Do you need to start prioritising your relationship?
Life was supposed to be much better, right?
We found the partner that seems to be right for us. Sure, not perfect, but good for us.
We thought we’d be able to have a good time with them. We thought we’d be able to sail the rocky seas of love and life with them. We thought we’d be good together.
And now, a few years down the track, something doesn’t really click. A piece of the puzzle is missing.
We realize that life with them might not be as rewarding as we thought it would be: perhaps they leave their dirty socks on the floor. Perhaps they don’t show us that they appreciate us the way we want them to. Perhaps it feels like they prefer doing anything but spending time with us.
This is not how we envisioned our life with our significant other to be.
How about utilizing the upcoming holiday season to take a little break from life’s everyday pressure to reconnect and re-establish the passion?
Unfortunately, taking time off together is not a full-proof plan for rekindling the desire for being with our partner.
Where did we go wrong?
Somewhere along your life together, either one of you or both of you have started prioritizing anything but your relationship. The relationship stopped being the most important aspect of your lives, and it has been stripped of its ranks sort to speak.
Deprioritizing the relationship is a natural process that happens once the excitement and the initial enthusiasm wears off. Well, it might be natural, but that doesn’t mean we should accept it.
If we have let the relationship become last on our priorities, it’s time to intentionally move it back up to where it should be: at the very top.
Let’s see how we can change the dynamics of our relationship and shift it to a most rewarding, satisfying one.
Is my partner still the ideal partner for me?
There’s a saying that men marry women hoping they will never change, and women marry men hoping that they will change.
Both expectations are unrealistic: we all change to some extent but not always in the directions that our partner would want us to.
Now we need to figure out if the partner we are with, is still the right one for us.
If you feel repulsed or disgusted by your partner, there is not much anyone can do to save the relationship. In this case, you better invest your time in learning how to break up with dignity and compassion.
However, if you can think of a few traits that you still like and appreciate about your partner, then, most probably, you can restore your passion and learn how to live an amazing life together. Dr. John Gottman, who has studied thousands of couples and has developed the Gottman Method for couples therapy, suggests that you only need a tiny amber of affection to grow a wildfire of passion.
Should I make the effort and reawaken a struggling relationship? Or should I call it quits?
You are the only person who can answer this question. It obviously depends on your life circumstances, and how much is on the scale. Separating is technically easier if there are no kids involved and no mutual high-value investments such as property. But it doesn’t make it easier on the emotional side of things.
There’s an effort involved in working on a struggling relationship, and there’s an effort in having a break-up and finding a new partner.
And no one guarantees you’ll find someone that is better for you anyway. You can always find people that are better: more intelligent, more attractive, more sexually compatible, more agreeable, more empathic, better listeners – whatever you feel is missing with this current partner. But will they be better for you? Will the relationship with them be easier?
In any relationship that you’ll end up being at, there’s always going to be a component of dissatisfaction. Stan Tatkin claims that conflict between people is unavoidable. How about deciding to embrace those conflicts as opportunities for growth and development? You could do it in your next relationship, with someone else, or you could do it in this relationship that you have in front of you.
How do I make this relationship thrive?
In fairy-tales, people fall in love and then live happily ever after.
In real life, we learn that happiness is not something that happens to us. Instead, happiness is something we actively seek. Ongoing. And a good relationship is one that supports us in the evolution of that ongoing search.
Now let’s get real. For a relationship to be supportive, there needs to be safety and trust between partners. If you are in a relationship where you don’t feel safe, you will need to see a therapist to work this through.
But if you’re in a space where you’re mostly getting along with your partner, and just want to make it much better – then please know that you can definitely make your relationship super-fantastic.
Contradictory to popular culture belief, that being in love is a phase that goes away after a while; research has shown that being in love can last for a limitless amount of time. This is backed up by Helen Fisher’s work that compared brain scans of people who have fallen in love recently and people who claim to be madly in love even after decades of being together.
Spending time these holidays being intimate with your partner is the first step in learning how to fall back in love and stay in love for a long, long time.
Maya is the founder of Make Love Revolution an online blog and produces weekly articles on topics that help women learn how to have a truly satisfying sex life.