Drifting Apart

drifting

Drifting Apart

It stuns you when you first realize that you and your sweetie, you seemed like the perfect couple, are drifting apart. Sometimes just as perfectly as you fell for each other, as if it were only natural an event like a natural disaster, an earth shattering union over which the two of you had no control. But just as powerfully so too can each party find forces pushing them apart, and these can occur just as naturally and as inexplicably.

Sometimes we end up in a comfortable relationship that has no future. This kind of relationship has dueling emotions inside you. On the one hand you have your life goals. On the other you love this person and perhaps fear being single again and facing a big, black who-knows-what. Sometimes the fear of the unknown makes us stay in an uncomfortable situation. But the problem with that is we die a little inside for we are born to seek out our dreams. Scientists have proven that parts of the brain showing good, sound judgment shutdown when we fall in love. As the relationship progresses more and more we get to learn about our partner and deal with their shortcomings, and our own.

Once you have that down, you think you’ve got it all figured out. And you’ll live happily ever after. Or not. More likely it will be like a series of hurtles you’ll have to jump over. You’ll dodge them and do okay. Once in a while you’ll have a victory to celebrate. At other times a defeat to mourn. But when people have different priorities or if their values change, as are natural to do over time you can find the couple naturally drifting apart. The question is how far is this drift going to go? Can you relate to one another anymore? Is there trust and respect? Can you build a deep bond of connection and intimacy despite these differences? Each couple has to decide for themselves. It takes a big conversation.

Some long term couples and married couples decide to live together despite their differences. They share what they can but each also enjoy their separate lives. Others seek out a partner who fulfills all of their needs. Then there are those who try to change their lover, or spurn them for not being the person they fell in love with to begin with. Instead, talk about it. Discuss the drift. See when it occurred and why it occurred. Figure out if it makes sense to stay together and share your life together or perhaps you’ve grown too different after all. For more advice read, Help! My Spouse and I Are Drifting Apart by Dr. Bill Maier and Mitch Temple.

Should you stay in a Relationship that is Just Comfortable?

too comfortable

Should you stay in a Relationship that is Just Comfortable?

Many of us have been there. You love someone but you aren’t in love with them. The relationship is very comfortable. There may be places where you don’t see eye-to-eye. But by and large, you have fun together, run a good household or just enjoy each other’s company. The person is perhaps a good choice for a mate. They are stable and kind. But that euphoric, weak-in-the-knees feeling has left the building. So should you stay in a relationship that is just comfortable but doesn’t give you fireworks or butterflies? There are really two schools of thought on this. The first is a very practical view. That is, stay with your partner. The reason, there are relationships and even marriages who do have that spark. Also, the candle that burns twice as bright often lasts half as long. Then a terrible breakup occurs and you are left all alone. The other scenario is one waits around forever. Instead of having the loving experiences available, one waits alone for a proposition which may never come. Why not, as the song says, love the one you’re with?

Sometimes these relationships that are comfortable used to have novelty. Kids, careers and a pileup of years have made them too comfortable. Here experts say the spark can be rekindled. One way to do so is to share novel experiences together. Travel to exotic lands, take part in exciting activities like sky diving and bungee jumping, learn a new skill together such as cooking or swing dancing or interact through a new sport such as karate or kayaking. These can reignite the spark. Another way is through reminiscing. Some relationship experts say merely having a date night can do it. This will inject some romance—you know interacting as a couple again instead of the person who takes care of a list of household duties. Then there are those who use their sexual interests to jumpstart their relationship. They may start to talk about and fulfill each person’s deep seeded fantasies, the ones they never spoke to another soul about. Some couples explore tantric sex or BDSM together to reignite that spark.

But then there is another school of thought, held by the fiercely independent who are not afraid of making it on their own. This type is perfectly happy by themselves. They won’t accept anything less than earth shattering love. If they work at it and can’t get it from their relationship then they end it, sooner or later. If the person they are dating doesn’t provide this feeling than they’d rather not be dating them. This type is generally focused on an important passion, mission, artistic pursuit, their children or career. They say if you really aren’t in love then you are just going through the motions, or else settling for a paltry mediocrity. Which interpretation is the right one? That all depends on the kind of person you are. If you are fiercely independent why not go for the love that will fill the space in your heart? See if you can reignite it with your current lover before you do something drastic. But if they cannot fulfill you why stay with them? Those who are a bit more practical and believe their relationship suits their needs should instead try and find ways to rekindle the flames. For more on this read the book, Keeping the Love You Find by Harville Hendrix.

Common Relationship Blunders

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Common Relationship Blunders

No matter what stage you’re in, whether you are in a new relationship and want to do it right or just walked away from a bad one, anyone can benefit from learning what common relationship blunders take a couple who have potential and drive them apart. If you can catch these early on, or you and your partner have the gumption to renew your bond, you can change your fate and fall into a close, loving, and supportive relationship.

One of the most common is that as time wears on couples tend to slip into a very comfortable phase. The niceties slip and sooner or later they are taking each other for granted. It’s important to show your appreciation for one another. Reflect on what your life would be like without them. Then think about what they bring into your life. Leave them love notes. Tell them they look nice in what they’re wearing. Whisper sweet nothings into each other’s ears. Make it special and make it count. If you take each other for granted, each of you will feel undesirable and unfulfilled, and may stray outside the relationship in order to fulfill those needs.

Another problem is when it goes the other way. One partner appreciates the other too much. That is to say they become dependent, or needy. If you feel insecure, look to the signs of your relationship to see if these feelings are justified. Do they call when they say they will? What do they say to you? Do they compliment you? Do nice things for you? If all signs point to a healthy, stable, well-adjusted relationship then relax. If you or your partner are feeling these signs of insecurity perhaps discuss them, or even seek the help of a mental health professional.

