Dating Practices to Keep Your Relationship LIT

Gazing into each other’s eyes, getting lost for hours, proudly holding hands, making out like your partner is your lifeline, wanting to be in their presence often and to smell like them?

Yeah, those were the good old first days of the relationship right?

Now tho, you’re like passing ships in the night, and you don’t talk nearly as much as you used to and if you think about it, sex has been infrequent, and just not as good as you swore it used to be.

So what the hell happened?

Life did.

After the all consuming honey-moon phase, we tend to settle into a routine and a rhythm with our partner, especially if you are living with them and things you used to make time for change, the way you interact change and the way you think about your partner also changes, sometimes for the best, but in many cases, we become complacent.

You feel safe and comfortable in your love, in the fact that you are loved and your brain starts telling you that your lover isn’t going anywhere, so now you can focus on some of the other things that life has been throwing your way like missiles lately.

It’s normal and natural even, however, if you stay on this course, you will find yourself in a rut, your bond with your lover will start to fray, because just like a plant needs water, light and music to grow, your bond also needs tender, loving care  and maintenance.

Luckily, if you and your partner are game, still attracted to each other and willing to do some small things to make your bind strong again, there are a few dating practices from your past that will ultimately be your lifesavers and keep the spark alive in your relationships!

Talk Until Midnight


There is the fear that the longer the relationship goes on, the more you’re going to be retelling old stories to your long suffering partner and it’s true.

You will be retelling the same stories and that’s ok.

When you were first dating, you wanted to be able to tell each other all the things, from the good, bad and the goofy.

Don’t stop now, in fact it is recommended to keep a clear open channel of communication, so that each of you feel as if you have been heard, feels that your partner likes hearing your thoughts and opinions and can relate to you.

Communication is the foundation for all relationships and the moment either of you think you can no longer talk open or honestly with your partner, is the first fracture in your relationship bond.

Renowned coach, Tony Robbins, notes, “People often confuse communication for talking or making conversation, and this is the root cause of why many of these same people are so unsuccessful when it comes to how to communicate better”.

Communication in relationships, at its core, is about connecting and using your verbal, written and physical skills to fulfill your partner’s needs. It’s not about making small talk. It is about understanding your partner’s point of view, offering support and letting your partner know you are their #1 fan,” he continues.

To reignite the spark and make your relationship strong and healthy again, start off small. Take a few minutes during the day to check in with you love and see how he/she is doing today and how you can add some shine to the day. Don’t do this expecting immediate quid pro quo, because that would defeat the purpose.

Rather, the goal of checking in is to show your partner that you do think about them during the day fondly and to remind yourself that you actually do care and like this person. We are on our phones daily and in the beginning, I’m sure you sent each other texts and had ongoing conversations, don’t that that spark die.

This then sets the scene for when you spend time together in the same space. When this happens, relax and just listen to your love. Drink them in and let yourself acknowledge how much you actually care about this person, their ideals, the way they speak and think etc.

This sets the precedent for strengthening your bond. You will both start feeling more relaxed and comfortable around each other, more trusting and safe and more respected. Communication is not about just small talk, it is about feeling trusted, safe, respected and able to speak your mind to a person who will listen and return the favour.

You both have to ensure you don’t lose out on this amazing opportunity.


Flirt!


There is a belief that once you’re in a relationship, you can stop flirting with each other, afterall, if you’ve already caught the rabbit you’ve always wanted, why do you have to up-keep your hunting habits?

Well, happy to break it to you, but you need to upkeep your flirting game for your partner. One of the reasons he/ she became attracted to you in the first place was because of your charm, banter and flirting.

So crack those knuckles, blow the dust off of your flirt game and let’s go.

Healthy flirting is a great way to keep your relationship healthy and strong ,get attention from your partner and is a pretty good confidence boost for both of you.

