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7 Ways to Reset Your Relationship

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That includes putting it on the schedule. “Scheduling sex can be better for your sex life than it sounds,” Dr. Chavez said. “People fear it takes the excitement out of it, but if anything, it adds anticipation by planning, and isn’t rushed or put on the back burner.”

Why not aim for sex once a week? Not only is this an achievable goal, but according to one study of over 25,000 adults, it’s actually optimal. Research published in 2016 in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science found that weekly sex was ideal for maximum wellbeing. If the respondents, who ranged from 18 to 89, had more than that, their self-reported happiness actually leveled off — and that finding held true for both men and women, and was consistent no matter how long they had been together.

While we’ve seen plenty of our partners during the past year, what’s been missing, said Kendra Knight, an assistant professor of communication studies at DePaul University, is social gatherings in which you view your partner through the eyes of others. She said that seeing your significant other at an event — dressed up, being witty perhaps — can renew your own attraction.

Our estimation of our partner’s attractiveness, sometimes referred to as “mate value,” she said, “is partially a function of others’ appraisals.” That can range, Dr. Knight said, from physical attractiveness to social attractiveness (if, say, they’re the life of the party) to so-called “task attractiveness” — for example, making a batch of their famous margaritas or crushing a backyard horseshoe game.

Of course, if you or your mate is not ready for big events, or never liked neighborhood block parties in the first place, you might just shoot for dinner with close friends or family. Each of us has our own comfort level about heading out into the wider world after so much isolation. “Check in with each other regularly and share how you feel about stepping out,” Dr. Awosan said. “And work on being kind and patient wherever your partner is at.”

The past year and half has been heavy. Now that we’re heading into a summer with far fewer restrictions than the last one, it’s OK to think about bringing some levity back. Being more playful in your relationship can revive that sparkle, according to a review from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg in Germany.

The study’s lead author, Kay Brauer, a researcher in the psychology department, found that people who scored high in “other-directed playfulness,” or goofing around with others, “might be particularly important for reviving relationships after the long stretches of monotony during quarantine.”


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