There can be many reasons why a once warm and loving relationship turns cool and distant. But as Nathaniel Branden states, “Sometimes couples fight; sometimes they feel alienated. Sometimes our partner may do something that hurts or exasperates us. Sometimes we—or our partner—want passionately to be alone for a while. None of this is unusual or abnormal. None of it is inherently a threat to romantic love.”
Normally, I write all from personal experience, but this time what I did was look through my books and see what the experts would say about getting a relationship moving again. Here’s what I found.
Becoming skilled in how to express your wants and needs is essential for breaking down barriers and letting go of any existing power struggles. According to Harville Hendrix, Ph.d. in his book Getting The Love You Want “An important part of the therapeutic process is teaching couples to communicate their feelings directly.” Mutual self-disclosure and the art of communication are keys to keeping intimacy in tact.
To see and be seen, to appreciate and be appreciated, and to listen and understand your partner is vital for its nourishment. “… Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow …” Brené Brown, Ph.D says in her book, “Daring Greatly”. “It’s not the lack of professing that gets us in trouble in our relationships; it’s failing to practice love that leads to hurt.” By nurturing the relationship you create a space where your partner can flourish.
Maintaining your identity helps bring joy, excitement, passion, and delight into the relationship. It is important to be aware of your own wants and needs and not sacrifice them for your partner. “If too often I ignore or sacrifice my own needs and wants in order to please or satisfy you, I commit a crime against both of us: against myself, because of the treason I commit to my own values—and to you, because in allowing you to be the collector of my sacrificial offerings, I am allowing you to become someone I will resent.” Branden wrote in The Psychology of Romantic Love.
A healthy self-esteem creates more room for feeling and giving love. It’s the idea that we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. “If we do not love ourselves,” Branden says, “it is almost impossible to believe fully that we are loved by someone else.” It is only after we love ourselves that we can love another, and also accept love in return.
If you have any thoughts or experiences you want to share on the above post them below!by
The Myths of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky is another great resource for learning how to deal with a less-than-satisfying relationship. She takes on other topics, too: work, single life, and aging, among others. The whole premise is that we think certain things will make us happy in life, and when they don’t, we’re dissatisfied and might even think we’re failures. Fortunately, Lyubomirsky debunks the myths and shows us how to change our perspectives so that we can have as happy a life as possible. I highly recommend it!
Thanks so much for the recommendation. I highlighted Sonja’s book when I read about it in the Times, but had forgotten about it.