How To Keep Dating Your Partner After The Honeymoon Period

During the honeymoon period of your relationship, dating is a verb. You’re dating your partner. You make plans, you arrange times to meet, you say goodbye at the end of the night. The verb of dating is natural because you are in the act of getting to know who this person is and if they might be a good partner for you.

A few years into dating, you’re still dating, but you no longer require the actual verb-ing of the process in the same way that you used to.

How to keep dating your partner after the honeymoon period

So, naturally, some of the things you used to do out of necessity become more natural pieces of your every day life.

That’s not a bad thing. You feel secure and safe in your relationship. Your partner knows just the things you like. You’re working together for shared goals.

But when you stop dating, you may also stop being intentional. And when you’re intentional with your partner, you’re showing them that you’re not just there because of habit. You’re there because you want to be there.

Tips for Dating Your Partner

  1. Reserve time for date nights no matter what

    1. A date night means you and your partner. Not your other partner/s. Not your children. Not your friends. Not your family. Just you two.
  2. Take time without technology to just talk to each other

    1. The conversations I have with J when we’re not on our phones are much more meaningful, but it’s easy to forget how important it is to put the phone down.
    2. If you’re going on a date night and the date is a movie – make sure to include something before or after where you can talk to one another, look each other in the eyes.
  3. Woo each other with your love languages

    1. Do you know what your partners love language is? Chances are that they value certain acts of love over others. Take the love language quiz together and learn what your partner values!
    2. When you know your partners love language, try to speak it (and others) often. Greeting cards aren’t just for holidays. Date night doesn’t always have to fall on a Friday or be pre-planned. Words of affection can be slipped into coat pockets or written on white boards.
  4. Don’t forget to work your peacock

    1. It’s easy to put a lot of time and attention into your outward appearance when you’re dating. Your activities are usually pre-scheduled and planned and short-lived so you have time to get handsome. When you’re in a long term relationship your partner is going to see you at your slouchiest and most comfortable – which is super cool. (I like seeing Jason when he’s cozy because I know he’s relaxed and comfortable!)
    2. Remembering to take care of yourself is important and a thought to always return to. Sometimes spicing things up is as easy as wearing a new (or old) cologne, slipping on a dress, or giving yourself an extra good at-home spa day to make your whole face light up.
    3. Peacocking isn’t just outward – it’s inward too. Flexing your brain muscles and learning something new can remind your partner that there is always something new to be discovered about one another. It can refresh the memories of getting to know one another, and remind you of earlier times in your relationship – when things were more mysterious.

The most important thing to remember ::

Keep dating your partner by giving them the kind of love that you would want to receive in return. This person means the most to you – so treat them with that level of care. The more you care for someone, the happier they are, and the better they are able to love back. It’s a viciously adorable cycle, one that feeds on itself. You love me, I love you, we love each other.

Feeling the pits after Valentine’s Day? Don’t feel blue, let’s chat. Submit your question today and I’ll answer it on my blog. 

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How To Have An Optimistic Valentine’s Day

One of my favorite holidays is Valentine’s Day because it’s a day fully dedicated to celebrating loving and liking. But what if you’re single, unhappily single, struggling dating, or separated by distance from your loved one/s?

How to be Optimistic on Valentine’s Day

POINT ONE 

Decide what today is about for you. Is it about your partner/s? Your friends? Yourself? Define Valentine’s Day for yourself. Try to separate what other people tell you Valentine’s Day is about, with what you want it to be about.

POINT TWO

Design your day. Start your morning with a list of things that you can control. I will take some time with the paper and a coffee. I will get myself a Valentine’s Day card and write everything I love about myself in it. I will surround myself with the friends that make me feel most safe, loved, cared for. I will go see a movie by myself because I’m the only person maybe in my state who hasn’t seen Lady Bird yet.

Just the basics.

