How do you make someone want what they already have?
That’s a billion-dollar question. Anyone who can answer it has found the secret to making desire last forever with one special person.
When you’re in a long-term relationship, it’s easy for things to quickly settle into a routine. There’s a high chance both of you will already know almost everything about each other within the first few months.
And within a year, you’ve probably been to all the great places you can visit around you. Before you know it, you’ll begin to seek new kinds of adventure. This is a critical point in every relationship, and how you handle it could determine whether or not the natural decay that set’s in with time will eat up your relationship.
Here are great insights from a relationship expert to help you deal with this tipping point and sustain desire in your relationship.
1. Understand the relationship between space and desire
“Love rests on two pillars: surrender and autonomy. Our need for togetherness exists alongside our need for separateness.” — Esther Perel
Before her TEd talk about sustaining desire, Esther Perel did a survey with couples across many countries to understand when couples felt most drawn to their partners.
Interestingly, she found that the most frequent answer she got was that people found their partners most attractive when they’re in their element. (For instance, when they’re on stage doing something they’re good at).
Why? Well, when your partner is in their element, everyone admires them, not just you. He or she is far away from you, on stage, dazzling and charming the crowd.
We need space to appreciate what we have. It’s like how fire needs some air to grow stronger.
Some people start relationships great because excitement is natural at the beginning. But the moment that initial novelty wears off, they start appearing clingy to their partners. And before they know it, things will fall apart and they’ll keep wondering why. “Maybe they never loved me?!” they might think.
Always staying glued to someone — either physically or through texting — can be fun at the beginning of a relationship. But it’s not sustainable in the long term.
Focus on spending “quality time” together. That’s a lot different from “plenty of time”. Give them space to crave and think of you.
2. The danger of uncalibrated expectations
Most people go into relationships with high expectations of what they want their partners to be like. And when their partner deviates from this ideal that they’ve built in their heads, pangs of resentment build up.
They don’t realize that their partners haven’t really done anything wrong. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Partners who don’t realize this are often easily dissatisfied or disappointed in the kind of relationships they have.
People who have successful long-term relationships understand that their partners cannot be great at everything. They know how to calibrate their expectations so that unnecessary resentment wouldn’t build up.
Sure, there’s nothing wrong with wanting your partner to be certain things to you. After all, he’s your partner. However, you should learn to understand the areas they’re naturally good at and those they aren’t.
Don’t build unnecessary resentment when you already know that your partner isn’t the best at being a playmate. As Esther Perel explained to Lewes Howes in an interview, to calibrate means to be able to adjust your expectations about what you think your partner is supposed to be to you.
3. Moments of novelty
Some people have this idea that a relationship is either naturally full of passion or it isn’t. And most people have used this assumption to end a relationship.
But how true is it?
In reality, the best relationships are just people who are committed to taking deliberate steps to keep the romance in their relationships alive. Those who have done couples therapy understand the importance of those tiny actions done or left undone.
They can determine how your relationship turns out in the long run.
Moments of novelty, once in a while, are often overlooked by some couples. They think they have to go out when they feel excited about it. Sometimes couples don’t just seek out novelty because they think it’s work.
But you don’t need to spend a lot to put off a novel experience. Just think of something different. Something that will catch your partner off guard. Things like going out to nature, sightseeing, and taking long walks together costs nothing.
Related: How to Be Effortlessly Charming
4. Novel moments cause a dopamine-reward loop
According to psychologists, when we have fun moments with someone, we activate the dopamine reward loop with them.
What this means is that they come to associate those good feelings they had in that experience with us. This is why the best way to make someone miss you is to have fun with them. When they’re alone, they’ll remember how they felt when they were with you and they’ll crave that experience more.
This is why people with a good sense of humor are so charming. All your memories of them are fun and laughter.
5. Choose someone you can grow with
One underrated part of having a great long-term relationship is being with someone who enjoys growing with you. Even if you’re not perfect, they’ll accept your flaws while still encouraging you to be your best.
This is a novelty on its own because the feeling is priceless. Having someone like this makes you feel accepted and encouraged to grow at the same time.
Most of us believe that we need to go away and isolate ourselves from relationships if we want to grow. But if you’re with the right person, growth is much easier. And it makes the relationship much more fun because you know you’re with someone excited about having a future with you.
As Esther Perel explained, growth is interactive. When you have the support of someone who truly wants the best for you, the whole world opens up differently.
6. Values are more important than feelings
“When you’re looking for the right person, it’s not just about what attracts you, it’s about who you can build a life with.” — Esther Perel
Feeling butterflies when your special one is great. But what guarantees long-term desire more is how well your values align. This doesn’t mean having a passion for the same occupations. No.
Values go way deeper. Our values determine how we see the world. For instance, you can’t love children and be with someone who thinks people should stop having kids because the world is overpopulated.
You also can’t be highly driven and passionate about excellence and be with someone who believes everything we all chase in life is meaningless and vain. They’re going to be an opposing force you’ll always have to contend with. You can’t build a life with such people.
Feelings alone can only go so far in a relationship. If you depend on it alone, you won’t build anything sustainable with anyone ever. Like every other important thing in life, great relationships have to always be worked upon.
This is why the most important part is choosing the right person. Desire is easier to sustain when two people sincerely want to be with each other.
Interesting: Women With These 6 Traits Are Diamonds In The Rough