Keeping the Desire In Long Term Romance

desire long term

Esther Perel gave a fantastic TED talk earlier this year after completing years of research on desire and fascination in couples.  Her talk and her work focus on key ways to keep the fire alive for couples who stay together a long time.  Two clear themes hold true for couples and for fires.  The are:

Fire Needs Air

If you have ever built a fire you know this is true.  You can’t pile on too much kindling and paper, the fire needs to breathe.  This is true in partnership as well.  You need a little room to breathe.

As Perel puts it, one clear response in her research was from people who said “I am most drawn to my partner when she is away, when we are apart, when we reunite.”  Taking time away from your sweetheart is beneficial for many reasons, but in the case of desire it allows room for imagination.  Giving your fire some air affords the opportunity to long for one another.

Be careful not to smother your fire.

Fire Needs Fuel

You can’t a fire without kindling, and without regularly feeding it your fire will eventually die out.  In couples this is probably even more important than giving space.

So how to you feed that fire?  Feed your inner fire.  Each of you has something wonderful and magical within you that originally drew your partner to you.  Invest in your individual fires or as Perel’s said, “When I look at my partner radiant and confident, probably the biggest turn-on across the board.”

Find ways to develop your interests and passions and share them with your partner and others.  Toss some kindling on the fire and watch the sparks fly.

21 Responses to “Keeping the Desire In Long Term Romance”

  1. Designer Rob Russo

    Nice post and so true that a fire needs air and regular fuel.

    I get that we have to feed our inner fire a bit, but when you take a marriage oath two become one. My wife and I like to be together and work together to fuel that united, larger fire.

    A few hours (or a standard work day) is about all the “air” my wife and I need. We celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary this summer (and were together for many years before we married) and we don’t like to be apart too long!

    I think the fuel analogy (feeding your inner fire) applies to relationships outside of marriage, of course.

    And you should never go into any relationship squashing your own passions and interests … It would be as if the other partner dumped a bucket of water on your own fire.

    In the end I agree: If certain passions are shared, sparks will fly.

  2. Relationship are about give and take. I think time away is good and it reminds us why we are together.

    Love the air and fuel imagery.

  3. Thanks for the post Gina, “air and fuel” things that we should to think more often when taking care of our daily relationship!

  4. Akindeji

    Great work .
    I like the analogy- Fire needs air.
    Great tip for every relationship.
    Love this post.

  5. I agree, a couple needs to give one another the opportunity to grow as an individual so as not to smother the fire of love that burns. Yet we each need to be there for each other for loving support and most important do not forget to keep romance in your marriage to keep the desire alive. My husband and I have been married for over 52 years so I can speak from just a little experience. I believe commitment from the very beginning is also a key ingredient that is often left out which can more easily lead to divorce.

  6. Great analogy: describes the situation completely … with nothing extraneous, or left over. Just like a well-conceived and well-built fire …

  7. Hey Gina, so true. My hubby does FIFO, so he’s away regularly. It certainly makes us appreciate each other. Thanks for sharing this. xo

  8. What a great analogy, long term relationships compared to keeping a fire going. Love it and oh how true it is. Thanks for this great post, Gina.

  9. Maureen

    Great tips and a great relationship takes work. Thanks for the reminder.

  10. My hubby & I married (each our second) when we were 60 & 67 yrs young. In our vows we promised we would not take one another for granted. Enjoyed your blog.

  11. Sabrina at MyMiBoSo

    Short and sweet but hugely practical – great post Gina!

    My man is about to head off to Pittsburgh to film a TV show for 3 1/2 months…and though I will miss him sorely, I am truly grateful for the air it will give our relationship so that we appreciate each other so much more during those visits in between!

  12. Great information Gina. I know that I miss my husband when he travels and it gives us a break from each other. While he is gone, I always take the time to talk to him each day and catch up with him.

  13. As a proud fire sign —Aries to be exact—I can appreciate this information! Thanks for a great post!

    Yvonne Brown

  14. Such a beautiful post, Gina. I like this: ” Each of you has something wonderful and magical within you that originally drew your partner to you.” If only more people would remember this. :) Thanks for sharing.