Tag Archives: desire

How to Increase Interest and Desire in your Relationship

“Perfect Swing” — Paula Creamer by Mimi Stuart ©

In a good long-term relationship, curiosity, interest, fun and desire thrive because there is adequate independence in the relationship. Here are some suggestions on how to avoid too much emotional fusion and codependence, which will smother the mystery, fun and desire in a relationship:

Don’t express every feeling and thought.

Hurt feelings, misunderstandings and other stresses will inevitably occur in any relationship. So you need to be able to communicate effectively, that is, being candid while having compassion. Express yourself briefly and on point, and ask yourself “is what I am about to say/do/ask helpful or hurtful, and is it necessary?”

Do not communicate every thought and feeling, and become annoying and tedious. Constantly expressing what’s on your mind is unnecessary and a sure way to kill all curiosity and ultimately the relationship.

“I’m bored.”
“I’m lonely.”
“I’m hungry.”
“I don’t like the way she talks.”
“I gained weight and feel sluggish.”
“I think I’ll have a cookie.”

Try to contain the more mundane thoughts and feelings, and express only the more interesting and important ones.

Don’t be controlling.

People generally become controlling out of their own insecurity. They may assume that if they can control the other person’s actions and thoughts, they might avoid potentially losing them. The opposite is true. The controlling person becomes oppressive and undesirable, making others want to flee.

Avoid nagging, pushing and managing your partner. Avoid telling your partner what to do or what to think all of the time. Allow some freedom, independence, and space between the two of you – it’s important. You want to be with a separate individual, not a puppet.

Don’t be needy.

At the beginning of the relationship, you may have felt whole and fulfilled as though all your needs were being met. But many of those feelings of fulfillment are a result of the initial excitement of falling in love, as well as your own projections, that is, your fantasy of who that other person is.

When you continue to expect another person to satisfy all your needs, you burden the relationship with your own unrealistic expectations. No other person will totally satisfy your emotional needs. You need to meet those needs yourself.

Enjoy your time together, but don’t require your partner to validate you constantly and to fulfill all your needs. That will only lead to disappointment and resentment.

Enrich your life.

If you want to feel desired, you need to be desirable. People shine when they live a full and vital life, engage in interests and with a variety of people, and have independent thoughts and pursuits. So pursue your passions and nourish your friendships.

Some partners may feel threatened by this, but the alternative is worse. Restricting your life by eliminating your passions and other friendships will ultimately doom the relationship and your own life to misery and meagerness.

You can start with small steps. When you see how effective those steps are, it will become easy, fun and rewarding to make your life more abundant and multifaceted. For example, do some things on your own or with friends instead of always waiting at home. Suggest new activities to your partner, but if he or she is uninterested, then go do it alone or with someone else. Take a walk, see a movie, take a trip to the beach, take up a new hobby, travel on your own or with friends.

You will become more interesting, fulfilled, and desirable.

If following these suggestions is difficult for you, you can get help and learn specific actions to take to develop healthier loving relationships at Co-Dependence Anonymous or with a good cognitive behavioral therapist.

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

“My boyfriend won’t schedule ahead. So I get all anxious wondering when I’ll see him next.”

"Jump"—Marylin by Mimi Stuart © Live the Life you Desire

“Jump”—Marylin by Mimi Stuart ©
Live the Life you Desire

You have given your boyfriend too much power in the relationship. By anxiously waiting to accommodate his desires and his schedule, you give him the power to determine when he gets to see you. It is time to stop that. Not only is this bad for your own wellbeing, it makes the relationship unbalanced, nonreciprocal, and unsustainable.

Many people in a non-committed relationship will wait until the last minute to make plans because they have the expectation that something better might come along. If you continue to be totally available at his whim and convenience, he will lose desire and respect for you.

Eliminate anxious questioning and nagging, which are worse than ineffective. If you feel like you’re being kept waiting by someone who doesn’t like to plan ahead, you should definitely make other plans — lots of other plans. In fact, fill up your schedule, despite the fact that you would prefer to be with him over going to the gym, going to a movie with a friend, or catching up on reading. What you’d actually prefer is that he’d want to be with you badly enough that he would be able to commit ahead of time.

