How to Bring the Excitement Back Into a Long-Term Relationship
At several points during their decade-long relationship, Adi’s sex addiction threatened to derail his partnership with Sophie, the yogi and founder of Philosophie superfoods. But after one breakup—and lots of help from therapists and healers—the couple persevered and came out stronger than ever. Now, they’re using the best of what they’ve learned to help other pairs in peril through Igntd, their new program of retreats and workshops for men, women, and couples.
“There was a reason why you got together with your person—but in the hustle and bustle of life, you forget."
One big thing the Jaffes want other duos to take away from their story: You shouldn’t automatically assume defeat when that new couple feeling starts to fade (whether it's from a traumatic event, like they experienced, or just the normal end of the honeymoon phase). “Our work is all about reminding couples of their potential,” says Adi, an addiction specialist who has a PhD in psychology. “There was a reason why you got together with your person—but in the hustle and bustle of life, you forget."
That's what they'll be focusing on at the first Igntd Couples retreat in March, where individual and group therapy sessions in the Cayman Islands will be spliced with yoga, meditation, HIIT workshops, cooking classes, and more. (Can’t make it? The Jaffes are also hosting a virtual bootcamp from February 1-14.) Says Adi: "We’re providing you with a reset button for your relationship.”
Do you feel like your long-term love affair's stuck on pause? Keep reading for Sophie and Adi Jaffe’s tips for keeping things hot once you're in the trenches of a committed partnership.
1. Never stop dating each other
When you and your partner are stressed out over a million things—work, money, politics—it’s easy to let date night drop off the priority list. But the Jaffes argue this is when it’s more important than ever.
“Coupleship takes work,” proclaims Adi. “At the office, you don’t say, ‘If I just show up, the projects will get done and my clients will be happy.’ You work for it. In a true partnership, you have to put in the effort to make your partner happy.”
Sophie suggests scheduling in dates each week, just like you’d put a meeting or a workout on your calendar. (And no, staring at Netflix while silently eating takeout doesn't count.) “Take a day or night where you escape together doing whatever makes you feel connected,” she says. “Pick one of the things you used to do when you were dating, or get a hotel room and have a sexy night—just put your phone on airplane mode!”
And what if your partner says they’re too busy? “Trust that it doesn’t mean your coupleship is doomed,” advises Adi. “When you feel resistance from your partner, it’s a signal that they need you to come in stronger.” The good news: According to Adi, once you’re having fun together again, “you’ll magically rediscover the aspects of the person that you fell in love with.”
2. Get handsy (without having sex)
Let’s face it: Sex with a long-term partner can get kind of snoozy. Once you’ve done it with the same person hundreds of times, it’s easy to take everything about them for granted—which is why the Jaffes recommend removing intercourse from the picture for a bit and focusing on the simple sense of touch.
Yes, that’s right—not having sex could help bring you closer to your partner. “Something we did really early on [while healing our relationship] was non-sexual light touching,” says Adi. “Sit in front of your partner and take their hand. Just feel it. This is about paying attention to a mundane part of your partner, but really giving it your all.”
This kind of laser-focused, G-rated intimacy isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds. “[The first few times we did it], it was terrifying and challenging,” Adi admits. “I recommend people start small and not jump right into sex, because sex can serve as a distraction from the stuff this brings up.” But once you return to getting busy, you'll be more in-tune with your partner—with a surplus of pent-up sexual energy, to boot.
3. Know your partner’s love language
The Jaffes credit Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages, with helping to keep their relationship rock solid. “It’s important to be aware of what you and your partner both need, and this book helps with that,” says Sophie. (If nothing else, being responsive to your partner's needs will definitely lead to better sex—science says so.)
Essentially, the book claims that everyone has a different way of translating and receiving love, and there are five different categories we all fall into. For instance, says Sophie, Adi’s love language is largely verbal. “He needs to be acknowledged for who he is and what he does with words,” she says. “I’m more physical. I’d rather be showered with a million hugs and kisses.”
Sophie adds that you can turn this into a mini-date by reading together, side-by-side in bed. “It makes it more of a bonding activity,” she says.
4. Start a journal together
“One of the things we find a lot [in fizzling relationships] is that communication has broken down,” says Adi. “Couples have forgotten how to talk to one another.” From there, distance and resentment are pretty much inevitable.
If leveling with each other in an honest, straightforward way is challenging, the Jaffes recommend creating a journal where you message back and forth. If things are good, pen some love notes. If not? “Write things that you’re having trouble expressing to each other’s face in normal conversation,” suggests Sophie. Having those difficult talks, even if it’s through pen and paper, are bound to bring you closer—both outside of the sheets and in between them.
Losing your mojo isn't just an emotional thing—it can also be due to a physical issue. One of the biggest causes is the birth control pill. Here's how to get your sex drive back after you've quit it.
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