diary.
‘Your imagination is key to “simmering” when you build excitement by picturing and going through things that you are looking forward to doing.
‘Contrary to popular belief, planning does not lead to boredom. It means the body can relax and the mind can go wild with “simmering” anticipation and excitement.’
SURPRISE! BUY YOUR PARTNER GIFTS AND WRITE LOVE LETTERS
The longer couples are together, the more likely they are to become comfortable in their romance and forget to invest time in their relationship.
But Helen recommends that couples try to recreate the feelings and experiences from when they first met their partner to reignite that excitement.
The relationship coach urged people to leave adoring love notes in their partner’s underwear drawer, or buy them a small gift as a surprise.
She said: ‘It’s normal in any relationship for that initial infatuation period, fantasies and desire, to die down a bit as you grow into a more mature kind of love and intimacy.
‘I think it’s normal, and it has been exacerbated in lockdown when we are spending so much more time with each other. But there are definitely things we can do to rekindle that spark.’
Helen continued: ‘Go back to when you first met and remember what the relationship was like.
‘Things like surprising each other, which will mimic that emotional state that you get when you’re in a new relationship.
‘Even in lockdown, we can give our partner a small gift just because! We can write them a love note and hide it in their underwear drawer for them to find. Or we could ask for a song to be played on the radio for them. It’s the little things.’
Relationship counsellor Matt insists planning ‘a night of passion’ with your partner and then dwelling on it will send the mind ‘wild with anticipation’ (stock image)
PLAN ROMANTIC DATE NIGHTS
Relationship counsellor Emma Davey, founder of MyTraumaTherapy.com, urged couples to set aside time to be romantic.
She recommended having set date nights to make it different from other days in lockdown, suggesting a romantic meal or a luxurious bath.
She continued: ‘Be spontaneous, just because we’re in lockdown doesn’t mean we can’t still be romantic. Set aside a date night with a good film and something special to eat.
‘Make it a date night to remember by making it exciting and different from other lockdown days. Perhaps end it with a bath with some candles.
‘As much as we would all like to go out and get wined and dined, it’s just not possible, but that doesn’t mean romance is cancelled; we just have to think differently.’
DON’T AGREE TO DISAGREE – CHALLENGE EACH OTHER WITH LIVELY DEBATES
The well-known phrase ‘opposites attract’ couldn’t be more true during lockdown, as Matt advised couples challenge each other and take risks in conversations.
He explained that although couples are often worried about their differences, they can actually lead to experimentation in the bedroom and open up new possibilities.
The marriage counsellor continued: ‘Often couples get worried when they think they are too different from each other. This fear often means they try to merge and agree on everything.
‘But eroticism depends on you and your partner being different enough to create a change between you. This can mean taking risks in conversations, from the political to the personal.
‘Maybe you have different views about the pandemic and government policy regarding lockdowns.
‘If you depend on your partner’s approval, then expressing your views, if you know they are different from your partner’s, can seem scary. The flip side of this is the ability to be curious about your partner’s different views without getting annoyed or defensive.
‘When both of you can feel safe and appreciated for your differences, you can explore more intimate territory such as your deepest feelings, sexual thoughts and fantasies. This can lead to experimentation in the bedroom, opening up new ways to arouse and enjoy each other.’
DON’T NEGLECT CLEANLINESS AND PERSONAL HYGIENE
People have been getting comfortable and spending every single day wearing the same old loungewear while they are working from home and not seeing anyone outside of their home. But Matt urged couples to remember their personal hygiene and cleanliness during lockdown to keep romance alive.
He said: ‘It is vitally important in these times of lockdown to keep up with cleanliness and personal hygiene. It’s so easy to dress daily in the same old tracksuit bottoms when you are on Zoom all day and only visible from the waist up.
‘Dress for the office even when at home. Ensure you smell good.’
On the topic of dressing up, Matt also advised people to spice up their sex lives by using fantasy and role-play, as well as trying out other new and exciting things.
He continued: ‘Pay attention to and see if you can define your sexual style and practice taking a different approach. Do you get aroused by focusing your visual and aesthetic senses on your partner during lovemaking?
‘If so, practice turning your attention inwards to self-entrancement and focus on your inner feelings and sensations. You can turn the lights out and have sex in the dark if you usually have the lights on. Or practice using fantasy and role-play.’