Allow him to become the one who wonders when he will get to see you next. Eventually he will discover that you are not available unless he plans ahead. He’ll learn this through your specific actions and his own surprise and disappointment when you are already booked up. Uncertainty and respect fan the flames of desire.

If he cannot take the time to schedule time with you then you will know that he really is only interested in you as a default date. It would be better to find this out sooner rather than later and move forward with your dignity and self respect intact.

by Dr. Alison Poulsen

Read “Is ‘playing hard to get’ just a game?”

Read “Sustaining Desire: ‘It doesn’t matter. Let’s just watch TV.’”

Watch “How to ask for more affection, intimacy and sex…and…how not to.”

Is “playing hard to get” just a game?

"I'll Give You the Moon and the Stars" by Mimi Stuart ©

“I’ll Give You the Moon and the Stars”
by Mimi Stuart ©

If you find yourself frequently pursuing intimacy and wondering why the person you’re pursuing seems to back away, your friends may give you advice to “play hard to get.” But perhaps you don’t want to play games and be inauthentic within your relationship. You would rather be honest about your strong feelings, even though you are pushing the other person away.

Is “playing hard to get” inauthentic?

Life is a series of adventures, misadventures, and adjustments. One of the adjustments a pursuer needs to make is to resist the conspicuous chase that too frequently ends in disappointment.

At first it may feel like a pretense to try changing your inclination to pursue. It may feel inauthentic to pursue other interests and have fun with other friends when all you want to do is spend every minute with the person you’re pursuing. Yet ultimately you may find the distractions and separation rewarding. In the end it will make YOU more interesting to the target of your affection.

It can be difficult to develop a new quality and try a new approach. It is normal to feel awkward and fake. For instance, saying “no” feels inauthentic when you are just learning to set boundaries. Similarly, not always saying “yes” to the person you’re pursuing may feel inauthentic while you are learning to seek balance in your relationship. Yet eventually this approach will feel natural and will serve to make you more desirable.

“Playing hard to get” may feel inauthentic. Becoming more independent may also feel awkward but it is not a game.

Fostering desire

Desire only flourishes when people maintain their own independent life, spark, and activities. When one person waits slavishly for the other’s attention, the other person loses interest because there’s no more challenge in the relationship.

Ideally you should engage in the relationship enough so that your partner will want to engage with you but remain occupied and independent enough so that he or she will want to KEEP pursuing you. This balance will enhance his or her appreciation for you and the desire to continue the pursuit of you.

So focus on your goal and not your immediate impulse. Your goal is to be in a relationship with someone who respects and desires you. By learning to allow for a little separateness and mystery you can create the groundwork for mutual desire, romance and intimacy.

by Dr. Alison Poulsen


Read “I always fall madly in love; we do everything together; and then, out of the blue, I get dumped.”

Read “I often feel depressed, anxious and desperate when my girlfriend is not giving me enough attention. For example, if she takes too long to reply to my text messages or is not very affectionate.”

“Whenever I try to talk about where our relationship is going, he backs away.”

"Improvisation" by Mimi Stuart ©

“Improvisation” by Mimi Stuart ©

Tiresome and trapped

The more you try to analyze and question the status of the relationship, the more he’ll feel trapped rather than desire for you. So avoid becoming a tiresome obligation to the one you desire.

While it is crucial to be able to express important needs and preferences, people who talk too often about the status of their relationship appear needy and end up pushing the potential partner away.

Taken for granted

If you want to talk about the relationship because you worry that you are being taken for granted, then change the patterns that have become convenient and well known to him. People pay attention to actions, not words.

Make more space for both of you, but avoid anger and bitterness. When you understand that accepting mediocrity in your relationship will breed contempt, you’ll understand that creating more space is not playing a game. Creating a little distance while maintaining your self-control will make him pay attention and increase his appreciation of you and the relationship.

Develop and maintain a life of your own.

Don’t drop existing plans in order to spend time with him. Maintain your friendships and interests, and let him plan ahead to see you. When you drop everything to see him, he will sense that you intend for him to fill a void and a need in your life. That is not very appealing.

