Fall in love with your husband
Then you moved in together or got married and had a kid or two and now you're more likely to fall asleep in front of your laptop than dream of him.
So what went wrong? Nothing, actually. Quite simply, life intervened. Building a home together necessitates certain practicalities, which quickly become routine, and when routine sets in, butterfly-belly excitement is usually first on the casualty list.
Then there's the exhaustion that pole-axes you after kids, chores, work, meals and bills have been dealt with. If you're lucky, you still have sex fairly regularly, but chances are that's not as toe-curlingly thrilling as it used to be either. What you need is that boyfriend back. Here's our recipe for rekindling that flame:
Psychotherapist Jeanine de Villiers says: "I have found that many of the couples that seek therapy seldom go out alone together, so – ironically – the time spent in weekly sessions becomes one of the few times that they are in an environment where meaningful contact is made.
"Unfortunately If the 'no time, no money' excuse goes too far, and one may eventually need to spend time and money seeing a couples' therapist anyway."
Go out without him
When you were dating you did things without him. Yoga classes in the evening, summer school, book club, girls' nights at the coolest clubs. Now you feel guilty even suggesting meeting a girlfriend for a quick drink after work.
"Communication is the hallmark of a good relationship. This means communication about issues, about shared endeavours like children, and about work, but also about things done separately, of separate experiences – which can only happen if you and he go out alone," says de Villiers.
Let him go out without you
When you met he had a wide circle of male friends. But over the years, as you and he have built a life together, that circle's got smaller and he may even have given up many of his interests to spend more time with you.
Encourage him to re-establish some of those old bonds, to play the occasional game of pool on a Saturday afternoon, to watch rugby in the local pub. When he's gone for five hours, you'll start to miss him and anticipate his return with excitement. And it'll give you the space to re-acquaint yourself with your own needs and personality.
There's always the danger in a long-term relationship that identities begin to erode – that we become so absorbed in the other person and in the family's demands on us that we forget who and what we are, and what we want from life.
Let him take charge
Yes, yes, we can do it better (and usually a lot quicker), but letting him take charge of the dinner bookings, the travel arrangements, the plumber, the present-buying (gulp, be brave) etc., lets him feel he's indispensable to you; that he's providing and spoiling, the way he used to when you were dating. And it's great for you to be able to sit back and let someone else take charge for once!
Leave his wardrobe alone
Ooh, this is a tough one. Yes, those leopard-print slip-slops are vile and that leather jacket is sooo last millenium, but remember how you ignored those "small" issues when you were looking at him through the rose-coloured spectacles of first love? Imagine what you're doing to his self-esteem if you keep telling him how awful his clothes are. There are more important issues to fuss over...
Play it again, Sam
What happened to the candles, the soft music, the rose petals on the sheets? Romance doesn't have to die just because you're married, and think how much sexier you'll both feel if a few accessories are added to your love-making. And soft-lighting is very kind to rolls and wrinkles.
Ban the kids from the bedroom
How sexy can he be if he's separated from you by a tossing, turning two-year-old?
A man with his hand down the loo is not attractive, nor if he has his feet protruding from under the sink. If the plumbing goes belly-up, call a plumber. Pay someone to do the DIY. Chances are if you let him do it you'll argue about how he does it, or about how long it takes for him to get round to doing it in the first place. Spare yourself – and him – the pain.
Pretend he's someone else's husband
Keep a surreptitious eye on him at the next social gathering you're at. Note his sexier bits – the abs (if they're still there), those finely chiselled calves, that manly jaw. Wish he was yours (which he is, yay!).
Share the pleasure
If there's a pastime he loves but you couldn't give a toss about, give it a try anyway. He'll be pathetically pleased if you join in and love it (even if you have to pretend). Watch how his chest expands as he "shows you the ropes". Seeing him stand tall is worth the pain.
How do you spend special time with your man? Tell us about it in the box below.