If you’ve been happily settled in a long-term relationship for some time, you probably think of your partner as your best friend and that’s as it should be. Healthy, happy relationships that are destined to last are often also based on solid friendships. However, if your relationship has reached a point where the two of you feel more like friends than you do lovers, it might be time to make a few changes.

Lasting relationships aren’t just friendships. They’re also love affairs, but it takes effort, awareness, and dedication to keep that part of your connection alive. Here we’ll go over some must-know tips for putting that essential spark back into a relationship that might be starting to feel a little too platonic.

Put time limits on “roommate talk”

When you share bills, expenses, and living space with a partner, it’s a given that you’ll spend your share of time and energy discussing the business of living together. You’ll need to divvy up the chores and touch base with each other as far as who’s sending in the rent check that month for sure. However, spending too much time on shop talk about who’s turn it is to scrub the toilet or do the laundry doesn’t exactly foster romance.

Try consciously limiting the amount of time you spend each week discussing these things. (An hour or so should be ample time to stay organized without overdoing it.) Never let it encroach on your romantic time as a couple.

Make time for romance

When a relationship is brand new, making the time to court your partner and be romantic together pretty much takes care of itself. Little things that make a big difference — like lighting candles to make a dinner together feel special or bringing home flowers once in a while — are basically second nature. Then real life starts to get in the way, making it easier and easier to dismiss romance as unimportant or unnecessary.

Making romance a priority again is one of the easiest, most enjoyable ways to keep your relationship from feeling too friendship-esque. Decide right now that you’re going to start going out of your way to spoil your partner the way you used to. Light the candles and put on the romantic music. Schedule weekly or biweekly date nights to give you both something to look forward to while you’re at work. Make the effort to look good for them. It makes a huge difference in the long run.

Get physical with one another

When was the last time you gave your partner a real kiss on their way out the door to work instead of just a perfunctory peck on the cheek? How about the last time you felt like you couldn’t’ keep your hands off your partner even though you were out in public? Intimate, frequent touch is an important part of keeping that romantic connection alive and making your partner feel loved.

Start looking for ways to touch your partner more often and take advantage of opportunities to do so the way you used to. Put your arm around them or hold hands when you’re out in public. Briefly stroke their back or their cheek when you pass each other in the hallway. Pull them in close and kiss them every so often for no real reason. You just might wind up rekindling a passion you thought was long gone.

Save the venting for your friends

No one’s saying you shouldn’t see your partner as your closest friend and most important confidante. However, you should also be aware that making them your go-to person every single time you want to blow off a little steam can blur the lines between romance and friendship a little too much, especially over time. Romance and constant complaining just really don’t mix.

Yes, your partner is there to listen to you and support you, but everyday venting is what friends are for. Call up your besties when you feel like raging over your unreasonable boss or the annoying stranger you had to sit next to on the subway ride home. Save your partner’s ear for more important things and spend the bulk of your conversation time together on pleasant, stimulating discussion.

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Try new things together (both in and out of the bedroom)

Nothing brings two people closer together quite like having a new experience together. Solving problems, overcoming challenges, and exploring new territory as a couple bonds you unlike anything else. It does an excellent job of reminding you both why you chose each other in the first place as well.

Never stop going out of your way to try new things. Take a class as a couple and learn a new skill. Pick out a recipe for a dish neither of you has tried before and cook it together for dinner. Challenge yourselves to try a new position in bed at least a couple of times a month. Start a naughty toy chest, fill it with fun goodies like couple’s vibrators or flavored lubes, and include foreplay in your sex play often. If it’s new and sounds exciting to you both, just do it!

Blow each other’s phones up with flirty texts

Here in 2018, texting isn’t just a convenient way to get in touch with someone or leave messages for them. It’s a way of life, so if you and your partner are like most people, you probably exchange at least a few texts every single day. Starting now, make it a point to start sending your partner the kinds of texts they would have received from you when you first started dating.

Yes, it’s fine to remind your partner to pick up the kids after work or to ask what they’d like for dinner. Just make sure you’re also sending them texts that reflect your relationship as lovers. It can be something as sweet an innocent as a random text to say “I miss you” or “I’m thinking of you right now”. Definitely don’t reign in the urge to send a five-alarm sexy selfie or a sext instead if that’s your thing though.

Look for ways to revive the mystery

We get it. Once you’ve reached the place in a relationship where you’re totally comfortable burping or farting in front of one another, it’s tempting to think the mystery aspect of your relationship is long over with. Just know that it’s not gone so much as it just needs to be redefined a little bit. It’s easy to start adding elements of the mysterious back to the way you interact once you start looking for opportunities.

Try performing a flirty strip tease for your partner the next time you get undressed in front of them or when you’re changing into your sleepwear before bed. Get in the habit of planning little surprises for your partner. Take the wheel when it comes to planning your next date night and put together something secret or sexy for them to look forward to. It’s all about recapturing the sense of coyness, fun, and anticipation that made your early days together so electric.

Show gratitude for the little things your partner does

When you’re comfortable in a relationship, even if it’s a really wonderful one, you tend to get used to being treated well. Whether you mean to or not, you start to take the little things your partner does for granted as a result. Decide that starting now, you’re going to make an effort to see, notice, and actively appreciate those little things again.

Always thank your partner when they go out of their way to open a door for you, pick you up from work, or bring home a favorite treat from the store. Compliment them if you notice they changed their hair or are wearing something new. You don’t necessarily have to wait until there’s cause to express your appreciation either. Any time is a good time to tell your beloved you find them attractive or that you appreciate everything that they do for you.

Put the magic back into the mundane

It’s easy to see a lover as more of a friend or a family member when you do lots of average, everyday things together — mundane tasks you complete almost mindlessly every single day like showering, making dinner, or getting ready to walk out the door for work. The key to turning things around isn’t to abandon your routines, but to look for ways to make everyday tasks a little more fun and exciting.

Try waking your partner up with a loving kiss or – if the mood strikes – some oral sex instead of waiting for the alarm clock to do it. Hop into the shower together and take turns washing each other. Choose an awesome Spotify playlist that matches your dinner menu and listen to it together while you cook, eat, and clean up afterward. There’s no rule that says mundane tasks have to actually feel mundane. Together the two of you can find a way to put magic into just about anything.