People often wonder what happened to the romance after living together. When people first start dating, they only see each other one to a few times a week. That means that people have time to prepare themselves. They ensure they look good and are on their best behavior. When you live with someone, you see how they live outside of dating. Your partner might be messier or less exciting than you remember. You might wonder, how come they aren’t trying anymore?
Let’s examine some complex variables that can affect your relationship.
- Family History: As you know, we are a combination of our genes and our environment. Consider what your relationships are like within your own family. How have these relationships shaped your current relationship? Now think about your partner’s relationships with their family. Do you recognize any patterns? For example, if you or your partner experienced neglect, abuse, or divorce, you might have specific fears. Communicating this with your partner can make your relationship stronger. Offer you and your partner some compassion.
- Genes: Just as our past relationships shape our current relationships, so do our You or your partner might be struggling with physical or mental health challenges. Doing your best to focus on your overall health will help you become healthier and happier. This confidence and well-being is attractive.
- Your Partner Stopped Trying: Consider points one and two if your partner has stopped trying. Are they suffering from depression, anxiety, or any other overwhelming feeling? Looking at our partners and feeling neglected if they no longer put in the effort is easy. This is an excellent time to check in on how they are feeling. It can be challenging for some people to talk about their feelings because they might fear intimacy.
- Psychological Intimacy: Psychological intimacy requires an ability to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is incredibly challenging if you or your partner have been neglected or abused. Divorce, cheating, trauma, and loss can also make it hard for people to feel safe with others. If you or your partner struggle with psychological intimacy, try to communicate it. It can be as simple as saying; I am scared to get too close or hurt again. Psychological intimacy leads to physical intimacy.
- Physical Intimacy: Physical intimacy is often a product of psychological intimacy. When we feel appreciated and validated, we feel safer being close. Feeling controlled and trapped can diminish a desire to be intimate with your partner. Physical intimacy can include hugs, kisses, and holding hands. The safer someone feels, the more likely they will like your affection. Physical intimacy can be scary for those who have been abused, have body image insecurities, or a low sex drive.
- Resentment: Somewhere along the line, you began to feel like you were giving more than you were receiving. What happened? Is it related to the previous points? Research shows that women carry the majority of the emotional load in the household. Managing the children and the home can feel like having a full-time job. When we give more than we can, we can feel resentful. Resentment can also come from feeling taken for granted.
- Expectations: What expectations do you think your partner has of you? What expectations do you have for yourself? Sometimes we believe that our partners expect us to be a certain way. However, what we think our partner wants, and what they want can be two different things.
- Conflict Style: Conflict styles can range from avoidant to high. If you or your partner are conflict-avoidant, resentment can build. Conflict avoidance means that people will avoid conflict at any cost. This means that you and your partner might not resolve or repair any of the issues in your relationship. On the other end is high conflict High-conflict people enjoy conflict. These people might try to get a reaction out of you by picking fights. This person can also sometimes be abusive.
- Emotional Abuse: Emotional abuse can be challenging to detect. It can include backhanded compliments, isolating you from your community, control, and intimidation. It is any behavior that is meant to make you feel small, scared, or under control. If you are being isolated from your friends and family, ensure you are safe. Consider an exit strategy. Emotional abuse often leads to low feelings of worth.
- Feelings of Worth: If you struggle with feelings of low self-worth, you need to keep proving your worth to your partner. Are you over giving anywhere? What can your partner do to make you feel more secure? Be honest with them about these feelings. You don’t need to prove your worth to anyone.
Relationships are complicated. We can simplify it by understanding that everyone wants to feel competent, have autonomy, and feel connected. That means we can acknowledge our partner’s feelings of competence through gratitude. We can offer our partner autonomy by allowing them to make their own decisions and have an identity outside the relationship. Control leads to contempt, the most significant relationship killer. What do you and your partner need to feel connected again?
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