This post is aimed at people in a loving, safe relationship. We do not suggest staying in any sort of situation where abuse is present. There are not 5 steps to helping someone not be abusive no matter how much you love them or think you couldn’t survive without them. There is one step: Ask for help. Ask until someone hears you. Ask someone who isn’t close to your situation. You are not alone ️ <3
First off, I know some of you just want to know the 5 things so I’ll spare you the scrolling:
2. Do Something
Clear but cryptic, right?
Makes you want to read more, right?
Either way, thanks for stopping by!
For those of us continuing on, Let’s Go!
Before we get to the list in more detail, I want to say that no matter how much you love your partner obviously there are seasons of life where you don’t even have the will to make a bowl of cereal much less be romantic. & let me make this clear: That is totally fine & normal. Repeat that to yourself, repeat that to your friends, repeat that to your partner. Normal. No one is a romancey sex kitten all the time. Actually? Hopefully no one is a romancey sex kitten more than once or twice a week at most (not judging if you are an overachiever who kittens it up every day. I have read about you people & I am in awe & also vaguely concerned.). Can you imagine meeting someone who was always in romancey kitten mode? Boring & weird. As long as you are talking with your partner, you both know that the seasons come & go, & you are open to it when the season returns, it’s all good. (It occurs to me that I have now referred to romance as a kitten & a season. What’s next? A pasta? A type of shoe? Stay tuned!)
Now that we all know we’re relatively normal, let’s move on to the basic steps of keeping some romance-ish-ness alive even as you’re falling asleep 3 minutes into Mindhunter (kudos for trying!).
Remember you have a partner.
This may seem really dumb but when you’re covered in baby food & snot (& what is that even? Pudding? Here’s hoping!) it can be easy to feel completely alone & also, What am I doing here? I had talents. I could have been famous for my miniature horse drawings! & we don’t even eat pudding! What IS that?
Let’s get back on track (talking to both of us).
Remember that other person who is in this with you? Yes, they may not be there right now, they may be at work where no one screams at them for unwrapping a granola bar wrong but they are with you. On your team. In it together.
Maybe they remember the pudding.
2. Do Something.
& when I say something, I mean anything.
Write a quick note on the back of a receipt (just don’t try to read the actual receipt. When did we buy BloatGrars? Oh! Blueberry Oatmeal Granola Bars, never mind!)
Anyway, a note: Love you, honey! Have a good day!
If you see their favorite treat at the grocery store grab one.
If you see a funny meme send it to them.
Slide an extra piece of bacon onto their plate when they aren’t looking or better yet when they are.
Any little thing to let them know, Hey, our world may be drowning in soccer practices & string cheese wrappers but I thought of you.
No, I do not mean as in exercise together.
Are you crazy?
(No judgment if you are one of those couples who works out together. Good job! You’re crazy! But good job!)
I mean, if you’re standing near your partner move over just a tad & give them a cute little hip bump.
If you’re riding together in the car reach over & squeeze their arm or knee or whatever.
You could even make the ultimate move, something I do every once in a while: move from your chill space to theirs.
Just for a bit.
You’re not committing to the whole night, just from where you are lying comatose until the next child needs something to where they are lying comatose until the next child needs them.
We have a couch & a love seat. The love seat is usually mine, the couch is Brian’s. Sometimes I’ll go visit the couch. I don’t even need to pack a bag, just a short visit. I’ll put his legs on my lap or we’ll just lean in towards each other. It’s the act of moving that matters, & that it’s generally soft & loving.
Who knows maybe you’ll fall asleep to Mindhunter together!
When you’re partner is talking, look at them.
Just every once in a while.
Not every single time they speak, are you insane?
Also, not a hard stare.
Unless you are in church & the baby dropped their binky & they are about to scream right in the middle of the slow wind down song & he didn’t notice & you are 2 children away & can’t reach him with your arm. If that happens then, by all means, hard stare.
But beyond that, go for the Interested Look.
No, not the Judgey Side Eye.
