It’s no secret that life after kids is hectic. If you’re not waking up at 3 a.m. to change a dirty diaper then you’re off to a doctor’s appointment or school function at 3 p.m. and grocery shopping right after. It’s little shock that couples doubling as parents are left wondering how to reignite passion in their relationships.
Are you starting to question if your partner is a more of a spouse or roommate? Fret not. There are plenty of ways you can get some one-on-one time with your significant other, especially in the summer, and even more professionals out there to teach you how to get the spark back in a relationship.
Lori Edelson, a clinical social worker and the owner and director of the Birmingham Maple Clinic in Troy, spills on why mom and dad need some time alone without junior and offers her top tips on how to rev up your relationship, too.
For many parents, the dreaded relationship slump after kids is all too common.
“I think it’s a very easy problem to fall into,” Edelson says. “I think couples become so preoccupied with their children and can forget about their own relationship.”
The more that they forget about each other’s needs, the more likely they are to develop lives away from one another, despite living in the same home, Edelson explains. And when that happens it can be pretty tough trying to get back to it.
“Their lives can grow very separately, they may develop outside friendships that don’t unite them as a couple,” she says. They may start doing things separately and doing things that a single person would do.”
And once that happens the relationship could begin to unravel.
Heat it up
Luckily, if you’re beginning to feel like there’s a growing distance between you and your significant other, it isn’t too late to figure out how to reignite passion in your relationship. And you can start by talking.
“There are lots of ways to keep intimacy, (but) communication is key,” Edelson explains. “You need to be emotionally open and available and you need to show compassion and really empathize with each other, even when you are feeling differently from one another.”
Once you’ve opened that door, she also recommends setting aside a certain evening, day or time when you can be without the kids and without your screens.
“In the summer you can do things that don’t cost money and schedules are much more flexible,” she says. “Get a babysitter and do things alone together as adults.”
She recommends simple activities like going to beach, taking a walk or indulging in some of the best picnic areas near you, but it can be as elaborate as planning a vacation with one another. And also being affectionate and maintaining the sexual component to your relationship are important, too.
“Both are important aspects of intimacy and enable couples to feel closer and exclusive.
“They can plan on time after the child goes to sleep and spend time in the home together,” Edelson explains. “(And) there are certainly things you can do with the child present.”
Face-to-face interactions, like board games and chatting over dinner about your relationship and family dynamic, are some options.
“Eliminate electronic device and other distractions and spend that time focusing on family,” she says.
This post was originally published in 2017 and is updated regularly.