Flirting is a fun and easy way to reignite the spark in your relationship and can be done is so many ways, from flirting on your mobile, through texts, actually flirting through gentle touches, eye glances and talking to your love. The flirt game gets even better with jokes and your clothes can even be incorporated.

You know what your love likes, so why not spice it up and have fun together. This lets your partner know that you still see them as a sexy, attractive, smart and significant person in your life, while boosting all the good chemicals in you both.

Plus, when he/ she flirts back and/ or is receptive to your flirting, this also makes you feel good, confident and that you are still seen as a sexy, viable, smart and significant person in his/ her life that brings good feelings of joy.

In her book, 101 Ways to Flirt Susan Rabin, said, “This can be a great confidence booster as it will help you feel better about yourself”.

Flirting will also bring you closer together and add even more spice to your relationship, because you are reminded of what attracts you to them and it allows both parties to feel good about each other, as the act releases all the good hormones including serotonin and dopamine.

Be Silly With Each Other


Being silly with each other was a very important milestone in your dating life, because it meant you could let your partner see the real you, including the quirks, your sense of humor and it felt amazing when that trust was reciprocated.

“When your loved one shows their goofy side and you play along too, it can make you feel more connected. These silly moments are what makes you feel like a kid againshowing a side that you might not get to express very often. It’s important to not make them feel judged, because you’re the person they trusted with their whole self. Everyone wants to feel accepted, especially by their partner,” notes Caila Quinn, Travel Blogger.

A relationship that is strong and healthy will have loads of times when you are silly with each other, because there is just no better feeling in the moment, than being able to make your partner smile, laugh and best of all, join you in the silliness.

For many, being silly is the test to see if the relationship can work, because let’s be honest, compatible sense of humours are a must.

To keep your relationship strong, healthy and sparkling, plan something that you can both be silly with each other with. It can be as simple as watching your fave anime/ cartoons, to an impromptu karaoke night to destroying each other in a silly game, virtually or with water balloons. The sky is the limit, just make sure it is something you both want to do will enjoy and can have the most fun doing.


Touch Each Other Often


Finding any reason to touch your crush and love was one of the hallmarks of your courtship and if you’re honest, it wasn’t something you even thought about, you just loved how they felt and your palms did it all on their own, you were just along for the ride.

Physical touch is a fundamental human need and communicates a lot of the things we may not be able to accurately express verbally.

According to married researchers and authors, Dr. Charles & Dr. Elizabeth Schmitz, “To touch someone you love is to acknowledge their presence and to communicate your desire for them. That’s why the most successfully married couples amongst us do it so often.”

Little touches and kisses tell your partner that you’re positively thinking about them and bonus, it all adds to their lust for you!

The way you touch someone can convey so much about how you feel about them, so too a lack of touch.

From a soft caress, a sure helping hand and warm, comforting embraces to flirty touches, your partner can feel a myriad of emotions just from the way you touch him/ her.  The softer and more comfortable the touches, the more welcomed and the better the status of the relationship.

Touches should never be limited to sex only; in fact they should be a part of your every day live, because they are one of the loudest practices of non-verbal communication. A lack of touch in a relationship can be interpreted as a lack of soul affection and a boundary for distance from that person, which does not feel great.

Talk to your partner, open and honestly about  both yours and his/ her boundaries with touches, what is too much, what they would like more of and after consent, test  what you both feel comfortable with and what it makes you feel. Trust me when I say that touch is a very strong language and goes a long way in keeping your relationship strong and healthy.


Make Time to Hangout with Each Other


You remember when you used to ditch your friends, and figure out ways of getting off from work early all so you could spend blessed time with each other?

Remember when you couldn’t wait to see your partner’s smiling face and how happy you felt in his/ her presence?

Is this still the case?

If so , yay! If not, maybe it’s time you explore if you actually like this person.

Wanting to spend time with your mate is a huge sign of how it’s going in your own mind about how you feel and view the other person and a litmus test for your relationship.

