Yes, you're deliriously happy in love with your guy. And living in coupledom with him is awesome. Well, strange as it sounds, the best way to keep things going strong is to act like you're a single girl occasionally. "There are elements of the mind-set and behavior you have when you're not paired up that can encourage your bond to grow once you've met your mate," says Los Angeles psychologist Yvonne Thomas, PhD. "Unleashing that sexy, spontaneous side of you—which is so active when you're solo—will keep your confidence at its peak and your man enthralled." Translation: It's You + Him...only better!
- Treat Him Like A Piece of Meat
Single girls are in the habit of ogling gorgeous guys. Their stud radar is on, and when they find a man who makes them boil over, they can enjoy the thrill of hungry, wild lust. "Once you're a twosome, however, that pure hunger can abate as you forge a stronger emotional connection," says Los Angeles psychotherapist Nancy Irwin, PhD.
But rather than trade in one type of pleasure ride for another, strike the perfect balance by occasionally traveling back—in your mind—and seeing your man as a hot piece of ass again that you just have to have. Here's why: "While emotional sex makes you feel so close, the excitement of 'animal' sex can completely recharge your connection," says Irwin. Showing this kind of passion and desire makes you feel sexy and totally turns him on. Here's a simple mind trick to get you in the mood for some no-emo action. "Conjure up your horniest fantasy or think back to the specifics of the hottest sex you and your man ever had," suggests Irwin. Focusing on the raw, physical element of sex will get you excited for his hot body and all that wild abandon. "By the time you see him, ravaging him will be the only thing on your mind."
When Sara, 25, was a free agent, her stomach would flip when her eyes connected with a hunk. "If I wanted a guy, I'd just let the lust take over. And actually, thinking about the thrills I used to feel checking out a hot prospect—and those risque nights that sometimes followed—gets me in the mood now when I want to get wild with my boyfriend."
- Show Him That You're Multi-Talented
Fact: Single girls are independent...if for no other reason than that they have to be the one calling the super to complain and fixing the car's flat tire (or at least flagging down a nice stranger to help do it). And back then, you probably liked being your own go-to girl. "Once you're in a relationship, however, you naturally begin to depend on each other for certain things," says L.A. sex therapist Donald Etkes, PhD. Maybe he deals with your handiwork (even though fixing a fuse is a piece of cake for you) and you help manage his online bills. Works great, but as a side effect, some of your autonomy slips away. "Just don't let the tackle-any-task part of you go away completely," says Etkes.
Being capable not only empowers you, but it's also damn sexy in his eyes. "Most men don't want a woman who is needy. So when you can handle yourself in any situation and are bold enough to fight your own battles, he knows he has someone worth hanging on to," says Etkes. Kat, 24, admits that when she first began dating Joe, she hid the fact that her dad, an auto mechanic, had taught her everything he knew about cars. "In high school, my boyfriends had been really intimidated, and I didn't want Joe to run off too." For weeks, she let her man scratch his head over what was ailing his old Corolla. "He could barely tell the carburetor from the driveshaft, so finally, I literally pushed him away and started changing the spark plugs. Instead of being horrified, he was grateful...and kind of awestruck."
So while you should enjoy the fact that you can now outsource tasks, remember how good it feels to take charge when you need to. "Stay in the habit of solving problems as they arise, rather than deferring to your guy," says Etkes.
- Keep Your Adventurous Side Alive And Strong
When you were single, chances are you were up for anything. A day of rock climbing with an out-of-town friend? Sure, there might be some cute guys around. Staking out a hillside kubo because the hot guy from your gym goes there? Hell, yeah. It's that attitude single girls embody that can keep the sparks flying in your relationship.
Being open to new experiences and ideas—and making room for spur-of-the-moment activities—is more important than ever once you've found your mate. "You have to maintain that wild-card element to keep your connection constantly evolving," says Thomas.
Problem: Where as a lone ranger it came easy, once you're part of a happy duo with a comfy routine, sparking that exploration state of mind takes some effort. To amp up your impulsive acts: Whether your man's along for the ride or not, make a deal with yourself to try at least one new thing a month. It can be a bite of shark-fin salad, taking a scuba course, or playing hooky from work and going to the park instead.
"Men love a little mystery, and your newfound verve for life will have your guy wondering what you'll do next, which is a huge turn-on," says L.A. sex therapist Ava Cadell, PhD. As for you, getting in touch with your spontaneous side is just a nice little reminder that you're exciting, ever-evolving, and one helluva fun person to be around.