It’s one of the oldest stories in the book: Guys love the chase. That’s what makes the first stage of the relationship—"the honeymoon phase"—so exciting. Not only is everything new, but he still has the mind-set that he needs to win you over.
After some time passes, however, and you both settle into the relationship, he begins to get very comfortable. The chase is over. Therefore, he thinks he doesn’t have to work as hard (or at all) anymore to keep you.
Of course, that’s totally false. So, what can you do to break him of this bad behavior and keep him on his toes when the chase is over?
1. Tell him when you’re bored.
No matter how comfortable he is, no one wants to bore her partner. Boredom is a red flag on either side of the relationship that something might be about to go very wrong.
Relationships hit natural ruts sometimes, but don’t accept that as an excuse. If he gets the idea that you’re growing bored or even disinterested, then he’ll step up his game.
2. Let him know you’re not going to stick around regardless.
You love him, but you have your own set of needs to be met. He has to be aware of that, and don’t just assume it’s something he already knows.
Love is important, but the bottom line is you’re not going to be there forever if the relationship isn’t mutually beneficial. That’s why so many marriages end in divorce.
3. Call him out the first time he does something wrong.
Don’t be too much of a stickler, because that’s no fun. However, if he does something that bothers you, don’t just let it slide the first time. Take care of it then and there.
If you don’t catch it the first time, he’ll think whatever he did or said was OK and he’ll eventually do it again, and then you’ll really have a problem convincing him otherwise.
4. Make him aware you have other options.
If you notice he’s been slacking off or not giving you the attention that you require, make him aware of the fact that he’s not the only man on planet Earth that finds you attractive. I’m not saying cheat or intentionally make him jealous, but if a guy hits on you in the course of your daily routine, slip it into a conversation.
He needs to know that you’re a wanted woman and that if he doesn’t put the work in to keep you, someone else will.
5. Take the reins.
If he’s being boring and lazy, show him what it is to be spontaneous and fun. Lead by example. Plan a fun day or weekend trip together. Crack out a map (yes, those paper things still exist) and start putting the pieces together. Show him that sitting around watching Netflix every day won’t cut it.
6. Spend time apart.
If he’s gotten too comfortable, maybe it’s time to upset your usual routine. You may be spending too much time together and that’s led him to think that you’re always going to be by his side without him having to try.
Take a few days off. Plan to see other friends or go to events without him. Doing activities separately will wake him up a little bit.
7. Make it clear you don’t need him.
As much as we love Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet just isn’t a realistic plotline for how actual relationships should go down. You love him and you want to be with him, but you don’t need his existence to live.
8. Remind him this is a partnership.
Relationships are a two-way street, people. It’s not up to one person to do more work than the other. Each should do their equal share. You shouldn’t be ignored, but you also shouldn’t be doted on without doing your own part.
Remind him that you want your effort returned in equal measure. That’s what love is.
This article originally appeared on YourTango.