How can I revive my relationship?

I'm really in love with my boyfriend, but recently things have just gone a bit flat. I can't really describe what it is, but the spark is slightly fizzling out. We've been going out over a year now, so maybe it's normal. We feel really comfortable with each other and can talk about anything, but the mystery of early days has gone. We're going on separate holidays next month, and maybe missing each other will put some stars back into things. Also I've put on weight recently, feeling pudgy and slightly unsexy, which makes me worry that I've become complacent about myself. Any hot tips? --iVillager dianatia

Don't panic, dianatia. I'd say what's happened in your relationship is that it's gone from fun to functional. It's quite normal and quite easy to fix, so don't give up now. Basically, in the beginning relationships are fun. Because it's new and you're both trying to impress, you put a lot of energy into the relationship and making each other happy. You plan nice things to do together -- picnics on Saturday, romantic dinners, you wear nice underwear to bed, he goes to the gym, etc. This tends to start fizzling out when you both decide to get serious about each other -- which you two obviously have. What happens when most couples start to get serious about their relationship is that they also get serious about life. They think about saving for a down payment on a house and working on their careers, and the relationship takes second place. This is what is called a functional relationship: You get on well, love each other, but it's not much fun anymore. The problem with serious relationships is as serious it sounds: It's boring.

When people say they fell out of love with their partner but weren't sure why, it's usually because they weren't having fun. And you need to have fun to stay in love. Otherwise, what's the point? I definitely don't recommend taking separate vacations -- that's the last thing you need. What you do need is a holiday together, where you focus on each other, put a lot of energy into doing great things, a lot of thought into your sex life, and, away from the pressures of everyday life, rediscover what you loved about each other in the first place. Taking time out away from each other will do the opposite. One of you might start flirting with someone else, and because they're new, they'll seem infinitely more interesting (simply because they're undiscovered). And comparing a new flirtation to old, settled love like yours is rather like comparing a pair of brand-new stiletto heels to comfy old slippers.

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