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Dr. Goodheart's Flirting Hints
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Dr. Goodheart's Flirting Hints for Dating Success

Bonding 101 for Beaus and Belles
5 pointers on how to keep that "next" stage of the relationship fun and flirty

~ Things change; just like the seasons, your hair color, and the latest fashions, so too does the romantic rollercoaster of a relationship provide a couple with everlasting changes and evolutions. Often with change comes an intermediate stage of being lost and bored. Most couples tend to find that their so called "spark" dies out early in the relationship; the "honeymoon" stage has ended; they've officially become the "BORING" couple. Granted there comes a day when, if the relationship seems solidly secure, to take the next step. And true, often that formidable "next step" brings with a wave of new challenges and complications; leaving behind the fun and flirtatious novel flippancy of your early lovebird days in its shadow. Still, when the first flicker of the flame begins to wither, it doesn't mean its time to hit the road and go in searching of new and better options. Rather, it means its time for a new perspective: one that helps you reignite the flame and keep it burning all the years thereafter.

That doesn't mean that serious couples can't and shouldn't have fun too. In fact,one of the best ways to boost passion is to simultaneously boost the "fun factor" in a relationship. It's even more important for those long-standing duos to reignite those old passions and/or keep the embers burning before boredom, stress, and other environmental factors snuff the flame for you, and believe me, they can and will. So if you're one of those couples that seems to be either moving quickly into land-o-boredom, or think you're ready for the next step but are terrified by the challenging prospects it entails, here are 5 helpful tips to help you connect with your partner on a fundamentally fun, alebit intimate way.

Bonding Boost 1) Go Solo

No, I'm not being counter-intuitive. By solo I mean that covetous prospect, "alone time." Ah yes, after a long stressful day at work, a hectic weekend-long friendly fiesta, or a week of tending to the endless needs of the kiddies, it's likely you and your partner (be you single, married, parents or otherwise) are overdue for a little intimate R&R. It's imperative to find a way to work in small chunks of 1-on-1 intimate alone time into your schedule, ideally every day, realistically every week, to keep things aflame.

Some great activities that are purely intimate and perfect for boosting bonding are also some of the simplest, like a nightly 15 minute walk: tale time to smell the fresh air and listen to the sounds of the city preparing for bed. If the "night" is too cold or not a becoming prospect, try afternoon strolls, or sunset saunters, these are also great moments to bond, reflect on each other's day, and just enjoy the intimate privacy of each other's company.

BONUS: Its bonding time and exercise all rolled into one. Who knows? You may even drop a few pounds over the course of a month's worth of occasional "midnight strolls.

OTHER ALTERNATIVES: Try incorporating one of these other activities into your schedule at least once a week or so. They can be as long or as short (no less than 15 minutes please; you are going for intimacy here): enjoy taking a hot bubble bath together, reminisce over old photos, or rent your favorite movie and watch it cuddled up, cocoa in hand, alone.

Bonding Boost 2) Genie in a Partner

Get a little risky and bring back the intimacy with a creative twist - i.e. complete subservience to your partner. Play "genie" and grant your partner the opportunity for three of their most hidden and desirable intimate wishes: chances are there are more than a few hidden wants remaining to be discovered about your partner, no matter how healthy, intimate, or longstanding your relationship. Now's the opportunity to release those desires and, by playing servant, it's a great way to create a romantic mood that will lead to your partner's willingness to return the favor. Try playing your "genie" game once every other week or so; granting your partner 3 wishes that can be as simple as you're preparing them a hot bath with a cocktail awaiting, to a hot oil massage, to something a little more risky between the sheet. No matter the wish, this is a great way to unlock those floodgates and provoke and honest, intimate relationship that comfortably explores one another's mind, body, and soul.

BONUS: You're bonding time just took care of your, just as important, "intimacy checklist" as well-you do have an intimacy checklist, albeit a mentally noted one, right?

Bonding Boost 3) Play House

Not in the way you played when you were a little kid. Instead, if you and partner are getting ready to take the next step into "serious couples" land then there's no better activity to spur the excitement that to go "dream house" hunting. Sure the houses will be out of price range and unrealistically fantastic, but that's the whole point.

In sharing each other's likes and dislikes about your architectural styles you help reveal to each other exactly what type of home, more modestly of course, would be your perfectly humble abode when the time arrives to make that important purchase. Gawk at the mansions, linger over the cute English country tutors and Mediterranean villas and share with each other your dream vision. This way you establish immediately a new level of compatibility without incurring the major price tag that comes with it; that's for later. Also, the activity may help create a vision of a possible schematic for an entire lifestyle. Who knows? Talking tutor houses may get you on conversations about kids, owning horses, dream vacations, etc. The limits are endless with the imagination- feel free to indulge in such fantasies with the most important person in your life, your partner!

Bonding Boost 4) Homebound "TV Land"

We've all watched them. From the good, the bad, and the ugly, today's TV channels offer a slew of dating and flirting game shows from newlywed series to the infamous "Blind Date" etc. Find inspiration in the more "intimacy-geared" games and contrive your own version of a couple's game show to be staged at home with you and your partner, and several of your couple friends (no more than one to two other couples to keep things intimate). Devise a standard set of questions (say 10 or so) and then split the couples up so that one partner answers questions pertaining to the other, and vice versa. Then, bring the couples together and share your answers. It will be a fun and festive way to discover just how well you know your partner while inviting your coupled friends to do the same.

BONUS: Work in prizes for the winning couple like a gift certificate for 2 to a spa, coffee shop, or other intimate location where you can continue your intimate hiatus. Or, for more economically efficient couples, offer a candy bar to the winning duo. You can make the game as large-scale or intimate, as lavish or as thrifty as you like - the key here is the intimacy, the gifts are simply there for "grins and giggles," so to speak.

Bonding Boost 5) Rarified Rituals

Humans are creatures of habit, and though some of us prefer more spontaneity than others, still, chances are that we still require some sort of routine to our lives, even if it is only the morning self-prep ritual. Take this "patterned" behavior and apply it to your relationship but in such a way as to keep the habit from losing its panache. Suggestions: starting this week, choose a day and a time where you will, every week, come together with your partner and discuss the one thing you're most thankful, grateful for in your partner. Or, if you both love a certain book try making time every week to read passages from it for 15 minutes or so, or watch a sunset at the beach once a week if you're beach lovers, or if you have a favorite ice cream parlor try making a ritual (maybe every other week with rituals like this) of going there and ordering your favorite flavor, or do the same with a coffee shop.

These little nuances are important in keeping a relationship intimate while stable. They promotes honesty, progression, and familiarity in the relationship and assist the relationships forward focus: rituals give you and your partner something to look forward to. You should be excited to partake in the rituals every week or so, not dreading them. Be inventive, creative, open, and true to you and your partner's likes and chances are you'll find you can start incorporating several routine activities into your weekly schedule with ease.

GO TO: DOCTOR GOODHEART INDEX * MAIN FLIRTING INDEX

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