How To Cherish Your Partner Without 'Just Having Sex'

How To Cherish Your Partner Without ‘just Having Sex’

I mean, I love sex as much as the next guy on the street, but there are a time and a place, people. How about ways to make our special partner feel great – emotionally – without always resorting to physical means?

If you're down (metaphorically speaking) for that, then browse away!

It was like the movies when you fell in love. All the songs suddenly make sense. You no longer feel the need to compulsively rewatch Gilmore Girls episodes to fill the gaping chasm in your heart. It's Springtime.

Life is good, and you are in love

It's not that life would be bad if you weren't in love, but let's face it, for those of us that seek emotional validation and support from others, it's the bee's knees. It's great to be able to give yourself to another person and be vulnerable, and of course, we still get that from friends and family, but there is something different. It changes how you perceive the world around you and impacts what you value. Everything is relative, but that's even more true when you're in love. Committed to another person and caring about their welfare above, well, most things.

As long as you don't cruelly abandon your friends in favour of your new significant other (seriously don't, it's the worst), it's generally a good thing to have new priorities and a refreshed outlook on life.

You are more confident and less insecure – the fact of the matter is that your favourite person likes you, as you are. Therefore, there's little else that can impact that. Granted, you are slightly at the mercy of your partner's critical eye, but the people whose opinion you shouldn't have been listening to in the first place, they're truly irrelevant now.

You learn so much more about your own needs

Sometimes in the dark recesses of our mind, there lie a few thoughts that we would rather didn't see the light of day. They largely comprise self-hating angst and irrational stress about things we can't control. But lots of us grow up thinking that we're unloveable or that a relationship won't ever be on the cards. Therefore, when we eventually get what we're looking for, we realise how much we can offer the world. Indeed, once you're comfortable, you recognise your own needs. You also realise that you can communicate these needs, boundaries, or desires and have them happily met or discussed. In short, you have proof that you are a good person, worthy and capable of love. It makes self-love so much easier when you have proof.

At its crux, the words 'I love you' serve to express and remind ourselves that we are both capable of loving another person and that we are ourselves loved. It's like killing two emotionally distressed birds with one cupid's arrow. Okay, the metaphor got a little tangled, but you get my drift.

To be honest, these gestures don't even need to be romantic

Often filial or platonic friendships are just as intimate and life-affirming. Don't be afraid to let your homies know how much they mean to you, too!

That's the big hitter – and the sensation that we're trying to convey, keep it in mind at all times…

Start small – try out a few compliments…

1. You look really great today.

2. I love your hair/shoes/jacket – while we won't always compliment the physical attributes of our loved ones, we shouldn't shy away from them entirely. It's nice to feel good and have people notice!

3. Your smile could probably light up a city block

4. I would do stupid things to hear you laugh

5. I love us/I love our dynamic – this one doesn't seem as important as the big ILY on its own. However, this pairing of unified language and the explicit appreciation of your relationship together is extremely important. Your loved one can then feel both comfortable and powerful and desirable in a relationship and alone.

6. You remind me of Spring.

Once established, move on to the bigger gestures

Importantly, you're still maintaining an appropriate degree of affection without breaking the bank or going too fast…

1. Bring some chocolates or something sweet home from work, just for the hell of it.

2. Tag them in a Facebook meme with thirty tiny Labrador puppies clambering over each other. Warning, they might die of cuteness.

3. Suggest cooking or baking a new recipe for the first time – bonus points for if it's a family recipe or has traditional roots. You're destined for a very sweet time even if it tastes rubbish!

4. Buy plants! This is like buying flowers but better, because while flowers last for a week and look pretty, if you plant a new fern or laurel bush you can be in it for the long haul. You can also research the symbolic meaning of the plant so that your expression of love can extend beyond the rather tired mode of 'Roses to say sorry'. Sorry guys, I know you mean well, but we're well past that!

5. Swap books that you love, or recommend or buy a new book that you think they will love. Leave it on their nightstand and don't make a huge deal out of it. This shows you making an effort and wanting to share hobbies. You can tell so much about a person by their bookshelf – maybe even suggest going in together on a bookshelf!

Moving on from there, you'll have to use your own instincts.

I can't write all of your story for you!

Good luck, friends! Use your heart and you'll be grand.