Happy Valentine’s Day to all my couples, throuples and polygamous parings.
With the lack of a dating season and restaurants and borders closed, Valentine’s Day 2021 may feel different to the previous years. This time last year coronavirus was on the horizon – a month before the national lockdown – Valentine’s Day was anomaly in a year that discouraged closeness. Subsequently after a year devoid of quintessential romantic markers (e.g. winter wonderlands excursions and baecations), this Valentine’s Day feels anticlimactic but significant. 2020 (aka the year pandemic stole) was a stressor for most relationships.
Couples were either forcibly separated for extended periods causing a depreciation in intimacy and chemistry or thrust into a proximity induced pressure pot of frustration and aggravation. The inability to create the necessary separation required to attain clarity or to have conversations that correctly convey tone and body language was detrimental to most relationships. Consequently, couples I admired got divorced, engagements were called off and potential soul mates destined to be together failed to ignite – collateral damage in a year that killed millions. Although COVID-19, has completely corrupted cupid’s favourite holiday, this doesn’t mean we should cease romance or romantic endeavours. For a lot of couples, the romance feels like it has died or the effort to be romantic is not reciprocated.
What Romance Means To Me
I believe romance is relative to both the individual and couple. Dependent on individuals love languages (the manner in which they exude and receive love), romance can be exhibited in different forms. Romance is the intangible entity between couples that arouses, reaffirms and strengthen the feelings of amour. My individual concept of romance was conceived out of an over saturation of Disney films and romantic comedies, that convinced me that true romance could only be actualised as grand romantic gestures. When I envision romance as spontaneous weekends in Paris, expensive dinners at Gaucho and elaborate anniversaries. Classic perceptions or romance highlighted physical touch and gift receiving (i.e. flowers and chocolate) as the ultimate indicators of romance. Although I appreciate these things, for me it’s always been the little snippets of romance, that built the intimacy and romantic connection. Romance in my relationship is actualised via ‘acts of service’ and ‘words of affirmation’. It’s remembering to put my phone on charge when I fall asleep watching a streaming service or being greeted with wine on arrival. To paraphrase a city girl “it’s the extra sensitivity and attentiveness on my period through breakfast in bed, back rubs and chocolates for me”. Every day, I wake up and go to bed with loving words of affirmation, bolstered with random I love you texts to make me feel warm.
Tips for Reviving The Romance
There is no standardised approach to increase romance and a concerted y attempt to revive romance would have to conform to the individual’s preferred love language. However, I think the implementation of the following things, can foster a loving and caring environment, full of devotion.
Regular Affirmations of Love
I love doing the “10 things I love about you” for anniversaries and Valentines’ day. I don’t think affirmations of love should be relegated to momentous occasions. Try introducing romantic and flirtatious post it notes to be found by your partner – as corny as it seems, it will make your partner smile out of appreciation. Sprinkle saucy sexts throughout the day to direct blood flow and increase the anticipation for evening activities.
Replace Vacations with Staycations
Transform your living room or spare room into your private hotel room. I know for many, the inability to invigorate the relationship through a weekend getaway consisting of new memories and lack of responsibilities. Lockdown’s most significant attack to romance, is the disappearance of hotel sex. Sexual activities are paramount to the cultivation of intimacy. Although the day-to-day boudoir activities are earth shattering, I miss not having to stifle moans and screams or worrying about the wet patch that signifies a good session. It’s difficult to create a vacation or hotel room experience in your house, however changing your space may help. Try decorating the living room to create an indoor camping set up or purchasing a blow up bed to create a mini retreat. It feels silly and pointless, however persevere, it takes effort and intention (i.e. commitment to the cause) to work.
Pamper Your Partner
Building (physical) intimacy with non-sexual contact is important for any relationship – get comfortable being around your partner. Sensualise self-care with face masks, spiritual baths and massages. Running your partner a spiritual and sensual bath is important – romantic baths alone are equally as romantic baths together. For my partner I use the Radox muscle therapy bath salts, accompanied with the Radox muscle therapy bubble bath. To lull your partner into complete relaxation, infuse your essentials oil into the experience. For shared baths I love Sunday Rain’s bath range combined with bath petals, to completely immerse us in the moment. Follow the bath up with a nice massage with edible warming
Don’t Forget to Date
In the beginning of the pandemic, when the weather was warmer and the immediate relief of not having to deal with the physicality of working 9 to 5 felt like a fresh air, day dates were all the rage. In the early stages of lockdown, couples were enabled to reconnect with each other and be present in their quality time together. Picnics in the park and fruit picking were the preferred lockdown past time – quintessentially romantic it allowed couples to be in the moment. However, with the monotony of lockdown, prohibited recreational events and the need to catch up on work, free time no longer feels like free time and dates inevitably have taken a step back. Step up your romance levels through quality times structured around a planned activity (i.e. cocktail making, zoom quizzes with other couples and bike riding) and dinner dates. Having a pre-planned time specific activity will motivate both you and your partner to make an effort to maintain the romance.
Spice Up Your Sex Life
Like many other couples, me and my partner have gotten incredibly comfortable and unfortunately the mystery between us, is somewhat decimated. The lockdown forced our relationship to mature at a speed, we typically wouldn’t have allowed. Consequently, bodily movements that were previously hid and disguised have been exposed (i.e. my boyfriend is lactose intolerant but loves McDonald’s milkshakes and McFlurrys, I hate the aftereffects). To re-establish the mystique, I propose role play. Pre-pandemic I was always partial to the nurse, sick-patient fantasy, (however in the current climate, it feels inappropriate), but you can’t go wrong with sexy maid or firefighter. Tap into your femininity and inner vixen via seductive dances and strip teases, and light BDSM. Silk restraints, satin blindfold and shibari are the perfect introduction into the world of S&M.
Tokens of Affections Help
It’s the little things that matter, it doesn’t need to be expensive just something to reiterate the fact that they mean a lot to you. I frequently buy my boyfriend, his favourite sweet treats and mini tokens of affection. If you’re looking to splurge there are amazing lockdown treat boxes and hampers (confectionary or alcohol based) that will appeal to those whose love language is receptive to presents. I love ordering item for my partner that I know his running low on or replacing items he hasn’t gotten round to (i.e. Nike socks), it displays an attention to detail that make your partner feel valued.