I play Splendor a lot with my wife and I don't run in the problem you mention. Maybe you suffer from a "group thinking" problem. This happens when several people play the same game over and over and after a while they all seem to think that there is only 1 correct way of doing things and to win. Suddenly, if you happen to play with someone else, you might be surprised because they play differently.
At 2 players this game allow for a lot of "control" (at least, a lot more than with 4 players). You can try to make you opponent suffer from a shortage in one color for example. You can reserve cards that are really good for your opponent, and so on.
I would also like to point out that Splendor is not a game that aims to be a long game. Especially at 2 players, once you know how to play, the game is quite fast. When we play with my wife, we usually play "best of 3", or we just play several games one after the other until we have enough.
But to answer your initial question "is there other ways to play?", yes, there is one provided by the publisher: an extension box exists for Splendor, which contains 4 mini-expansions. Each expansion is independant of the other, which means you can play with 1 of them, 2 of them, 3 of them or all of them at the same time.
If you really like Splendor, this should bring you a lot more to consider and to enjoy.
The extension is called "Cities of Splendor"