People who question whether they should stay in a long-term relationship are often deeply conflicted about their decisions, especially if the partner they are going to leave behind will be wounded. By the time they come to see me, they have usually struggled with their feelings for a long time, wanting to make absolutely sure they are not prematurely leaving.They’ve tried everything they can do to stay in love with their partner but just can’t seem to bring back the feelings they once had. If they’re going to cause pain and sorrow to someone they once loved, maybe they should question themselves more before giving up. How can they tell the difference between a lagging relationship that might have the power to regenerate and one that should end?
If you’re the partner who fears that you’re falling out of love, please don’t beat yourself up. Your feelings did not change overnight, and you might even not have realized it was happening. Relationships are never all bad, and you might have been trying too hard to focus on the things you still valued while you were slipping away inside. You’ve been struggling with whether you’re really done or just need a new way to be together.
You realize that all of your thoughts and feelings could just be fleeting and perhaps just dependent on your current situation. With enough motivation and the hope that things could be different, could you save the relationship? After all, every intimate relationship goes through slumps, and your lack of connection might not necessarily be the omen of a terminal rupture. But, what you do know for sure is that things are not right.
If you haven’t told your partner how you’ve been feeling, you may also be experiencing the guilt of not keeping him or her in the loop. Your partner may have no idea that you’re thinking of leaving the relationship. Often partners who are feeling less cared for are afraid to talk about it. If you’ve chosen to remain silent and try to work out your conflicts yourself, you haven’t given that person the opportunity to fight for the relationship. Whether you are done or still have the chance to turn the relationship around, it is always better to keep your partner informed no matter what the outcome.
If there is still value in the relationship and you’re not already involved with someone else, it is always better to try to save what you have, if, for no other reasons, to understand how both of you might have done things differently. A question you may find yourself asking…..is your relationship with your significant other defined more by friendship than passion? The good news is that you’re not alone and there are some fairly simple things you can do to restore the spark that you once had. In fact, it reminds us that friendship is the glue that can hold a marriage together: “Couples who “know each other intimately are well versed in each other’s likes, dislikes, personality quirks, hopes, and dreams are couples who make it.
However, the most common complaint of couples today is that they’ve fallen out of love. Is it possible to fall back in love? This all depends on each person and couple which means there is no one formula or answer. However, if you both want it badly enough to give it another go then here are tips to help you rev up your sexual intimacy and rewire positive connections:
• Resolve conflicts skillfully. Don’t put aside resentments that can destroy a relationship. Experiencing conflict is inevitable and couples who strive to avoid it are at the risk of developing stagnant relationships. Couples counseling can be a beneficial way to increase positive connections if both partners are motivated.
• Reconnect by increasing physical affection. Physical contact releases feel good hormones. Holding hands, hugging, and touching can release oxytocin (the bonding hormone) that reduces pain and causes a calming sensation. Studies show that it’s released during sexual orgasm and affectionate touch as well. Physical affection also reduces stress hormones – lowering daily levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
• Allow tension to build. Our brains experience more pleasure when the anticipation of the reward goes on for some time before we get the actual reward. So take your time, share fantasies, and change locations for sexual intimacy.
• Set aside time to spend with your partner on a daily basis. Carve out time to be together so you don’t evolve into “two ships passing in the night.”
In closing, for your marriage or romantic relationship to thrive, it’s important to create daily rituals of spending time together, show physical affection, and learn to resolve conflicts in a healthy way. Practicing emotional attunement while relaxing together can help you stay connected in spite of your differences. This means “turning toward” one another, showing empathy, and not being defensive. Be sure to pay close attention to the role you play if you are drifting apart and focus on what you can do to reconnect with your partner rather than resorting to the “blame game.” Even if you’re not a touchy-feely person, increasing physical affection can help you to sustain a deep, meaningful bond.