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Cancel the Reservation at “Your Place” for Valentine’s Dinner


One of the challenges of marriage (and other long-term relationships) is to keep your bond strong. We’ve often noted how excitement and novelty decline while romantic brain chemistry shifts in the course of a longer relationship, as routine increases.

Recent research by Arthur Aron, a social psychologist at SUNY Stony Brook, indicates that couples can recharge their romantic chemistry by intentionally opting for novelty in some of their time spent together. In these studies, couples who engaged in fresh activities gave their relationship significantly better satisfaction ratings afterward.

So, to really give your relationship a romance fix, don’t go to ‘your place’ (the one you go to every year) for dinner tonight. Instead, choose somewhere that you’ll both enjoy, but haven’t tried before.

The same suggested formula applies to other joint activities: Avoid the ‘tried and true’ and agree on something new that appeals to both of you.

The theory here is that dopamine and norepinephrine highs are generated both by novel activities and romantic love. To some degree, your brain doesn’t care whether it gets its jolt from your partner or the things you do together. When you do something new, interesting or exciting together, some of the novelty chemistry rubs off on your relationship.

Ride a roller coaster, go to new vacation spot, take up a new hobby together, drive by a different route or to some new destination, move the furniture, and, yes, of course, try some new sexual position. It’s all likely to help rev up your relationship bond on Valentine’s Day or any other day.



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Copyright 2008, Patricia S. & Gregory A. Kuhlman. You may copy this article for non-commercial use provided that no changes are made and this copyright notice, author credit and source citation are included.




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