Meet Melissa Klein, Keepler’s in-house dating expert! Melissa is a licensed marriage and family therapist, relationship coach, and all-around generous soul. We’ve asked our readers to send in questions for Melissa as part of a monthly advice column, and she’ll also be addressing questions regularly over on our Instagram account. (Got a question? Drop Melissa a line!) Check out the first installment, in which Melissa shares helpful ideas on how to infuse some much-needed fun back into your dating life.
My partner is naturally extroverted and playful. I find myself a little more introverted and reserved. How can I let go, join in, and have a little fun of my own?
Hi Corinne! I have found that in relationships there is generally one person who is more extroverted or introverted than the other. Although this difference can sometimes present challenges, it can be quite complementary as well! A healthy balance of similarities and opposite traits can promote personal growth for both people involved in a relationship.
If you’re looking to surprise your honey and push yourself out of your comfort zone a bit, I’ve got a few ideas for you! Maybe start small and see how you feel, and then take it from there. You could even set a weekly or monthly date night experience, taking turns with planning. Date ideas might include:
- Going to a comedy club
- Making dinner together or taking a cooking class
- Playing a game of laser tag
- Going on roller coasters at an amusement park
- Visiting animals at a rescue shelter
- Taking a dance class together
- Going out to karaoke
- Swimming together (or maybe even skinny dipping if you’re feeling frisky and it’s done legally!)
Keep in mind that it is totally okay to ask your significant other what fun things they have been itching to do, and then plan accordingly! Your partner will not only be excited to engage in those activities together but will be blown away by your thoughtfulness.
Above all, remember you have a partner that you feel safe with to explore new and playful things together. You two are creating memories that will only help bring you closer.
How can I liven up my sex life with my partner?
Melissa: Hi Maia! I have been asked this by many couples, and thankfully there are a lot of enjoyable practices out there to try.
First and foremost, I find it helpful to start with a conversation. Sharing our inclination to deepen our love life with our partners can be an instant turn-on! Think of it as a sort of verbal foreplay if you will. By sharing our innermost desires, it can easily help couples reach a deeper level of emotional intimacy before the physical part even begins.
To get things moving along, watch a romantic movie together. This helps stimulate the brain and body. To take it up a notch, my suggestion would be to explore a little bit of role play. This doesn’t have to be a big production—it can be fun and simple! You can start by role playing those characters out of the bedroom—maybe at a bar or restaurant—and later take it into the bedroom. Consider daydreaming some sexy scenarios together and then bringing them to life!
Sexting throughout the day can also set the tone for a sexy night together. You can text about what you’re looking forward to that evening, what things you might want to try together, and why you find your partner sexy. (Sometimes sharing bolder comments can be easier through technology anyway.) If you’re more of a verbal dirty talker, then absolutely pick up the phone! Just make sure your honey isn’t in a NSFW setting.
Another suggestion: Google sex positions to try. There is an awesome book called “Position of the Day Playbook” by Nerve.com that you two can reference—and you will be amazed at how many different positions there are!
Other fun activities to keep in your back pocket are:
- Making a sex bucket list together
- Wearing a blindfold
- Giving a lap dance
- Playing truth or dare
- Shopping for lingerie together
- Taking a bubble bath together
Most importantly, remember to always communicate with your partner—what feels right, what feels uncomfortable, and whatever comes up along the way. This will ensure ongoing excitement and trust. Consent is key and feeling safe is where we can feel our sexiest.
My partner and I have been together for 10 years and we are stuck in a rut. What are some ways we can bring back fun and spontaneity into our relationship?
Melissa: Hi Ivan! This happens to many long-term committed couples, and you are not alone. I have found—both professionally and personally—that it’s easy to get so caught up in the daily grind of being an adult that we easily forget to nurture our relationships and our partners.
When it comes to spontaneity, people are usually in need of freedom and space. Though these are often in short supply, that doesn’t mean we can’t carve out time to create them. One surefire idea is to recreate your first date together. If possible, tell your partner to meet you at the place where you first met (or somewhere similar), and pretend it’s the first time you are meeting each other. Arrive separately, ask questions that you would on a first date, and get to know them again. I imagine there will be a lot of laughter and silliness, which is the foundation of spontaneity.
From there, I would suggest reserving one night a week for date night, which you can take turns planning. Don’t tell your partner where you’re going or what your plans are. Spontaneity is all about releasing control and going with the flow, so when it’s your turn, sit back, relax, and enjoy!
I’m feeling a little depleted from the first dates I have been on recently. Can you suggest some ways I can bring excitement back into the process of dating?
Melissa: Hi Mark! Thanks for this question, as I have heard this quite a bit lately. Dating has really looked different this past year, hasn’t it? Whether we are still virtually dating or back to in-person dating, it all feels so new, and all of us are still adapting. Consider taking a step back and asking these questions:
- What exactly feels tiring to us about dating at this present moment?
- What (if any) are some ways we might be getting in our own way of finding happiness?
- Do we need to take some time off, refresh, and potentially reevaluate our must-haves and deal-breakers?
These questions promote reflection and help us realign with our relationship intentions and discern whether our behaviors are in line with these goals. It also helps us take time for self-care so we can show up to dates as our best selves. Lastly, it allows us to go back into the dating scene feeling refreshed, confident, and positive as we continue our quest for love.
Like many of us, I have been “virtual dating” and I am feeling a bit tired of it. I am on Zoom all day long for work…and then I am on Zoom for dates too! I am all video-ed out. Any suggestions on how to make this fun again?
Melissa: Hi Javier! This question is one I have had the opportunity to answer in different ways for my clients this past year, as many of them have felt the same way.
Firstly, it’s all about timing. Try to choose a day and time where you have had a little bit of time away from your computer. For instance, if you plan a virtual date on a Friday night when you already have a zillion video meetings for that day, try to see if your match can push your date to Saturday night. That provides some built-in time to detach for 24+ hours from Zoom, and this will help get you excited to open your computer back up for your date that day.
If the only night they can do is Friday, then try to space a few hours between your last meeting and your date. Take a shower, put on your favorite song, and dance around in your living room. It can sound silly, but that kind of enjoyment and silliness can instantly elevate your mood and get you out of work mode and into date mode.
Another quick helpful suggestion is to plan an interactive video date for you and your match. There is a fun (and free) app called “Houseparty,” where games like Heads Up, Pictionary, and Cards Against Humanity are available for your enjoyment. Throwing something new and unique into the mix can help get to know someone in a different, fun, and light-hearted way.