The divorce is past news, and you have jumped back into the dating world. You met that special someone and fell in love, something you questioned would ever happen again. Life jumps back in, and the sparkling rainbows and unicorns have started to fade a little while you and your new partner usher kids back and forth to their different events, school and activities. You plan dates around work,the kids and parenting time to the point of exhaustion. Some days texts and phone calls are scarce, but you really love this person, so you are determined not to let the romance die. You don’t ever want to experience the emotional pain before, during and after the divorce ever again. So, what do you do to keep the fire burning?
Dane and I have been dating over two and a half years now. We live 437 miles apart, so spending time together can be just plain HARD sometimes. Commitment to us isn’t in a piece of paper, it is two people working hard to hang on to something special. We have talked about getting married someday, but we have decided to make that decision when the kids are out of school and I can live on the farm with him. We don’t talk about it right now, we just work on “us.” While we wait for that glorious day when I can head to the farm full time, we make a lot of phone calls and texts, and plan trips around and with our kids. Keeping the spark alive is important to us. Here are some ways to keep the fire burning.
1. Communicate. Talk about your future, your right now, your past. Talk about your feelings on everything. Truly understanding each other is the key to a great relationship.
2. Do unexpected things for each other. Be thoughtful. When you are on the receiving end, say thank you and mean it. Make your partner feel valued. Find a way to let your partner know you thought of them today.
There is a grocery store where Dane lives that sells their own brand of cookies. I have fallen in love with a particular kind that tastes like a certain type of cookie that is only sold a certain time of year…wink wink. No one in our blended weird family likes this cookie but me. Whenever I arrive at the farm or Dane comes here, a package is waiting on me. He also tells me about conversations he had with others where my name and a compliment popped up.
3. Say “I love you” randomly throughout the day. Text, voice, whatever. You have no idea how many times my heart has overflowed with happy tears when my day was going to hell in a hand basket, and I looked down at my phone and saw those three words I really needed to hear.
4. Be kind, and find ways to laugh together. When your partner does something annoying or frustrating or just plain dumb, step back and see the situation for what it really is, take a deep breath, and crack a joke or give him a hug. As the great Jimmy Buffett would say “ …that’s the difference between lightning and a harmless lightning bug.” (…and don’t have a full blown fit if he accidentally may have let a fire in the pasture get too close to the electric fence. He will tease you mercilessly about said fit.)
5. Stay sexual. If you are 1 mile or 437 miles apart, sext or have phone sex once in a while. Start by talking out a fantasy. Shop online for new “toys” for the bedroom together. Buy some sexy lingerie. Make love in places in the house OTHER than the bedroom. Wear his t-shirt to bed with nothing underneath, and send him sexy selfies of you wearing it.
6. Have a romantic date. “Romantic” can have its own definition between you and your partner. Don’t let society tell you what is romantic. To Dane and I, romantic is being outside with a drink in our hand having a fire and staring up at the stars. Sometimes, it’s burning old grass at night off the hay pasture. Sometimes it’s cooking something new together. One time, it was laying on my garage floor, shoulder to shoulder, under an F250 installing a new starter.
7. Find a hobby you both love to do and do it together. The connection will bring you closer than ever.
8. Respect each other’s time and each other’s parenting time.
When I was with “the warden” he would scream at me if we were on the phone together and Grant or Kristy needed something. Dane has broken up with girls who tried to put themselves ahead of Bradley in his life.
If Dane needs to do something and can’t be hanging on every text I send or be on the phone, I find some other way to spend my time, knowing we will catch up later. We have both put visits off or gone home early to work around our children’s activities. I feel we are closer because we make this a priority. Does respect contribute to romance? Plain and simple, I have to respect someone in order to be attracted to them.
Relationships take a lot of work. An “every day” moment can be changed to a moment that elevates your partner’s heart rate with just a little thoughtful effort. Keeping the spark alive doesn’t have to be that hard, if you just try a little.