Do you complain about your partner to everyone except them? First, you two have to learn how to deal with your problems directly. You shouldn’t be complaining about them to everyone. Deal with them directly, or vent to a confidant. But if you are constantly focusing on the negative you will not see the positive in your partner and the relationship will thus sour. Come to terms with your sweetie’s shortcomings and expect them to come to terms with yours. Otherwise if you can’t, this isn’t the person for you. The same thing goes for passive-aggressiveness. Instead of slinging barbs learn to communicate in a positive and productive manner. For more on this topic read, Relationship Advice: How to Rekindle and Cultivate Healthy, Passionate, and Long-Lasting Relationships by Henry Lee.

Normal Couple Changes that Initially Cause Anxiety

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Normal Couple Changes that Initially Cause Anxiety

Have you been in a relationship for a while and you’re worried that you are growing apart? Normal couples go through changes that can initially cause anxiety but are in fact common and are of no actual cause for concern. So if you are afraid that your love is fading or that he or she just isn’t as attracted to you as they once were, read on to see if there is any real trouble brewing or if you are merely going through one of these transitions.  First, if you are physical together, the intensity and frequency of hopping into bed together may slow a bit once you reach that more comfortable stage. This is normal. But some people believe it means the attraction is dropping off. Two to three times a week is average for most couples. But find out what is normal for you two.

Have a conversation if you think there is a problem. And of course, couples who have been together a while need to spice things up sometimes. So recognize when you’ve fallen into a rut and figure out what needs changing, and what spicy and steamy things you’d like to explore together to keep the spark alive and take things to the next level. Have you noticed a drop off in cuddle time? How often do you cuddle? Sometimes we and are partners are on different schedules, are busy and tired at night and fall into bed exhausted, or just get used to climbing into bed and going to sleep. Why not initiate cuddling if you miss it? Do so when you two have a little time, like on the weekends. Or go to bed ten minutes earlier to get in some much needed snuggle time.

Has your texting frequency fallen off? If you used to text each other throughout the day little sweet nothings, steamy sexts, or just things that occurred that you want to share, but this phenomenon has dropped off, why not start it off again? Some couples save things to talk to each other about when they get home, or for dinner table conversation. Also, when you slip into a deeper, more comfortable phase, you don’t need the constant texting to reassure each other. So have a conversation if you feel that this is missing from your relationship. But don’t take it as a sign that the end is near. For in fact, it’s pretty normal for this to occur. When you are doing something fun, do you look for your partner? And do you feel their absence when they’re not around? This is normal in a new relationship. But as time wears on you won’t look for that person to be there every time something amazing happens. It’s a normal part of developing together.

Did you two used to do everything together and now even though you love your partner you want to experience certain hobbies, social events and other things on your own or with your friends? This is a perfectly normal sign your relationship has moved on to a more comfortable phase. Has your date planning dropped off?  That’s normal. Why not have a date night? If you used to brag about your significant other every chance you got, but found this dropping off, it’s okay. You are just used to the relationship. It’s good that you want to take a measure of where the relationship is every so often. That is normal and healthy and means you care about this relationship. Don’t stress. Instead, keep in touch with your partner. Understand who they are, their needs and desires and your own. They may change over time. People change and they either stay the same, grow together or apart. But if you are in love, communicate well, get along and care for each other there is no reason you shouldn’t grow together. For more advice read, Should We Stay Together? By Jeffry H. Larson, Ph.D.

How Self-Loathing Affects Partners

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How Self-Loathing Affects Partners

Inadequacy can affect a relationship in a number of ways. Sometimes those who feel inadequate push their lovers away thinking that they aren’t good enough for them. But they don’t let the lover speak for themselves, a selfish act. Those who experience self-loathing often apologize over and over again for little insignificant mistakes, a behavior that can sometimes rake their partner’s nerves. Those who suffer from self-loathing often believe too that they are just one mistake away from ruining the relationship, or driving their significant other away. The other lover however may not feel that the bond is so tenuous. Still, this constant questioning weakens the relationship. When one person keeps on questioning it, the other lover may start questioning the relationship. Or they may decide that their self-loathing partner’s assessment is correct. They may feel that this person is too high maintenance or that their sucking all of their energy away. It’s hard to be with someone who suffers from self-loathing. Constant apologizing can also be a tactic to take the attention away from the one partner who feels inadequate and put it on the other when seeking apology. But inevitably the focus comes right back on the partner who loathes themselves, for their partner’s concern has been raised.

The other quality the self-loathing have is feeling that their partner is too good for them. They are haunted by guilt. Some people normally feel this way when they get together with someone they have strong chemistry with. But it usually fades with a little bit of time. However, the self-loathing never have this sensation subside. Here, even though the self-loathing believe that they are showing their lovers reverence and esteem, the irony is that the focus is actually brought back upon themselves.  Both of these behaviors display the inadequate person’s need for reassurance and attention. These people are usually high maintenance and needy or clingy. The truth is the self-loathing are constantly seeking validation from their partner. But they aren’t actually dealing with the root of the issue which is buried within themselves. Instead, their constant validation seeking will not only never satiate them, it is likely to drive their partner away as it will drain them of precious psychic energy. The relationship becomes boring and tiresome, and a lot of work, not really that much fun. The last problem is the self-loathing are oversensitive. If you are suffering from self-loathing, seek help. Watch what you say to your partner. Sensor yourself somewhat. And work through your issues. If you love someone who has self-loathing problems, get them to seek help. For advice on being nicer to yourself read, Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind by Kristin Neff, Ph.D.