Have you seen that Marilyn Monroe story where the ‘seven-year itch’ has been mentioned? Well, that’s it, that’s exactly the number of years it takes for a relationship to get out of its honeymoon phase and come under the critical eye. Psychologists agree with this 7-year duration before partners start taking each other for granted.
Relationships need nurturing and dedicated time to grow with the people involved in it. Often, what happens is that, the partners evolve but the relationship remains stagnant. In such cases, it needs to be discussed rather than being brushed under the carpet. Worse still, put to an end.
If you’re worried that you don’t feel the same for your long-term love anymore, here’s something that you can try.
Relationships are dynamic; it has its crests and troughs
During an interview with the Esquire Magazine, Joni Mitchell said that, if you desire to experience the same thing repeatedly, date a lot of people. But if you like endless variety, just date one person.
When people meet each other for the first time, each puts his/her best foot forward. And even as it may seem charming at the beginning, it gradually fades into irrelevance. What then?
You see, the relationship has actually grown to a point where the real self of the person is more visible and honesty has surfaced. You’ll encounter days when either of you will be more vulnerable, not in sync with each other, or simply not interested in participating in the relationship for the moment.
It’s all quite normal. What’s required now is to take the second step – communication.
Sit and talk to each other
The best solution to resolve anything in life is to communicate. It almost always alleviates the barriers that the partners face in the course of the relationship.
The conversations don’t have to be targeted at achieving a particular result and could include anything – from talking about their feelings regarding their take on the relationship, about work, and life in general.
Many people restrain themselves from revealing the vulnerable side to their partner. However, it only increases problems further. Instead, by discussing the changes that you may want in the relationship, perhaps because of your emotional or mental state, you may reach a healthy and long-term solution.
Sit together like you’re renewing the contract in the relationship. Share your thoughts on personal feelings, career issues, child-care, lifestyle, and find a middle ground that you both agree on.
It may be difficult at the beginning but you must assure each other of absolute support and consideration. And if you think you cannot overcome this awkwardness of discussion, write to your partner, in detail, and open the gateway for a dialogue to take place.
Recall the things that made you fall in love with your partner
Once the honeymoon phase is over, and all the emotions have receded, the quirkiness that attracted you earlier may be unbearable now.
The truth is that your partner may be going through the same feelings as you are. Either way, the resentments start to build up and eventually something completely inappropriate is blurted by one of you. Stop before you reach there and go back to the previous point of communicating.
Try to recall the time when you found your partner attractive. Revisit the messages and letters to rekindle the initial feelings. Remember the giddiness that you felt then. Try to revive those romantic memories that you both have experienced.
They may have receded to the background while you both got busy with your banal life. Bring them back and, if required, talk these over with your partner to return to the initial feelings of love.
Acknowledge small gestures
Take a pen and paper and write down all that you think your partner has been doing for you but you’ve taken for granted. These could be ordinary things from making your morning coffee or tea to parenting the child with extra care. Or some surprises that you forgot to appreciate.
Once you’ve put it down in ink, you’ll start noticing your partner’s love even more. Reciprocate the same by acknowledging and appreciating it. Don’t say everything at the same time; it’ll make the person conscious. Instead, during one of the usual gestures, like the morning coffee, hug your partner and thank him/her for their gesture. Assure him/her that it has never gone unnoticed.
See them smile as they receive the appreciation.
Keep your expectations and dissatisfaction aside
It’s normal for every relationship to reach a point where much friction happens because the feeling of ‘should’ comes in. You gradually start getting upset about their habits or their behavior and don’t understand how to deal with it.
Once again, it’s all about communicating with the person. It’s important to know that people make mistakes and you must be ready to forgive them for it. If you start overlooking small resentments, you’ll be able to focus on more important issues in the relationship.
You must understand that no person remains the same, we all change, evolve, and so do the dynamics associated with them. Hence, if required, reconfigure the parameters of the relationship to accommodate these changes. This way, the unnecessary expectations will also be reduced.
At times an exclusive relationship may develop into a polyamorous one, or vice-versa, in which case it should be discussed.
It’s important to communicate at this juncture so that especially the expectations that are leading to resentment are addressed and resolved.
Related article: 6 Secrets To Keep The Honeymoon Phase Your Whole Life
Share your goals and try to achieve them together
One of the most common problems that arise in a long-term relationship is that one partner takes more responsibilities than the other. Or else, one of the two is aiming at a goal while the other one is not contributing enough towards it.
Sometimes, it’s not enough to just spend time together, watching TV or going out with each other but never really communicating about the real situations. Use this time to discuss the possibilities of a common project that you both can take up and configure a plan to execute the same.
It could be anything from travelling to learning some sports. Or planning a house to refurbishing the existing one. Either way, make it an interesting activity that’ll engage both of you equally.
Projects like these reintroduce the spark in the relationship that was starting to feel like a sibling one.
The ultimate thing is to remember that this is the person you fell in love with and has been with you through thick and thin. And it is with this person that you’ve spent the best moments with.
If both of you put an equal effort in admiring each others’ uniqueness, you both will not only feel the love come back in the relationship, but start falling in love with each other, yet again!
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