Relationships often cycle through stages, and one of these can be ‘growing apart’. Sometimes couples don’t pick up on what is happening until the relationship is heading for the end. Others can feel quite threatened by small distances between them which may be the result of normal everyday events. The most important intervention when these concerns arise is to communicate your fears to each other.
Relationships don’t stay the same, no matter how healthy they are or how satisfying they may be.
When partners are dissatisfied, the following thoughts/feelings may arise: “I love my partner, but I’m not ‘in love’.” This can be the result of either or both partners attempting to cling to the intense feelings common to the early stages of the relationship. Some relationships become more like brother and sister, or good friends because the sensual/sexual elements are lost.
Ambivalence is normal. Sometimes we think we want one thing, only to discover that it causes other complications for us. Some examples of this might be asking a partner to share more, spend more time with us, spice up our sex lives, take more of the burden of the discipline of children, show more care, do more around the house, bring in more money. All of these requests are reasonable. But at the same time they all have their disadvantages. What might be lost to the relationship if one partner is asked to earn more money? What if we don’t like the way our partner disciplines? What if their constant presence becomes annoying?
Communication about growing relationships must continue over all the decades. Once a partnership is taken for granted it can grow stale; conflicts may also simmer beneath the surface while individuals are playing it safe.
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