It happens in the lives of most people. At some time or other, things just don’t feel the same. Your partner is not as much fun. The relationship is not as romantic. The sex isn’t as great. You feel misunderstood and unsupported and undervalued.
So, should you just leave and start over with someone else?
All relationships go through cycles and ups and downs. A relationship is a living, breathing organism, so it does not stay the same. It changes, morphs, adapts to the changes, positive and negative, that happen around us every day.
Plus a relationship is made up of two living, breathing human beings that experience moods differently, interpret the world from different perspectives, react and respond according to past conditioning to triggers that they may or may not be aware of.
So, yes, your feelings will change in intensity over time. When you add unexpected triggers, pressure of family, career, finances, the economy, political climate, friendships coming and going, and then throw in a full moon or a natural disaster, we all find ourselves pushed and pulled in many directions. It’s difficult to maintain a constant state of bliss, let alone your equilibrium.
Just knowing this, and understanding that everyone goes through it should at least help a little. But what do you do with the “dead” feelings? Do you fake it? Do you ignore it?
No. And no. But be aware that it’s happening and acknowledge it to yourself and your partner. When you name what you are feeling, it is easier to fix it.
Sometimes it takes going to a professional therapist to help work this out, but here are 5 things you can do on your own. Get back to basics.
Communicate Your Feelings
Bite the bullet and gently tell your partner that you want to rekindle the romance or have more fun together, or find more time for each other. Tell him/her that you feel like you are in a rut and you want to work together to get out of that rut. Do not blame or accuse or make negative comments about everything your partner is doing wrong. Stay focused on where you want to go. Of course along the way, you will need to address things that offend you, hurt you, frighten you or anger you; but first focus on where you want to go and enlist their participation. It’s much easier to work with a partner who is cooperative than one who is resentful or hurt or feels blamed.
Establish or Re-Establish a Firm Foundation
If your relationship is not built on a strong foundation of commitment, common goals and mutual respect, it will be difficult to overcome the impasse you are feeling. But it’s still not too late to repair the foundation. These things are a decision and you can always make a new decision. Find things you respect about your partner. Tell him/her. Speak to him/her in the same respectful way you would want to be spoken to.
Make a Plan
Sit down and talk about your life goals, family goals, financial goals, and spiritual goals. Allow for differences of opinions and variety of dreams. Share your dreams and expectations with the assumption and hope that you can make all dreams come true; but start with mutual dreams. Make a plan to achieve each of these goals.
Nurture Your Personal Interests
Find hobbies and interests that you can each pursue separately if you are feeling trapped. If one of you likes golf and the other likes hiking, find friends, co-workers, groups that you can participate with. One of you can take an art class while the other learns about political science. You should always have the space within a relationship to do the things that please you and stimulate you. It makes you a happier person and a more interesting partner.
Make Time for Fun
But most importantly, find something new that you can learn or enjoy together, or renew something that you both used to like but it’s gotten crowded out of your busy life. Go line dancing, take a trip, go antiquing, learn to sail, play cards, go bowling or to the movies. Find museums you like, go to the winery with friends, make a weekly breakfast, lunch or dinner date… just you. Learn to have fun together again.
Many times just acknowledging and adjusting is enough to bring more positivity into the relationship. Just know that if you jump ship without examining how to be a better YOU will just lead you into a new relationship with the same old problems. You’ll find it’s often worth sticking it out through the ups and downs because learning to appreciate and acknowledge the “ups” and learning, growing and adjusting during the “downs” make you a stronger and better person.