Many people who have been in a relationship for a long time, reach a point where they feel that the illusion of the beginning of a love affair is fading away .
It is not something abnormal, nor a phenomenon that speaks ill of the quality of the emotional bond; it is simply something that happens frequently as the months and years go by. This feeling of adventure and of discovering a new way of looking at life is losing strength, even though we cannot identify a concrete problem with this engagement or marriage.
Now… is it possible to feel again that love for the partner that we experienced during the first stage of the relationship ? Although by definition every moment in life is unique, in many cases, there are ways to make romance come back with a vengeance. Let’s see how we can do our part to make it happen.
When the illusion of the first days of romance is gone
When a relationship begins, the experience is strongly related to the illusion and the feeling that there are great moments waiting for us. This implies certain doses of stress, but normally it is a healthy state, present in its right measure to keep us in suspense, awaiting how the relationship will develop.
Moreover, learning little by little about what the person we feel love is like is also exciting, especially since through their point of view we also learn things about ourselves (which, moreover, are usually positive, given the “optimistic” and idealizing biases typical of those who have recently fallen in love).
The emotional comfort zone
Now, although at the beginning of the relationship everything is discovery, little by little the couple’s relationship is settling into habits and routines that give it stability.
This not only has the effect of making the relationship stronger and providing a space in which to maintain it on a daily basis (for example, through rituals such as always having breakfast and dinner together); it also has an indirect but determining effect on our ways of feeling and thinking. Specifically, it creates a kind of comfort zone related to everything that has to do with that relationship.
Thus, the price of making the love relationship stabilize and have material means to prosper (through shared habits and common material resources) is to see how those exciting situations disappear and, with them, a part of the satisfaction felt by the engagement or marriage .
The cause of this is usually varied, but it is believed to have to do with two basic factors: the simple passage of time and the repetition of habits and “mental routes” from which one thinks of the couple and the role one plays in them. In this last element we can intervene, to make us see the first one from another perspective.
From falling in love to routine
It should be borne in mind that relationships are fundamentally the union of three elements: memories, and styles of interaction between two people , that is, habits lived in common. When we consciously or unconsciously evaluate our relationships, we do so on the basis of the memories we have of them (both the oldest and the most recent, from the same day) and in them the common habits play a very important role, as they provide the backbone of this narrative.
As time goes by, the simple probability makes several unpleasant, anxiety generating or simply uncomfortable experiences appear that we will live with the other person.
Moreover, many of them are not necessarily the fault of our partner, but are part of phenomena external to it: a domestic problem with the household facilities, a family crisis with the parents, etc. However, even if no member of the couple is responsible for these situations, those memories will remain there and will irremediably affect the way we perceive the relationship.
Problems sleeping in a double bed, a bad relationship with a father-in-law, the need to manage household expenses… are elements that are part of everyday life but that, although we do not realize it, we associate with memories labeled as “love and love life as a couple”, in genera l. Those memories a will not only consist of weekend outings to get to know each other better, nor of romantic walks along the quay: they will also include the tasks of cleaning the bathroom, the stress crises the other person has experienced due to having a lot of work, etc. Everyday life destroys any fairy tale.
Getting love back into a couple as it was in the beginning
Several researchers have proposed the idea that, since our memories and our unconscious learning of what life as a couple really is affect the way we experience love, one way to invigorate love is to reinforce the presence of positive memories that we can associate with that love relationship.
As our memory is very malleable, we can make those pleasant experiences more and more important simply by evoking those memories and, of course, doing our part to make those specific memories abundant and emotionally charged; that means we must move and enrich our lives as a couple. In this way, when we think of the relationship as a couple, in the end our attention will go only to those exciting moments that really capture the reason for the engagement or marriage.