When a spark has disappeared from a couple’s relationship, they may talk about "growing apart.” It's not always easy to pinpoint exactly what has caused feelings of boredom, complacency or restlessness to set in, but it can be fairly easy to improve your relationship simply by being more aware of your behavior and of your individual needs. Growing apart doesn't have to mark the end of your relationship, if you are both willing to invest a little time and effort into coming back together.
Relight the Fire
Couples often lose the "spark" in their relationship when they take one another for granted, and when they stop seeing the unique qualities that attracted them in the first place. In the article, "Why the Spark Fades in a Relationship," in "Psychology Today," clinical psychologist Lisa Firestone recommends that you look at your partner as an independent individual, instead of an extension of yourself, when you want to revive some of the chemistry you felt in the early days.
Stay Separate to Stay Together
No matter how long you have been together, whether it’s been months, years or decades, it is important to maintain some degree of separation. Individual hobbies and different groups of friends help you feel fulfilled beyond the boundaries of your relationship, gives you a chance to miss your partner and look forward to your reunion. Start thinking of yourself as an individual, rather than as one half of a couple.
Get Out of the Comfort Zone
It's normal to get complacent in a long-term relationship and stop making an effort to stay healthy and look good, perhaps by indulging in junk food, drinking too much alcohol or giving up an exercise regimen. This type of behavior can be a way of protecting yourself from being too close to another person, suggests Firestone, because it destroys self-esteem and keeps the partner at a distance. Focus on improving your mental and physical health, to benefit both yourself and your relationship.
Talk, Talk and Talk Some More
If you can't remember the last time you had a meaningful conversation with your boyfriend, now is the time to do it. Discussing work, friends and whose turn it is to take the trash out doesn't count. The more time you spend sharing your emotions, fears and dreams, the easier it will be to strengthen your bond.
Humor can be an effective tool in overcoming relationship problems, provided it is used correctly, say Lawrence Robinson, Jeanne Segal and Melinda Smith in the article, "Fixing Relationship Problems with Humor" for "Help Guide." Sharing a joke with your partner eases instantly tension, relaxes you, lowers your inhibitions and helps you find creative solutions to your problems. Never use humor in a hurtful way, such as by making snide comments to your partner or poking fun at his inability to do something. Create an "inside" joke that only you and your partner understand, to bring you closer together. Embrace your playful side by dressing up in silly clothing or coming downstairs with a crazy hair style.
Seek Expert Advice
A qualified marital therapist or couples counselor may be able to help you deal with issues in your relationship that you don't feel able to do alone. For example, if you have grown apart because of infidelity or mental health issues, professional advice may help you deal with any unresolved issues and practice the skills you need to create a close bond.
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C. Giles is a writer with an MA (Hons) in English literature and a post-graduate diploma in law. Her work has been published in several publications, both online and offline, including "The Herald," "The Big Issue" and "Daily Record."
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