POINT THREE

Don’t think about what COULD happen. Focus on what HAS happened. Disappointment comes from set expectations that other people are meant to fulfill but only you knew about. Angry or sad feelings can spiral and ruin the day before it’s even begun and those feelings can carry beyond the fourteenth into the rest of this short month. Let the little things go.

POINT FOUR

The comedown is real. Try to keep whatever you had going on Valentine’s Day going through the rest of the year. Flowers are for Tuesdays. Chocolate is for Wednesdays. Greeting cards can show up any time. And date night, that’s recurring, put it in the books. To kick the Valentine’s Blues, suck and spit the consumerism, and find a better purpose.

Going through a rough patch in your relationship? Having issues in the bedroom? Get advice 100% free and 100% anonymous. Submit now and I’ll answer your question on my blog! 

 

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The Things I Kept From My Ex

In 2016 I shared a collaborative post where readers discussed some of the things they had hung on to from past relationships, and why. It was such a meaningful post to me that I wanted to ring in 2018 with another set of memories.

Did you keep something from a previous relationship – what was it? Why did you keep it?

Submit a brief description to ask@suggestivetongue.com or submit in the form below. I’ll include your submission in the next post.

For this round I’ll be digging through my own mementos box and sharing a few things that I hung on to – and why.

Please share a photo of the item that you kept (.jpg, .png only)
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The Worst Part of Cheating

We think of the past as a series of fixed events, and we form a sense of who we are based on the things we’ve lived through. When someone cheats on us it forces us to question our past, and in doing this, disturbs our sense of self. This is the worst part of cheating. How it destablizes your identity – how it creates a sense of derealization.

Coping after Infidelity

If you’ve ever been cheated on you know what this feels like. “Were they cheating on me then? What about then? Was that smile for me? That moment I thought was special – did they lie when they said it was special to them too?”

In the experience of infidelity, perhaps the most damaging piece is having to question what was real and what wasn’t?

Leaning Out Of Commitment

There’s often a window prior to infidelity in which the unfaithful partner begins to lean of commitment. This doesn’t mean that they’re leaning out of love. It means that they’ve forgotten –or are ignoring– the promises they’ve made to you, themselves, and the relationship.

They detach from the relationship in order to make the infidelity possible.

In doing this I think they often create two selves – the self that is cheating, and the self that would never cheat, except for this, which isn’t exactly cheating, I mean, we’re just friends, we’re just talking, it was just kind of an accidental kiss. 

If it’s any reassurance to someone who has been cheated on, I think that it’s possible for these two things to coexist. A person can both experience joy in a relationship they are pulling away from, and be unfaithful.

However, I don’t think that anyone can fully experience joy in a relationship that they are actively pulling away from.

Moving on from painful infidelity

When you begin questioning the past, I think it’s important to ask yourself questions that you can answer. Were you fully living in those moments? Were you fully partcipating in the relationship? It’s hurtful to wonder if your partner was fully present, fully loving, but the weight is not on you to navigate that mental arena. If that person was not fully present, that’s their wound to heal.

A flashbulb memory is an exceptionally vivid memory – a memory that was extra emotional. Because of it’s emotional significance, we seem to remember this memory with extra clarity. When our partner is unfaithful we relive these memories all at once, over and over, looking for clues. Psychologists also suggest that every time we recall a memory, it’s a little further away from the truth of what actually happened. We fill in the blanks.

Maybe the kindest thing we can do when we feel that our history can no longer be trusted is grab hard to a future that can be, and give peace to the past.

Need advice? Submit now and I’ll answer on my blog.

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Accidental Relationships

Have you heard of accidental relationships?

 

You go on a date or two and you’re just happy to have someone to talk to, so you keep talking to them, and then you’re in a relationship. And it becomes all formal because at six months they buy you flowers and you tell everyone that you’re dating and you’re not really entirely sure what happened.

 

You like them but you don’t love them but you say that you love them anyways because maybe you do. It’s entirely possible that you do. And, anyways, they love you. And you certainly love being around them. There are some red flags, but you’re not perfect. You’re not perfect at all. And they still like you, what’s more love than that? Accepting someone for their flaws.

