How to Rekindle a Relationship

How do you emotionally rekindle a relationship?
on October 16, 2023
Read time: 10 mins
by Moraya Seeger DeGeare

If only you could bottle the butterflies of newfound love and keep them safe forever. 

As much as we’d like to deny it, many relationships suffer from a fading spark as time ticks on. So, how do you rekindle a relationship? More importantly, how do you make sure that you keep the spark burning? 

If your relationship has hit the rocks, it’s important not to wave the white flag too soon. With determination and teamwork, it’s very possible to rekindle your relationship from the ashes. Sequels may get a bad reputation, but we think that rekindled love stories are quite the tale. 

Why do couples lose the spark in their relationship? 

At the beginning of your relationship, everything is exciting as you are entirely engrossed by this new person in your life. Even the little things take on a kind of glow in these early stages, as everything is new and fresh. 

Falling in love with someone brings a whole rush of emotions, with this euphoria providing the high you float at throughout the honeymoon phase

Scientists have discovered that this euphoric feeling is actually the release of oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin, which are commonly released during the initial stages of infatuation — with this powerful concoction strengthening your growing bond. 

So if you ever felt like you simply couldn’t get your hands off each other, it’s that powerful combination of hormones at work! This intense rush of emotions is often mistaken for love, but this intense spark naturally fades over time. 

No one can take the blame for this process, as it’s impossible to sustain such a high level of emotion throughout the longevity of a relationship — not to mention impractical! However, even though it’s natural for the honeymoon phase to end, it doesn’t mean that a new basis of love shouldn’t take its place. 

5 signs your relationship is broken 

At Paired, we believe in the practice of love — that in order to forge a long-lasting, successful relationship, both partners have to be willing to work on their partnership as a team. 

However, swept away by the demands of a busy life, it’s easy to lose sight of these goals as the years roll on. 

At these later stages, many couples find themselves left with only the distant memories of their love affair — surrounded by the ashes of the spark that burned them both in the end. This kind of broken dynamic can be detrimental to the longevity of the relationship, and even if couples don’t like to admit it, is pretty easy to spot. 

"At some point in your relationship, early on, you went through something together, big or small, that helped you see how this person was going to show up for you in these key moments,” says Moraya Seeger DeGeare, a licensed marriage and family therapist and In-House Expert at Paired.

“For many couples, as you navigated a challenge, you realized this is the person you want to be with, that you want to keep going with. What can also happen is a start to a pattern of disconnection, not enough to break up, but a way of reconnecting and supporting that is not sustainable. This cycle, which leaves you feeling further away from each other, is important; it's part of the deeper disconnection that exists beneath the craving for that spark to return.” 

That pattern if unattended can lead to the challenge of why it feels hard to be flirty, fun, and playful together. 

1. Lack of trust 

In order for a long-term relationship to survive, there needs to be a foundation of trust that allows couples to rely on each other. However, as prioritization shifts over time, it’s easy for resentment and distrust to build up. 

Instead of having faith that your partner will show up for you, there is no assurance of their dependability — eroding the trust that once existed between them. 

This erosion of trust is made worse in the wake of infidelity, as your loved one’s worst fears are realized. 

2. Constant conflict 

Every couple has a tiff from time to time. 

Even in healthy relationships, it's natural to butt heads over household chores, or if someone forgot to pick up the kids from school.

However, if your relationship becomes defined by arguments, things can quickly escalate to more serious conflicts — with your relationship serving as collateral damage.  

“Some couples experience deep love and connection, but find themselves trapped in a recurring pattern triggered by both partners,” says Seeger DeGeare. 

“This conflict often stems from one person neglecting their personal inner work on mental health or unresolved childhood issues that manifest in their adult relationship dynamics. Even if the couple is actively trying to avoid constant fighting, the instinctual response of arguing or withdrawing originates from external factors beyond this relationship that should be addressed.”

3.  Lack of communication 

In long-term relationships, it’s easy to lapse into small talk. 

You might discuss matters of the day, or exchange chit-chat about the weather, but are you really communicating? Without a healthy level of honest communication, it’s easy for space to creep in between you — with the chasm quickly becoming too treacherous to cross. 

4. No quality time 

Spending time with your partner is one of the most basic requirements to make a relationship work. If you’re not prioritizing quality time in the first place, it’s almost impossible to stay in sync with your partner. 

Even though you may be sitting next to each other on the couch, if you’re not really engaging with your partner, it’s difficult to really stay connected. 

5. Lack of excitement 

While some people think excitement is confined to the start of a relationship, this shouldn’t be the case!

Even though excitement might come in different forms, butterflies should still be making an appearance from time to time. If you don’t feel stimulated by your relationship, it’s very easy for things to become stagnant — with your spark fading away by the second. 