Not the Confused Squint.
Not even the Impatient Eye Roll.
Pro tip: You do not have to actually be interested in what they are saying to give an Interested Look.
I mean, you can’t completely ignore what they are saying just because you are looking at their face, you need to hear & acknowledge but really? You just have to make some eye contact, nod a bit, if you’re feeling extra peppy you could comment, if you like to totally show off ask a follow up question.
Unpopular opinion: you should put your phone down when someone else is talking.
I put mine face down so I’m not tempted to take a quick look.
So quick that the other person wouldn’t even notice.
Ps. They totally notice. You are not quick. You will never be an Olympic Phone Checker.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have your phone or tablet or book when you finally have a minute to relax & look at it.
I’m not a meanie.
I just mean, imagine this: you’re hanging out, reading an excellent article about how to be romantic when you’re super tired, your partner says ‘The Ducks might get a new running back’, you put your phone down (I’ll wait!), look at them, say ‘Really? Where from?’ your partner answers, you comment, then you share something, they look at you & listen. It’s a whole thing.
Do I know what exactly a running back is?
No, I do not.
Does that matter?
No, it does not.
Brian knows. He cared enough to say it out loud. I can pause a minute & look at him while he tells me about it. I can try to remember a name for a later follow up question (very advanced) but even if a couple days later I say, ‘Did the Ducks get that player you were talking about?’
Just as good.
Brian has even been known to ask me who was "out" on Project Runway on any given week.
I know this one was Look & I kind of veered off into Follow-Up but I play it by ear folks, we all do, it’s all good.
Look at your partner.
5. I’m having a hard time coming up with number 5.
When did 5 become the ultimate set of things on a list anyway?
The Final Rose?
Can I just stop here & go back to what’s trending on Twitter?
No? Okay well,
we’ve already remembered that we have a partner, we did something, we moved, we looked.
That seems like we’re already doing quite a lot.
& you’ve got to go figure out if that’s pudding or not...
I’ve got it!
That’s the last one. Go. Go out. Go away. Go do something.
Did I forget that part?
Go together! (& go do things on your own separately also at a different time. That’s a whole other post. Focus.)
Go do something together. Preferably without your children but if that’s not an option just go away from your house together & Be Together. Go to the park & don’t split up if you don’t have to.
If going someplace without kids is an option why are you still reading this?
Another option is to Go within your own house.
Go away from where you usually do stuff & do stuff someplace else together. Play a game at the table, plan your dream vacation in the kitchen, meet for appetizers in the laundry room.
Feel free to expand on all of these, of course! This is just a starter pack, you add your own accessories & do-dads. Sometime when you grab a treat at the store, add a bow to it. When your partner talks about something go research it & have actual real conversations about it. As your kids get older you’ll have more time & chances to add on. Someday I will know what exactly a running back does (beside run? I'm guessing?) & in no time you’ll be one of those sweet romantic couples everybody hates. But really loves. #goals
And for real, all of these numbers just add up to life is busy & sometimes it’s hard & if you’re lucky enough to get to do it with someone else, don’t forget to show them you’re glad you’ve got each other.
You’ve got this!
If you’re working on the Go part this weekend, there’s a movie, Forever Your Girl that would be fun to see! I get to tell you all about it (my job is SO HARD!) & hopefully you’ll get to Go soon (wink emoji)
Forever My Girl tells the story of music super-star Liam Page (Alex Roe) who left his bride, Josie (Jessica Rothe), at the altar choosing fame and fortune instead. However, Liam never got over Josie, his one true love, nor did he ever forget his Southern roots in the small community where he was born and raised. When he unexpectedly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his high school best friend, Liam is suddenly faced with the consequences of all that he left behind. Forever My Girl is an uplifting romantic film about second chances. It releases in theaters on January 19.
Have a fab day, friends!
You’re doing a good job!
Your kids are adorable!
You look great!
Did you do something different to your hair?
Okay, now I’m just avoiding laundry.