Our relationships change over time, from that first moment when we meet someone when the dopamine rush has us feeling all ‘loved’ up, to building a life together, creating a family, raising kids, all the time trying to stay connected, despite the distractions life throws at us.
The reality is that when you have been with your partner for an extended time, you naturally start to take them for granted, with idiosyncrasies that you once found cute becoming little more than an annoyance.
You can reach the point where you have forgotten all the things that attracted you to your partner in the first place, with negativity and criticism a constant in the relationship, instead of support, positivity and love.
This was highlighted in a study of couples from the Gottman Institute, which found that the researchers could, with 90% accuracy, determine who would stay together and who would not.
A key finding was the importance of positive interactions between couples, with it taking 5 positive interactions to counter 1 negative. If the positive to negative ratio fell to 1:1 or below, then the relationship would likely fail.
Now think about your own relationship, how many times in a day do you interact negatively with your partner and they with you?
Have you found yourself in the danger zone for separation?
If your answer is “Oh my goodness,” well do not panic as you are far from alone as it is common for relationships over time to morph into a hotbed of negativity. The good news is that there is still time to turn things around and find that love connection.
Rediscover your partner
Make a conscious effort to re-connect with your partner and become curious as to whom they are today, helping to bring back the intrigue about their personality which can spark the passion in your relationship once again.
The eyes have it
They say the eyes are the ‘windows to the soul’ and when it comes to relationships there could not be truer words spoken, so take the time to look into your partner’s eyes as this will help to re-connect with them on an intimate level.
Do new things together
Rediscovering the fun is a key to rekindling your love for each other and there is no better way to do that than by finding a new activity to do together. Whether that be a cooking class, dining in a new restaurant or going away somewhere you’ve never been before. Our brains love novelty, so by doing new things we will light up parts of the brain that reignites interest in our partner again.
If it’s small let it slide
Small irritations and nuances can grow into big issues as relationships develop. The big problem is that once resentment arrives, it can be relationship ending. By letting go of these small annoyances, not ‘feeding’ them, you can diffuse negativity to create space and room to grow close together in a nurturing and supportive way.
Plan for the future
Having a shared view of a future together – and actively working towards realising it – is one of the best ways to make your partner feel secure. It can be small, like planning a weekend away, or a holiday, and if you have not had a chat with your partner on what your future will look like, well today may be a great time to start.
Check-in with each other
When we talk relationships, we talk about the heart, the truth is that it is all about the brain. Our brains are wired to reduce threat and danger and seek security, so creating an environment that helps you both feel safe and secure is critical. A great way to do this is by regularly checking in with your partner, asking if ‘everything is ok’ which will help to nurture your relationship and diffuse any negativity.
Do things for each other
It may be sending a cute text message, helping with household chores, a love note in the lunch box, or simply putting the lid back on the toothpaste, when you do these things for each other it shows how we care for, creating a constant positive through the relationship.
Touch is important
The impact of what touch does for a relationship is immeasurable, whether that be holding hands, embracing, a massage, or simply lying close while watching TV. Add the delicious feelings of sexual touch and your passion will thrive.
Support each other
If you become unhappy in your relationship, your partner should be the first to hear about what you are feeling or experiencing, not your friends, family or social media followers. Happy couples never put their partner down in front of other people. There are times where you may feel isolated and need to go to a friend, such feelings are a warning sign of a fault in the relationship, meaning it may be time to seek professional help, before the damage is too hard to correct.
If you are finding that no matter how hard you try that you are struggling to reconnect and rekindle your passion for each other, then it may be time to seek help from a qualified couple’s therapist, you will be amazed at what quality help will bring to your relationship.
For more tips, daily quotes and information about love, dating, relationships and happiness visit my Facebook page Melissa Ferrari - Psychotherapist & Relationship Expert. Also available is information about couple therapy and how it can help your relationships.