I’m not saying that you will always want to see them- people need space and alone time to be healthy, but I’m saying that if the thought of spending alone time together does not elicit a positive response, then this is definitely something to check in with yourself and explore.

Your partner is your friend first and your mate last. Spending time together speaks of the bond you have and your willingness to keep your relationship strong and healthy.

The more time you spend doing things you both love, the better. This way you can share your joy and expertise with each other, have fun and just be able to learn more about each other, because no matter how long you know a person, you will never know all there is, simply because they are still learning themselves.

Dianne Grande Ph.D. notes, “You already know that planned time together, whether for a romantic dinner or a walk on the beach, enhances your friendship as well as your emotional connectedness.”

Grande explains that friendship is a very important part of any committed relationship, “It makes for open and honest communication and an assumption that the other person “has your back”.

Think about it, isn’t it easier to address a conflict with someone you view as a friend, rather than an adversary?

 Grande also notes, “Emotional connectedness brings added depth to your relationship. For many individuals, it is a necessary factor in generating sexual desire, another important aspect of any long-term committed relationship,” So get to planning out time to meet up, talk and have good, shared experiences together again, it will do wonders to bring your relationship back to a level of first priority.


You made it to the end! Wooot!

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5 Ways Your Best Friends Set the Standards for Your Lover

 Let’s be honest: There is no such thing as ‘Just Friends’,  in fact, the people who you choose to be your confidants and spend your time with  are very important people.

They are the ones who you trust, who you share your victories and failures with and they are the ones who you fully expect to have your back at all times and its all mutual.

There is an inner scale of friendship, that we all adhere to whether we admit to it or not and it runs from acquaintances, friends, good friends, close friends, to best friends, which we use to establish the level of connectivity, and vulnerability we display around each respective friend label.

(Am I wrong? Didn’t think so)

You know how awesome your friends are, the decisions you both make to ensure your relationships grow  happily, and the level of deep trust that you are consistently nurturing  ( especially your BFF’s)  so is it any surprise that these people who you have chosen to be in your inner sanctum highlight the standards  to which you must hold your romantic partner?

Nope, that makes sense!

Afterall the people you have bestowed the honour of ‘good friends’ and ‘best friends’ are relationships that are near and dear to your heart always… so why wouldn’t the person you are having sex with and linking lives not have similar qualities and show signs of care?

There is absolutely no reason.

The following are the five ways in which your BFF’s are setting the standards for the kind of behaviours and beliefs your partner should embody!

Your close friends and best friends will support you through thick and thin, they do not put you down, nor do they criticize your efforts.

Your best friends love you for the good, bad and the ugly and this comes from both of you putting in mutual effort into your friendships.

This level of support is a product of making a decision to learn who each other are honestly, comes from lots of communication on silly and important things, it comes with building up trust and ‘vibing’ together.

Your BFF is the first to call you back from the brink of destruction, and be your biggest, loudest and fiercest cheerleader when it comes to you following your dreams and building the healthiest lifestyle for yourself. 

 He/she is also the person who knows your quirks, crazy habits and still loves you unconditionally. They are the people you can feel the love from and they fit easily into your life!

When it comes to expecting this kind of understanding from your partner, Kim Panganiban, LMFT, Certified Gottman Therapist, notes, “You want a partner who is interested in you, admires you, and supports you emotionally. Your partner should also honor your dreams and work toward creating a sense of shared meaning with you”.

Your friends are important in times of crisis, whether it be personal, financial or work related. 

Real quick, how many times have you been having an awful day and the only person able to make you smile was your BFF?

Or he/she was the person who when you called, helped you through the crisis to the best of their ability? Your BFF is reliable, creative and tries for you.

The truth is your BFF will never leave you curled up on the couch in pain and suffering, unless it is to go buy you medicine.

Author of “Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder” Arlin Cuncic, MA,  notes, “Friends are especially important during times of crisis and turbulence. If you find yourself going through a hard time, having a friend to help you through can make the transition easier”.