 

She made you a pie the other night and you’re not even really a fan of pie but you don’t tell her that. Maybe you could be the kinda guy who likes pie. It’s certainly the best pie you’ve ever had. You smile and you eat the pie and you go to bed and you wake up and she’s still there. Your friends ask you how things are going and you say they’re going pretty good, you really like this girl, she makes great pie.

 

Everyone tells you that you’re lucky.

 

It’s been a year now and you start thinking about that girl you used to date when you were younger. She broke your heart because you liked her more than she liked you. Maybe you’re just trying to give a little back to the universe.

 

You forget how to skateboard. You find your old pint glasses in the back of the cupboard. You haven’t played video games in a while.

 

She asks you how you feel about moving in together.

 

That’s exciting, moving in together. You must be pretty serious about this girl, you tell yourself. Everyone is gonna know you’re in a serious relationship now. Except then you realize you don’t like pie and, I don’t know, the chemistry isn’t really there anymore. You talked to Brenda in accounting about it and she said that it sounds like you’re not really in love, you’re just having a crisis. Actually the girl you’re dating isn’t even really your type. You should look for someone who makes less pie. Maybe an artisan bread maker. Brenda has been married for over 20 years and seems like she knows what she’s talking about.

 

You decide to move in together anyways because you really aren’t a quitter and if the relationship isn’t going to work you want to know for sure that you gave it your all. A few months later you realize that you’ve never actually seen her without makeup on. She closes the door in the morning and after an hour comes out, steam bursting behind her, the bathroom smelling like hairspray, a thin coat of powder lining the sink.

 

No, you’re not actually sure what color her hair is, now that you mention it. She books her Brazilians in advance and colors in her brows with different colored pencils depending on her mood. But none of that really matters. What you find particularly weird is the skin you find around the edges of the bed in the morning.

 

I guess it’s taken quite a while to figure out. You just kept telling yourself everything was fine. But she’s a reptile. You realize that now. “A little out of the ordinary” your friend Charlie told you.  A little… different than your usual type. I guess you never saw. I guess you just sort of fell in love like that.

 

You don’t know why it took you two years to realize she sheds her skin and sleeps with her eyes open. Oh, god.

 

The next day you sit down and you hold up the giant clump of shed skin and you tell her that it’s not working anymore. This whole thing was just a big misunderstanding.
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What I Kept Of My Ex Pt. 2

It’s time for another look at “What I Kept Of My Ex” (Click to read the first post if you missed it!)

There’s something about the end of the year that makes people sentimental.

Maybe it’s the good old holiday spirit, maybe it’s being back in your old bedroom, or maybe it’s just having enough time off work to start dwelling on your mistakes. We keep things – and usually there is a reason why. You hated that person. That was a failed relationship. It hurts when you think of what used to be. The feeling of joy is overwhelming.

What is something that your ex gave you that you kept – and why did you keep it?

Submit one photo and a brief description or story of the item to ask@suggestivetongue.com and I’ll share your submission in a collection on my blog. Submission to this post acts as consent to have your photo and story shared. You can change your mind at any time.

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The Eroticism of The Unknown

Dear Diary,

Olivia Wilde recommended a book about parenting so I went down to Powells to try and find it. There were two copies left. A nice older man pointed me towards the bookshelf in the back, beyond the children screaming, to a quiet place in the parenting section where the childless can still plead ignorance.

The book is called Mama Tried and I bought it for ten dollars. I started reading it on the car ride home. I’m not pregnant and I’m not having a kid and I’m not trying to have a kid and I only know like two people who have kids so I have a pretty strong degree of separation between myself and parenting. Let’s not make this weird. You read books to learn new things and I know nothing about parenting.

That seems strange to me because I write a blog about sex and sexuality and relationship dynamics and as I tiptoe ever closer to my thirties, parenting is rapidly becoming a pretty important component of that. I have to wonder – at what point between trying to figure out my career and my relationship and how to wash my hair so that it’s not too greasy or too dry am I supposed to learn how to keep an infant alive?

