The beginning of a relationship is often described as the “honeymoon period” for a reason – it’s an amazing time! But eventually, as many of us know all too well, the relationship starts to get boring. Your partner starts annoying you and you feel they don’t listen to you anymore. So, what went wrong? Here’s a little known point that will allow you to not only understand this problem more clearly, but also with a little work – fix it for you. It has to do with feelings vs thinking. To make a relationship work, and to make someone love you (and stay in love with you) many people do not realize it’s not feelings that matter so much anymore …as the mistakes in their thinking.
What do I mean?
Simply, one of the biggest mistakes in relationships is thinking you know what your partner is thinking. We are not mind readers, but that does not stop us from trying. Lets look at a few examples: “She won’t call me back” must mean “She doesn’t love me” “He didn’t do the dishes” must mean “He’s mad at me” The reality however is that people do things for many different reasons that we are unaware of. When we try to mind read someones else behavior however, the human mind usually thinks of a negative reason for that behavior, which typically is not true. Unfortunately, this is the root of many problems in relationships. In our minds, small mistakes become glaring incorrect signs that someone does not love us. And when we think someone doesn’t love us, we tend not to love them back as much. And so love slowly fades from the relationship. If you can remedy this problem however, you can not only stop this problem dead in its tracks, but begin the road to making your partner fall in love with you again by restoring the love you once felt for each other when you first started dating. Here are 3 errors in your thinking right now you need to fix:
- Unspoken Rules: Psychologists, philosophers, and sociologists agree that people – as a whole – tend to have unspoken rules about lots of different things. For example, if you wanted to invite friend A to a party and not friend B, you wouldn’t invite friend A in front of friend B …but would wait until you got friend A alone. Guess what, there is no written rule to do this but we would all do it anyway. This is an unwritten rule. It is natural for unspoken rules like this to be included in our relationships. For example, someone might create ideals for how their partner should behave. They think the relationship should run in a certain way, but their partner might think differently! And if you don’t talk to each other and tell them what your expectations are – love can slowly fade over time. It’s a silent killer. Right now, if there is a certain way you expect your partner to behave – tell them. And ask them to tell you any unspoken rules they have. No one is a mind reader, so do not try to act like one!
- Your Perception VS Their Behavior: Psychologist Aaron Be-Zeev states that, “We often love the idealized object rather than the real one”. This statement is particularly true in the beginning stages of a relationship, but eventually fades. For example, you used to love how “free-spirited” they were but now you think they are just “lazy”. The problem is that they did not change – your perception of them did. They were always like that, you have just lost your tolerance for that quality. If you can see this difference, you should be able to understand that changes in the perceived behavior of your partner does not equal a loss of love from them to you …but your tolerance for the behavior has changed different. Instead of thinking “They’re lazy now, they must no longer care for me” …begin thinking instead “Their behavior is pretty much the same now as when we first started dating and they said they loved me. Maybe they do still love me”. Of course, if a particular behavior of theirs is bothering you, you should discuss it with them as mentioned in point one above. But by understanding your perception of a particular behavior vs the actual reality of that behavior, you can come to stop thinking they no longer love you …and use that as a subconscious reason for falling out of love with them.
- Symbolic Meanings: People have a habit of attaching symbolic meanings to things that do not necessarily mean, well, anything! For some, “He didn’t walk the dog,” could really mean “You don’t care about the relationship anymore” or “She didn’t like the present” means “She doesn’t love me anymore”. Besides just being wrong, these attributed meanings also shift your partner into a negative perspective in your mind. And this can slowly drain love from a relationship. Make sure you are not attributing symbolic meanings to this, that and the other thing. And watch your partner to make sure they are not inadvertently attaching symbolic meanings to your actions. The practical way to achieve this is to keep honest and frank communication lines open in the relationship. Be frank with your partner, and their natural response is likely to be one of frankness back with you.
If you have lost the spark in your relationship, there is no easy fix. You cannot simply buy her expensive gifts or plan a vacation. The problems will still be there when you get back. You have to fix the ways you and your partner think to regain the love you once had.