Dec 2nd, 2010 by admin
“I am not in love with my partner any more, and I don’t know what to do to get it back. Is it possible?
I hear this question quite often in my work as a psychotherapist and couple counselor. Couples are upset, confused, sad and disappointed that those loving feelings for each other seem to have vanished in thin air. They miss the butterfly-in-the-stomach reactions they used to have whenever they were in each other’s presence; the obsessive thinking about the relationship, and the wonderful feelings of being deeply connected to each other, of being understood, loved, appreciated, cherished.
Often couples cannot pinpoint a specific event or situation that might have contributed to this loss. They try to figure out what happened, but they cannot come up with anything that explains why they are presently feeling the way they do, how they got to this point and how to recover what they had together.
Losing the in-love feelings is a process that occurs in all romantic relationships, as these feelings are just the initial glue that gets people attracted to one another, the early motivation that energizes and motivates them to be together and enjoy each other’s company. These feelings, however, cannot last indefinitively, as the relationship shifts from the initial infatuation to a longer lasting companionship based on mutual respect, appreciation and feeling secure with one another.
As couples settle from the initial passion to a steadier pace of life together, a feeling of attachment takes the place of the initial in-love feelings for each other.
In-love feelings are fueled by the new, the different, and the exotic in a situation that is felt to be unpredictable and surprising. Attachment, on the other hand, is based on routines that foster familiarity and, in turn, emotional safety between partners. At the beginning of a love relationship, there is a lot of newness, with unexpected, unpredictable, and exciting scenarios unfolding. As the relationship continues, more predictability, regularity, and consistency develop between partners. The first experience can be highly exciting, yet unsettling; the other predictable and safe but potentially boring.
Having said this, however, I don’t mean to imply that, as romantic relationships become more permanent, the in-love feelings of the beginning disappear forever. It just means that couples need to work at creating situations that are likely to evoke these feelings again by re-introducing excitement, unpredictability, and a break with routines. A special evening together, time set aside for each other, fun and pleasurable activities, unexpected gestures toward one another are what longer term relationships need to get revitalized and rejuvenated.
So, surprise your partner with a different plan this evening. Take time to think about what he or she would like. Create a romantic environment that can remind you two of the earlier times of your love forgetting, for a moment, all the responsibilities that bog you and your partner down, and keep your minds focused on just the two of you.
When you take time out for yourself and your partner, you feed your
relationship, infusing it with new experiences that come from being in the moment, just like the two of you used to be at the beginning of your love.