At the beginning of a relationship, feelings are usually at their strongest.
But then, as time goes on, they slowly begin to fade. What you used to love about your partner now slowly begins to annoy you. Perhaps he doesn't listen to you as intently, or she doesn't seem as keen to meet your needs. And as a result, you no longer look at him or her the same way.
So, what can you do to turn this around?
The last thing you want to do (and a lot of people do this) is allow yourself to get too comfortable in the relationship... and use this as an excuse to do nothing.
You need to be actively working throughout the course of the relationship. An important way to do this is to constantly ensure you haven't allowed any errors to creep into your thinking patterns.
For example, in long-term relationships, rather than focus on feelings, you really need to focus on learning the errors you may have made in your thinking in regard to why your partner behaves in the particular way they do.
What does this mean?
Let's begin by saying you're a terrible mind reader — but that doesn't prevent you from trying to do it again and again:
She's not saying anything. She must be angry with me. He didn't offer to do the dishes. He no longer loves me.
The reality is: There could be MANY different reasons your partner is behaving in a certain way. But we're convinced we know the ONE reason.
The problem is that reason is usually a negative one – and most often, wrong. This is how many problems in relationships begin. We assume certain behaviors mean someone doesn't love us.
If you can understand how you're thinking might be wrong, you can begin to examine ways in which your current thinking has damaged the love you once felt for your partner AND how to reverse this damage by fixing your thinking patterns.
Let's now look at three ways to do this…
1. Unspoken Rules
Many psychologists, philosophers, anthropologists and sociologists say we humans tend to live by unspoken rules in many different situations.
Unfortunately, this also occurs in our relationships. If you personally develop unspoken rules in your head for how both your partner should behave and how the relationship as a whole should run, it will be the silent death of a long-term relationship.
And most of us are guilty of it at times. We have expectations that we don't make clear to our partner. And when our partner doesn't abide by our secret expectations… we get upset with them.
The problem occurs because what's obvious to you is not always obvious to the other party. Therefore, if you have an unspoken rule, bring it into the open: It's critical to make things clear to your man about what you're thinking. You're not good at reading people's minds and you can't expect them to be good at reading yours.
2. Mistaking A Change In Your Thinking For Their Behavior
As psychologist Aaron Be-Zeev has said,
We often love the idealized object rather than the real one.
This occurs most often when you first fall in love at the beginning of the relationship. At this stage, the other person can do no wrong. But that positive bias often falters after a while.
The “lovable ditziness” you adored in your partner at the beginning of your relationship you now see as them being “stupid” or “annoying."
The truth is their behavior didn't change; your interpretation of it did. Your partner behaves the same way, but your tolerance of that behavior has changed.
Your partner behaves the same way, but your tolerance of that behavior has changed. When you can come to understand this key difference, you can see a perceived change in your partner's behavior is not a sign that he has fallen out of love with you; it's just a sign that your tolerance for that behavior has changed – and this is something you can remedy. You need to work on your level of tolerance in order to allow love to regrow.
3. Symbolic Meanings
Psychologists state humans attach symbolic meaning to lots of things.
A rose is a symbol of love. A dove is a symbol of peace. We also tend to attach symbols to our actions and those of others.
The issue is symbolic meanings are not only usually wrong, but they begin to shape your thinking in a negative way towards your man. And when that happens, love suffers.
Instead of attaching symbolic meaning to certain actions, talk to your partner about the specific action that is causing you to find a symbolic meaning.
If you want to bring love back into a relationship, forget the idea of buying a new piece of lingerie or making plans for a weekend getaway. These actions only plaster over cracks in a relationship.
To bring love back into a relationship, carefully examine your own thinking patterns (and those of your partner) and see how these are stamping out the love you once felt for each other. You might be surprised at what you find.