Getting Him to Be More Romantic Is Easier Than You Think

man on phone during romantic date

Let's be honest. When you and your partner are dealing with the kids' ortho appointments, homework, overflowing toilets, and a stack of bills, romance is probably at the f***ing bottom of your to-do list. Especially if your man's never been a mushy sort of guy to start with.

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But keeping romance alive in your relationship is actually more important than you think, notes Yvonne Thomas, PhD, a psychologist in Los Angeles, California, whose specialties include relationships. "If romance starts to go away, you'll end up more like friends or live-in roommates," she says. "You may still love him, but you won't feel in love with him."

And although you might be working hard to keep that spark going, "if you don't have a romantic partner," says Thomas, "it's hard to keep those in-love feelings going."

Solution: Encourage your partner to be more romantic. "You're not being high-maintenance by wanting that," clarifies Thomas. "And this doesn't mean you're asking him to buy you diamond rings or take you out to expensive restaurants. Romance is about feeling special, attractive, and appreciated, and not feeling like you're being taken for granted."

Here's how to make the magic happen again.

1. Talk about it.

Don't just ask your partner to get you roses for your birthday. Sure, you'll get what you want, but that makes the gesture feel kinda empty. Instead, open up to your partner about the whole subject of romance. For example, say, "I know we've been together awhile. How do you feel we're doing in the romance department?"

Thomas says, "You want to get down to the root of the problem in a non-confrontational way."

Yes, you'll probably get an "I dunno know" or a bewildered "Whaaa?" at first, so back up and ask your partner how he actually defines romance. Getting on the same page is crucial, since he might be thinking about fussy dinners at expensive restaurants when you simply want to have a whiskey straight up and play pool.

Whatever you and he come up with, "start to accept each other's definitions and work as a team," suggests Thomas.

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2. Forget "Date Night" and simply go on a date.

"Date Night" can feel a little like dinner as usual, just without the kids. You need to mix it up to bring in some of the same spark you had before you married.

"Try to remember what it was like when you were still dating," Thomas notes. "Put more effort into it."

"Effort" doesn't mean "expense," though. It's totally okay to keep dates low-cost (or free) and easily doable. Go on a hike and bring a picnic. Bike to the park. Check out a matinee. Less pressure and expense means you're more likely to continue "dating."

3. Take turns surprising each other.

No need to wait until Valentine's Day or some other holiday to do something sweet for your spouse. Nice as those gifts are, "they won't sustain your relationship," cautions Thomas. "It's like only watering a plant six times a year."

It's the everyday gestures that are far more important. A quick text to let your partner know you're thinking of him. Forwarding a funny joke you know he'll appreciate. Showing up at his soccer game, showered and wearing mascara -- not still in your sweaty gym clothes.

"Men like to be courted, too," Thomas says. "Try to do something romantic a few times a week."

When he does the same, let him know how much you love it. "With positive reinforcement, he's more likely to keep doing it," says Thomas.

Will romance restart in your relationship overnight? Nah. That's what montage scenes in movies are for. But you're planting seeds for a romantic habit that over time could save your relationship from dissolving into friends-without-benefits.

 

Image via iStock.com/laartist

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