How do you refresh a boyfriend and a relationship that’s gone stale? Here’s some tips on fixing a stale relationship.
Shag like a different man
Been together for several years? Is your sex life a shadow of its former self? You need to shake the flaky skin off your moribund body, flex your muscles and throw him around the room like the good old days. Remember when your sex was so hot you thought something might snap? Get your mad staring eyes back, wave that hard-on at him and chuck him at a wall.
Difficulty level? Daunting. You’re scared of being yawned at, I know. But imagine how wild it would be if, completely unannounced, he walked into the bedroom dressed as, say, some kind of black leather villain dude and totally commanded you. Take the initiative.
Picture a better boyfriend
Your brain works in pictures. If you can’t visualise a better relationship, maybe it’s him who should be complaining. Drag queens broke their nails in a riot to earn you the right to wear hot pants to laser-strafed breakfast buffets, and you can’t even imagine a better boyfriend? Get creative and work out what you want. Try to be slightly realistic. Once you can picture a goal – such as him having sex with you again before the end of the year – you can start working towards it. Create the script required to make the scene work. Pile on more movie-related metaphors until something happens.
Difficulty level? Easy. Reality may be more problematic.
Is it really that big?
You know how people get upset when the police march into a green peace camp before protesters have even had a chance to erect their eco tent and direct a hand held solar panel at last night’s chick pea lasagne? They’re upset because the reaction was disproportionate. Your boyfriend will – albeit on a lesser scale – feel victimised when you tower over him like a steroid-addled macho who gets paid to dance like a muscle mary with devil horns at East Rand nightclubs, just because he looked at a rival dancer. Separate the rare misdeeds that constitute a crime against your relationship from everyday minor transgressions. Now put down that threatening power tool and make your body language more approachable.
Difficulty level? Red-blooded types will find this one a challenge. Try pretending a mirror is your badly behaved boyfriend and then do your angry face. Scary.
Ditch the rules
Do you want to end up crying lonely tears into your boyfriend’s broken rules? No? So don’t make any – or at least limit them to big ones like “no sex with my dad”.
The more petty rules you make, the more get broken. It’ll leave you, the rule-maker, resembling the kind of bug-eyed bangle rattler who throws themselves off a building in the penultimate episode of a third-rate soap opera. Iconic rebels like James Dean, Marilyn Manson and TV Torchwood’s Captian Jack managed without rules – and now must you.
Difficulty level? Tough, especially for those brought up by Daily Mail-subscribing suburbanites.
It’s all about you
Mariah Carey and Madonna probably beat their way to fame by following just this kind of self-help mantra. If you start discussions/arguments with your boyfriend by saying “you” then you’ve already lost. Try saying “I want…” then focus on your objective. You could try listening to what he wants as well.
Difficulty level? Just remember those two special words …
Do not judge him against your exes
It’s shocking, but your boyfriend is another human being with his own unique identity. Trying to get him to live up to your vision of an ideal man will not work.
Teen advice cliché alert: thinking you’ll love him more when you’ve changed him to someone else is a sign that you don’t love yourself. Start by being more accepting of “imperfection” and see how your perceptions shift.
Difficulty level? If your last, ultra-hot boyfriend completely did your head in and then ditched you in public humiliation trauma, this could be tricky.
Feed a celebrity
What do celebrities need to be happy? They need the three P’s: projects, parties, paparazzi. Plus free clothes, of couse. Now think about your relationship – not about what you need, or what he needs, but about the time, space and plans you share.
The union of two bum bandits should be a lot less demanding than the needs of just one B-list celeb, but you’ve got to make your relationship the star sometimes. At the very least, you should make time for regular “us moments” where you hold hands on the couch, look longingly into each other’s eyes and pretend you’re not straight folk in church wear.
Difficulty level? Middling, but just give some love and you’ll get it all over you too.
Get some new words
During arguments, consider swapping words like “wanker” for phrases such as, “I become upset when you behave in that way.” Try using softer alternatives for the other crude words of anger in your emotional vocabulary. So instead of saying: “I fucking hate you”, try: “I am annoyed” or “bitterly disheartened”. Using less aggressive and more descriptive terminology will help steer arguments away from late-night fights outside Beefcakes.
Difficulty level? Easy, if you’ve got access to a thesaurus.
Happiness breeds happiness
Ok, this one’s a bit supermarket Buddhist but you could try it if your relationship has reached that phase when you deliberately slam doors on each other’s fingers.
The theory is that if you display happy emotions, your partner will pick up on it and maybe become less of a pain. All you have to do is simply decide that, right now, you’re going to feel happy, and then manage to convince yourself you’re still happy after he’s spent four hours hunched over Manhunt “keeping up with his friends”.
Difficulty level? I tried this but it made me angrier. Might work if both you and your partner sprinkle fairy dust on your cereal every morning.