Valentine's Day is just around the corner, a holiday which traditionally sees couples exchange gifts and flowers, and go out on dates just to remind each other how much they care.
But after unforeseen struggles throughout 2020 including lockdowns spent day and night with loved ones, you might not be so keen to celebrate.
If you're finding it hard to connect, have been fighting a lot or have been facing a lot of stress as a couple, you're not alone - many relationships have been put under pressure during the last 12 months.
So what do you do if you're not feeling the love this year as this V-Day approaches?
Relationship coach and founder of Equal Exes, Bridgette Jackson, says the first thing to know is "that it's OK to not feel the same as you did last year – as we have seen, a year can change a lot".
"It's also not about the one day - no one said you have to be a valentine on 'Valentine's Day'," she added.
"Spend time celebrating and showing your love another day if you want, or skip it entirely this year. Be kind and gentle with yourself and your partner."
Jackson has put together some of her best tips for staying connected with your partner if things are lacking a little in the love department.
Do one thing that shows you really care
Even if it's just something small, like making them a cup of tea first thing, cooking a surprise meal, leaving them a love note under their pillow or picking flowers from your garden as you arrive home from work - realise that these things really do matter. Small gestures are crucial in your relationship as these positive behaviours are rich with communication – acts of service, words, and gifts. We all know it's the little things that make us feel good. We want to be around someone who makes us feel special and loved.
Time, intimacy and physical connection
Take opportunities to physically connect. If you think you haven't got time, then make time. If you really want your partner and your relationship to thrive, book in date nights on a weekly basis. Whisk your partner off on mystery weekends every few months. Block off your diary so you consistently have one on one time together. If you need a bit of help in the boudoir, consult a sexologist who can help you to prioritise sex/making love/intimacy in a healthy relationship.
The best way to keep your relationship fun is allowing space
Take time out from your partner. It works. It seems counterintuitive, but when you are bored or frustrated with your partner, often you are fed up with your life. It's true that we push our dissatisfaction onto our partners rather than realising that we are simply projecting our own inward issues. By having space, you allow each other to work through thoughts and emotions so when you do spend time together, it is quality time.
Fill your own emotional tank first
Don't force it but it can be difficult to feel the love when you have been in a relationship for a long period of time. So what do you need to do if you are not feeling loved up? Firstly, you need to focus on YOU and internally fill your own emotional tank by connecting with friends, taking up hobbies, fitness, being creative or undertaking charity work. Cultivating your own emotional, spiritual and physical needs will make you less inclined to be needy with your partner. Think about what is your love language and that of your partner, and invest in time with your partner and rekindle the love you had at the start. Communicate with your partner – this is key to your partner understanding how you feel and express love. What do you like? What is missing? Listen and talk about how things make you feel. Most importantly keep on keeping yourself happy as you can't rely on your partner to make you happy - you need to make you happy.