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"No matter how new or how old your relationship is, romance is an integral part," says psychologist and author Sara Dimerman of Thornhill, Ont. "It shows caring, effort and thoughtfulness. When you feel that, your relationship is healthier." On the other hand, when romance is lacking, couples that started off as lovers, she says, can end up feeling like roommates-and that can lead to trouble down the road.
Instead, take advantage of summer's warmer, longer days that make romantic efforts all the more easy, says Dimerman. Here are her thoughts on how to boost the romance with your partner this season.
Take it outside
"Summer is synonymous with greater ease of movement," says Dimerman. "We don't have to get all geared up to go outside like we do in winter." So take advantage of the simplicity warmer temperatures can bring. "Go for a walk, hand in hand, and just spend time together," she says. "Or pack a picnic for the park-for just the two of you."
City lovers can explore different neighbourhoods, enjoy a cool drink on a restaurant patio or even enjoy the simple pleasure of getting an ice cream together. "Romance is different for everyone," says Dimerman. "We have more freedom in the summer to move around outside, so why not take advantage of it?"
Try something new
Of course, easy-breezy isn't every couple's style and there's no reason that what you find romantic has to be laid back, either. Are you runners or cyclists? Consider trying a new route together or taking part in a fundraising race. "It's a great time to learn a new outdoor skill," says Dimerman. "Maybe you've always wanted to try horseback riding or perhaps you'd both love to learn how to sail." By trying something new, you spend time with one another and deepen your connection.
Be spontaneous-or not
Does your partner like surprises? Then delight him or her with something you know he or she will love. Maybe it's a meal at a trendy restaurant, a couple's massage or tickets to a show. Or spend an unplanned day together. "Hop in the car and drive somewhere," says Dimerman. "Get out and explore someplace you've thought of visiting."
Not a spur-of-the-moment kind of couple? Cut yourself some slack. Not everyone likes surprise and planning time together can be just as heart-flutteringly fun as being spontaneous. Plan an adventure-maybe you'd like camping or hiking or just a day at the beach. "Go away for a weekend together," says Dimerman. "The balance of spontaneous and planned is always nice."
Whatever you do, spending time as a couple, remembering what brought you together and recharging your romance is key to maintaining a healthy, happy relationship. "Everyone's definition of romance is different," reminds Dimerman. "Showing that caring, making your partner feel special and paying attention will keep you happily together."
Perfect your picnic skills with our 10-minute picnic ideas.