When you've been in a relationship for a while, you might notice that things aren't what they once were.
"Over time, it's natural for relationships to go from the Honeymoon phase to a phase of familiarity, where we start to take each other for granted especially if children and careers start to take up a lot of energy and time," explains best selling author and relationship expert, Dimple Thakrar.
The first thing most couples do is put less effort and energy into their relationship because they know they are settled with their partner and therefore believe they no longer need to work at it.
"This then leads to boring 'vanilla' intimacy. And let's face it if we had a choice between chocolate sundae with all the trimmings compared to vanilla? I know which I prefer but it takes twice the time and effort to achieve," says Dimple.
The signs that you could use some help
• No time for your relationship.
• More time on the phone than talking and spending time together.
• Prioritising children, or work over the relationship
• Less sex or 'vanilla' sex than either of you desire.
• Not feeling heard or connected.
• Feeling like you want to have an affair or the grass is greener.
• One or both of you losing interest or excitement in each other.
•Lack of laughter or humour
• Shouting or arguing being the normal way of communication
• Passive aggressive silences
• Over use of pornography to numb or replace sexual desire/drive
Dimple's tips for how to spice up your relationship
Schedule regular time for your relationship and sex
Set dates and staying-in nights for the two of you to spend some quality time together. I would also recommend you plan what you are going to do and put some thought into the evening. Cooking together with a date night meal kit is one way to feel close to one another and do something together. Remember detail matters.
It is not up to one of you but both of you to spice it up. Perhaps take it in turns for who is in charge of your date nights. This will leave you both feeling valued and respected.
Communicate what your likes and dislikes are ahead of time
This provides variety and stops sex from becoming vanilla, while also meeting both your needs in the bedroom.
Just from time to time - it prevents the law of familiarity and keeps things fresh and exciting.
Laugh a lot
Don't take things or yourself too seriously. Why not stick on a funny film or book a date to a comedy night?
Bedrooms should be for two s's - sex and sleep
This means no screens of any type. Firstly, the blue light from screens can really impact your quality of sleep and secondly, they can be distracting and time hoovers, resulting in one or both of you feeling neglected.
Prioritise your relationship after you
This means taking responsibility for your own happiness and not expecting your partner to provide it, helping you set yourself and your relationship up for success. This takes the pressure off your partner to perform and produce a goal that only you can achieve. Happiness is an inside game.
Start to treat yourself how you would like to be treated first
For example, if you like rose petal filled baths - don't expect them to just know this. Run it for yourself and lead by example. Do it for you, not to prove a point.
Listen to learn rather than talk
We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. By not interrupting and being curious, it lets your partner know that you genuinely care about them.
Be in charge of you
Decide what you like, communicate this and set your boundaries and follow through. This will stop you from becoming a doormat and losing who you are.