I feel like the best time to get my feet wet is now. When I’m not responsible for another living, breathing human being. When I’m years away from even having to register for the exam.

I don’t want to presuppose that parenting is something that you can learn from a book. I’ve heard you can’t. I’ve heard that books about parenting mostly just make you feel anxious about how you’re parenting. I guess the book is less functional and more erotic. It’s the magazine under the bed you sneak looks at because it doesn’t quite belong to you yet. I get all wide-eyed like how do cloth diapers work and is swaddling literally a baby burrito?

 

It doesn’t provide me any answers but it gives me a glimpse into some kind of unique horror story. Is this the honey in the trap? The sleepless nights, the dazed-eye look, the promise that it’s so wonderful as you walk crooked down the hallway, middle of the night, nipples bleeding, stomach stitched, screaming I really love my children(!) waiting for the next one to take the bait.

Don’t know, don’t know, don’t know.

More later,

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Couples Questions: Talking To Your Partner About Infidelity

Last year I bought this book called 1001 questions to ask before you get married. We’ve gone through the whole book a few times now, except for the chapters about marrying a criminal or marrying a celebrity or religious views all of which don’t seem to apply to us anyways. I keep the book tossed behind our bookshelf. It’s hot pink. It calls too much attention to itself and I don’t like that.

Every now and then I look up and ask J if he wants to do some marriage questions. He always says yes – even if it’s in that voice that also kind of means “kill me now” – so I reach my hand back behind the other books and dig it out of it’s secret crevice.

It’s one of those cheaply printed books with the thick, grainy textured paper, the spine worked through from opening and closing, listening and thinking. It’s only caused an argument or two. Most of the time I’ll start to ask a question, stop halfway through, raise an eyebrow, do people actually need to ask this?

Last night we talked about infidelity. It’s one of my favorite subjects. I like to swim in these what-if questions. We talk about some of them. What if you say yes to that cup of coffee. What if you say yes to that cocktail. What if you say yes to that movie. What if you say yes to the prolonged hug. The kiss. What if you lie about where you are just once. The line moves, moves, it moves along and so do you. You make little justifications. You say you’re just friends. You suck up that energy like a vampire. The guilt slips over you like a film you can’t wash off.

We’re a baby relationship, we aren’t at five years yet. And the idea of being unfaithful to him sounds like a bad joke. But that’s what everyone thinks, and what makes us so special that we would be immune to time, temptation, opportunity? Those things present themselves to everyone, wrapped up, smellin’ pretty. Pretending they don’t exist isn’t any better.

Sometimes it’s important to go back to the basics and remember together.


Does just thinking about infidelity make your skin crawl? Anyone in a serious long term committed relationship should be open to discussing the realities of how can we prevent this from happening to us?

Some couples answer that question by being mindful of their boundaries. Some answer that question by changing their boundaries and opening their relationships. Others hide from the question entirely, telling themselves they’d never do that. 

It’s a little scary to write about, talk about, think about. I wrote my thesis on infidelity, I read nothing but relationship politics for almost a year, but it still makes me uncomfortable to say out loud. What would I do in these situations? For me, the solution is to keep talking about it. To be cognizant of every situation you’re in and ask yourself “what decision can I make in this moment that will be the healthiest for my relationship?”


Need relationship advice? Submit anonymously now and I’ll answer it on my blog!

 

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Q: Sex Therapy and Making Things Work Together

Partner and I are looking to strengthen our relationship after a breach of trust. We also have ongoing issues with not being on the same page with our sex life. We are considering seeing a couples and/or sex therapist. 2 questions- 1) what might we expect from seeing a sex therapist? It was suggested to us by a couples therapist on our first visit but seems intimidating. 2) Book suggestions for a couple of bookish people who are a bit skeptical of anything too fluffy or cheesy-self-helpish?