So when you think about it and you know that your friend would go to the end of the Earth to ensure you are taken care of and safe, then why would you accept anything less from your significant others?

“This person is supposed to be your better half, the one who you choose to spend your whole life with, and the one who you’re ready to be there for, through sickness and in health,” says Jan Magallon on Vocal.

Your partner just like your best friend will also have to be one of the people who you feel safe enough to call in a time of crisis and know that they have your back, and keep you safe.

Your best friends can be very positive influences in your life, and help you to boost your self esteem and your health. 

 Having at least one person you know you can rely on, will help build your confidence more.

Having a person, who genuinely wants you to be healthy, happy and make positive decisions, is a boost to your own health and lifestyle, because as we are highly social animals, that deep, genuine affectionate relationship will help you to be very healthy and live a much more positive life.

 “If you make friends with people who are generous with their time, help others, ambitious, or family-oriented, you are more likely to develop those values yourself.Having positive relationships with these types of people will also improve your social functioning in general,” Arlin Cuncic, MA, notes.

“[…] if you have at least one friend, you will be more likely to get out and start doing things. That friend may also suggest activities that you would not have considered on your own—thus, pushing you outside your comfort zone to challenge your anxiety,” she continues.

When it comes to romantic partners, the case is very much the same.

 You and your partner should have each other’s best interests at heart and demonstrate your love for each other frequently and naturally, so the bond continues to be reinforced.

Your close friends and especially your best friend all know and love your level of goofiness.

They are the ones who will have been exposed the most to your quirks, the things you absolutely nerd out over, know well your sense of humour and the reason they know these possibly embarrassing things about your personality is because they have earned your trust and you feel safe enough to let all of your true self be on full display.

There is no need to impress or hide who you are from your friends, because they whether consciously or subconsciously accept you as you are.

When it comes to your partner, we tend to try to hide many aspects of ourselves, thinking some of them may be too extreme or unattractive for him/her to discover.

However, if this person is really your person, the person who you want to share your life and love with, then wouldn’t it make sense for them to also love your goofiness and the aspects of you that are the foundation for who you essentially are?

Be yourself always and those who are supposed to be in your life will be.

Let us talk about sex.

Your BFF is a person you can change clothes with in the same room if you felt comfortable enough or if you don’t, will not be offended if you ask them to give you space to change.

This is a trait that is still very, very important in a romantic partner, regardless of if you are having sex with them or not.

 The real concept I’m getting at here is consent and the respect for your personal boundaries.

Just as your BFF will not hesitate to respect your boundaries of comfort, personal space and preference, so too must your romantic partner.

Romantic relationships are not built on sex; instead they are actually built on the nurturing of similar value systems.  

In spending time with friends, your bond grows through great conversation, heartfelt caring, support and having real fun with each other.

They are the ones who are smiling at your good fortune, and when we fall on hard times, they are the ones to put things in better perspective and offer genuine help. 

Money, jealousy, and apathy are not things you fight with your best friend about, because you don’t have to question their motives, the same needs to be in place for the person who is supposed to be on a tier just above your BFF, your life partner.

The rule of thumb that I hope this article expresses is that if it’s not ok for a friend to do certain things, then it is definitely not ok for your romantic partner to do so either.

By the same token, if your friends are more supportive, more open to honest communication and seem to care about you and your interests more, then you need to seriously re-examine the relationship you are in right now and see if this person is really someone you want in your life.

“So next time your friends tell you that you can do better, ask what they mean exactly and evaluate for yourself if their concern is an area of high expectation (how you are being treated) or low expectation (differences that can create conflict) before deciding whether or not to end the relationship,”  says, LMFT, Certified Gottman Therapist.

Your friends want you to be genuinely happy and so must you and your partner. Relationships are here to help us thrive, not wilt.


You made it to the end! Wooot!

Subscribe to Ashlee’s Patreon ‘The Ash Files’ to be the very first to read, receive and offer feedback on her newest works. Subscribe here.