Good relationships grow organically and take time. Have fun and take pleasure in the process, but don’t drop the rest of your life, your friends or your interests — ever. Who wants to be with a person who makes you their entire world? You want to be with a person because they have their own different and exciting world.

Getting committed

Don’t allow another person to call all the shots. If you want someone to commit fully, then don’t have all the fun with that person before he is more fully committed. If you are there and available all of the time, then desire and the need for bonding are absent. Simply back off and use more discretion about how much time you spend together.

But when you are together, make it enjoyable and exciting – the time should be special. This way he will want to be with you, but he’ll also know that you will only invest yourself more fully with someone who is really serious about you.

by Dr. Alison Poulsen


Read “Sustaining Desire: ‘It doesn’t matter. Let’s just watch TV.’”

Read “It hurts that my fiancé thinks I am smothering him. He wants me to let him catch his breath after he gets off work. I’m scared that I’m going to lose him because I’m needy or clingy.”

Watch “Seven keys to a great relationship.”

How to ask for more affection, intimacy and sex…and…how not to.

Click on the picture below to watch the short video:

It’s very frustrating and disheartening when affection and intimacy are lacking in a relationship. How do you talk to your partner about your desire for more romance and physical affection and intimacy without putting him or her on the defensive?

First, let’s look at how you do not want to approach your partner about your desire for more affection and intimacy in your relationship. Here are some approaches to avoid:

1. Avoid being accusatory.

2. Avoid complaining. Whining and complaining push the other person away.

3. Avoid being defeatist. Expecting the worst is weak and unattractive.

4. Avoid being self-deprecating. Insecurity and self-criticism are unappealing and a turn-off.

5. Avoid negative attacks. Attacking your partner will cause him or her to become hostile, not warm and loving.

6. Avoid the biological needs argument. If you want to increase the desire and sexual intimacy in your relationship, don’t treat your partner as an object to be used to satisfy your needs.

There are several components that are important to expressing your desire for more physical affection and intimacy.

1. Build the foundation. Don’t start at the finish line. Start at the beginning as though you are dating or courting. Build a foundation of respect, fun and romance.

2. Appreciate the positive. Appreciation and subtle flirtation throughout the day allow desire to develop.

3. Ask for feedback and listen. Find out what’s going on in your partner’s mind. Find out why he or she has lost desire for you and don’t become defensive or hostile.

4. Express your desires in a positive way. For example, “I’d like to be in a relationship that’s affectionate, romantic, fun, and where we can express our love physically.” “I’d like to be in a relationship where both partners enjoy sex.”

5. Ask for ideas and input. Find out what he or she would like to see in the relationship.

Remember that tone of voice and demeanor are more important than the words you use. Convey self-respect and self-empowerment as well as compassion and love for your partner.

If there has been a history of controlling behavior or contempt, then lack of desire will be more entrenched and counseling may be necessary.

by Dr. Alison Poulsen


Read “Sustaining Desire: ‘It doesn’t matter. Let’s just watch TV.’”

Watch “Seven Keys To A Fantastic Relationship.”

“You never touch me! You’re not attracted to me anymore, are you?”

"The Kiss" by Mimi Stuart © Live the Life you Desire

“The Kiss” by Mimi Stuart ©
Live the Life you Desire

So… what I really meant was…

“I loved it when we hugged and you kissed me the other day. I love your touch. Let’s do that more often.”

Complaining is very unattractive and ineffective. If you want someone to desire you, it’s better to be appreciative of that person and show your desire for him or her. Make sure your tone of voice and demeanor are full of love and self-confidence, not neediness and insecurity.

There is an enormous difference between expressing your desires in a self-empowered way and being needy. Being needy is a turn-off. Delight and joie de vivre are alluring. If you want more affection, have a sparkle in your eye when you invite your partner to be more affectionate.

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Read “You never kiss me anymore.”

Read “Desire: ‘I’ve got needs, but she pretends she’s asleep.’”

Read “We broke up because of sexual incompatibility.”

Read “Sensuality: ‘I’m just not a sensual person.’”