Shape shares four pieces of free relationship advice to help you get closer – and stay closer – to your guy.
1. Find nonverbal ways to connect with your partner after a fight.
Bring him a cold drink, for instance, or just give him a hug. According to Patricia Love, Ed.D., and Steven Stosny, Ph.D., co-authors of How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It, feelings of fear and shame drain blood from the area of the brain that regulates language, making it less likely for you to clearly express what you mean.
2. Do something nice for your significant other's family and friends.
You might, for example, help his sister find an internship or invite his parents over for dinner. This is a powerful bonding technique because it shows your guy that you care about the people who are important to him, too, says Daniel G. Amen, M.D., author of Sex on the Brain.
3. Stay in the present.
Obsessing about what might happen if you take your relationship to the next level could rob you of happiness, says Elina Furman, author of Kiss and Run. Instead, ask yourself, "Am I getting what I want out of the relationship at this moment?" If the answer's yes, moving forward might not be as risky as you think.
4. Take 10.
"Close the door on the pressures of the day-sit down and read a chapter of a novel, sip some wine, or talk to your mate," says Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., a sex therapist and contributor to perfectmatch.com. "You have the ability to transition like this-say, if you had a chaotic morning at work and have to compose yourself before an important meeting-you just have to apply the same strategy to your relationships."
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5. Stop saving lovemaking for last.
"One of the reasons so many women say, 'Not tonight, dear,' is because they can't get in the mood after a long day of running around," says Hilda Hutcherson, M.D. "Try having sex first thing in the morning instead. It's the best time of day for men because their testosterone level is the highest, and you'll feel well-rested and refreshed." She also suggests programming your alarm for 15 minutes earlier. "It will be a pleasant surprise for him and set the tone for your day."
6. Work it out.
"Exercise lowers your level of the stress hormone cortisol, one of the worst libido killers for women," says Laura Berman, Ph.D., author of Real Sex for Real Women. "Excess cortisol also causes you to store fat around your middle." Even mini workouts, like walking your dog or cleaning your apartment, can brighten your spirits and make you feel more amorous.
7. Don't shrug off contact.
"When you've had that kind of day, just letting your partner massage your shoulders or stroke your arm can relax you," says Ann Kearney-Cooke, Ph.D. "It doesn't have to lead to sex—but you'll find it often does, because touch can comfort, console.