How Long-Term Couples Can Put a Spark Back Into Valentine’s Day

imageIf you’re married or have been dating someone for a while, the sweetness of Valentine’s Day may be becoming a little stale. Most of us shake our heads at the Hallmark commercial bliss reserved for new couples, but who wouldn’t like to be spoiled with fresh flowers, a thoughtful card, chocolates and a romantic dinner?!

Most long-term couples don’t experience February 14th the same way they did when they first started dating — but guess what? You can teach an old dog new tricks and re-invent your Valentine’s Day traditions, according to relationship experts.

It’s a great opportunity to reboot or maintain the relationship, says GalTime relationship expert and marriage/family therapist Dr. Jane Greer. “If you feel like the romance has simmered a bit, speak to your partner ahead of time to avoid the disappointment,” she says. “Open a dialogue and let your partner know your expectations in advance, and give them time to respond.”

Greer points out something that should be obvious to most rational, mature adults but sometimes isn’t: Maybe Valentine’s Day means more to your partner than it does to you or vice versa. You just need to find out! “You can literally ask them for a list of things they might like to do or receive and go from there,” Greer emphasizes.

And if you’re looking to bring back a little romance into a relationship, you don’t have to rely on the tried-and-true V-day standbys. Mix it up by adding some personal and meaningful touches to your Valentine’s Day repertoire, suggests our dating and relationship expert Andrea Syrtash. Here are two ways:

Share a Personal Greeting: People want to hear why they are loved! Instead of giving your partner a store-bought card on Valentine’s Day, leave them a ‘That’s What I Love About You’ video message on Skype. Couples don’t express this enough and a video message is so much more memorable than a card.

Swap the Prix-Fix for Spontaneity: Everyone’s sick of overpriced and overrated 3-course Valentine’s Day menus. One of the key ways to keep passion alive in your relationship is by introducing novelty on a regular basis. Novelty releases dopamine in our brains, and makes us feel like our connection is new. See a new sight, explore another neighborhood or check out the local live music, which tends to be great and reasonably well-priced.

Whatever you do or don’t do this Valentine’s Day, make sure you and your partner don’t feel underappreciated or unfulfilled. It may just be another day in another year but one of you may be using it as a litmus test for your romantic life — and that’s one exam you don’t want to fail.