Can you rekindle a broken relationship?

Rekindling a broken relationship takes work, determination, and dedication. Even though it can sometimes be an uphill battle to get things back on track, it’s definitely possible to restore the spark that started your love story. 

Fairytales have a lot to answer when it comes to this question, as they tend to skip the chapters that come after the wedding bells. Even though love stories can develop on their own, there is no such thing as smooth sailing without teamwork. 

While it’s disheartening to see your romantic relationship hit the rocks, there’s no reason why you can’t steer it back to happier seas! 

"It all comes down to addressing what you are avoiding talking about and incorporating regular everyday patterns in your relationship that keep conversations open,” says Seeger DeGeare. 

“Often, couples will have a big talk and think, 'Okay, it's going to be better now, we fixed it.' When in reality, you need both: the willingness to say, 'Can we talk?' and the trust that your partner will respond with, 'I would love to.'”

How do you rebuild love in a relationship? 

There is no simple way to get the spark back in your relationship, as there is no quick fix when it comes to your love story. 

However, if you’re both willing to work together, your rekindled love affair could work out as quite the sequel. This kind of change won’t happen overnight, but patience and maturity will aid you in your quest for a worthy second act. 

There are an abundance of ways to try and rekindle your relationship, with some couples benefiting from additional help or resources such as relationship coaches or couples therapy. 

"To work on rebuilding that spark authentically, it's important to address ways in which you might not be loving to yourself,” says Seeger DeGeare. 

“Even something as simple as showing gratitude to your partner feels more honest and authentic when you truly know how to be loving and kind internally as well. So if you are struggling with self-love, it might be a contributing factor to why you feel lonely and distant from your partner." 

10 ways to rekindle your relationship

Memory lane: Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of what you’re fighting for. Take the time to walk down memory lane and reminisce with your partner about your happiest moments together. This could serve as a helpful reminder for the kind of relationship you want to work towards in the future.
Communication: A breakdown in communication makes everything more difficult. With the help of boundaries, work towards reestablishing healthy communication with your partner. Try and get past small talk in order to work towards open and honest conversation — even if it’s tough at first, you will get there!
Curiosity: In a long-term relationship, many couples share the mistaken belief that they know everything about their partner. This simply isn’t the case! Reignite your curiosity about your loved one and start by asking each other questions to rebuild a natural rapport between you.
Conflict management: Try different ways to deal with conflict. Reinstate the importance of calmness and compromise, refraining from getting worked up by the small things. Instead, if your partner is doing something that’s annoying you — tell them! No matter how long you’ve been together, it’s likely that your partner has not become a mind reader.
Romance: Candlelit dinners, flowers ‘just because’, long winding walks. Take it back to the beginning by reintroducing romance into your romance. It may seem silly, but going back to basics can have a bigger impact than you might think.
Focus on intimacy: In relationships, intimacy comes in many forms. Focus on emotional intimacy with deep conversations and active listening. Boost physical intimacy by starting out small, try holding hands or cuddling — physical affection will release those love hormones that started your spark in the first place! Don’t rush into sexual intimacy, but have fun with foreplay and seduction in order to reignite your sex life.
Date nights: If you can’t remember the last time you planned a romantic date for your partner, this isn’t a good sign! Bring back the beauty of date night, from restaurant reservations to starlit strolls. No matter your chosen date, bringing back quality time will have an immediate impact on your relationship.
Small gestures: Love is all about the little things. Bring back small gestures to show your affection. After all, modern love notes can come in the form of text messages! Or, treat your partner to a self-care evening by running them a bath after a long day.
Appreciation: Long-term couples can fall out of the habit of complimenting each other, but it’s always important to showcase your gratitude and appreciation for your partner. Start by simply saying ‘I love you’, or if your partner’s love language is physical touch, make an effort to hold their hand more often.
New adventures: Just because you’re not in the beginning stages of your relationship, doesn’t mean it can’t be exciting! No matter what stage of life you’re at, there are always new adventures ahead. Plan out your future with your partner, and be sure to schedule lots of fun along the route!

How do you know if you can’t rekindle a relationship? 

While for some couples these methods of rekindling a relationship are tried and true, others can’t quite make it stick. 

Unfortunately, not every broken relationship can be saved. Even though it’s a tough pill to swallow, it’s important to know when a relationship has reached a natural end

Heartbreak is the worst pain imaginable, but if you feel that really tried everything to remedy the relationship, it’s easier to walk away. With the extremity of emotions that come in the wake of this kind of dissolution, it’s best to try and handle things with maturity and composure. (Even though we encourage you to cry it out!)

After all, even if your love story has to come to a close, there’s beauty to be found in every ending — and in every new beginning.

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