Sorry to hear you’re going through a rough patch. Cheers to you guys for making the effort!

Like any other kind of therapist, the experience you have with a sex therapist will probably depend on the therapist you find, their expertise or area of focus, and what methodologies they use. Without knowing more about what you’re interested in working on, I may suggest finding a general therapist who also has a background in sexuality so you can see the same person to work through a variety of issues. I have never been in sex therapy myself but my understanding is that is pretty similar to what you may already know of regular counseling, just with a heavy focus on sex and relationship dynamics. However, if your issues largely pertain to sex and sexuality, the recommendation to seek one out may be the right call.

Therapy can be super intimidating. Especially when you’re talking about your wants and needs sexually. One thing you may experience is a weird sense of uncomfortable freedom. What I mean by that is, you’ll probably be saying some things you’ve been thinking and wanting to say, but haven’t known how to say. Your partner may tell you things you had no idea what they were thinking. Moments like this are uncomfortable but they are freeing because they create a sense of openness, transparency, honesty, and forward momentum. Odds are that you’ll experience a few moments like this where you feel naked, emotionally. 

Don’t worry about anything too weird, though. Your sex therapist won’t have you strip down and hop up on the table for an interactive demonstration. At best they may assign you and your partner some homework to do in your own time.

As far as book recommendations, here are some books I’ve read and would recommend for a couple struggling with maybe rebuilding their foundation a bit.

I know a lot of these books are just about love and relationship dynamics. That’s because I feel like sexual intimacy often overlaps and intersects with general emotional intimacy. Gain strength in the ability to talk openly, lovingly, and with humor to your partner. Find spaces in those conversations to be real to yourself and what you want. Be vulnerable with one another. I think that’s where connections are made, and those connections are transferable to the bedroom.


Have a question? Need advice? Submit now! (Or learn more about asking HERE!)

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Three Quick Ways To Ease The Tension In Your Fight

So, we fight. It’s not very often and it’s not what I imagined it would be like. The longer we’re together, the better we’re able to work together. Here are some tips I think are pro. Try incorporating them into your next disagreement or serious conversation.

1. Pull A Goof

You’ll have to time the pause right for your fight, but there’s nothing to bring a couple closer together than a gentle eyebrow wiggle in the middle of a tense moment. Play this card wrong (or too often) and you’ll be accused of being unable to have a serious relationship talk. Don’t avoid difficult subjects with humor, but use them as a playing card when you want to remember that you and your partner are actually fighting together, not against one another.

2. Say “You’re Right”

Or “I didn’t say that the best way I could have” or “I said some things I did mean and some things I didn’t mean.” When you’re angry you often get defensive. If you don’t get defensive, you probably get some other emotion that doesn’t feel too hot. Whatever that emotion is can lead you to say some things that aren’t strictly true. You have to learn when to say you’re right. You don’t want to be right all the time, but it’s hard to remember that when you’re in the heat of it. Sometimes you should want your partner to be right, because it means they were able to see something you didn’t. That’s what a partnership is.

3. Ask Your Partner What They Mean

When you don’t quite understand what your partner is saying, ask them what they mean by repeating it back to them. In therapy this is called mirroring. Repeat what they said back to you word for word. When they hear it coming out of your mouth, they might realize that they didn’t quite phrase it exactly right. It might give them the opportunity to add more clarifying details. Be sure you don’t put words into your partners mouth, which I can at times be guilty of accidentally doing. Sometimes saying the same thing in a different way can help both partners come to an understanding about what you’re actually talking about. Best way to fix a misunderstanding in a relationship? Communicate.


Did you end a fight and things don’t feel totally 100% okey dokey yet? The cool down period is a good time to think about how your partner is feeling. At the end of a fight you’re fully feeling your own emotions. You might feel hot, you might be crying, you’re probably pretty emotional. Consider after a breath where your partner was coming from and approach the conversation a second time with as much understanding as you can muster. Not all arguments find light after one conversation.


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