By Lucy O’Brien
You know when you’re in a good relationship; it feels warm and cosy like an old slipper. You feel a sense of belonging and closeness. You can depend on him everything feels good. If this feeling is slipping away from your relationship, perhaps it’s time for some relationship repair. Read on to find out why relationships go cold and how you can make it warm and cozy again.
When you first meet, it’s easy to be nice to each other. You are happy in his company and it seems easy to meet each other’s needs. However, in many relationships, somewhere along the way, the warmth and cosiness fades away and eventually what is left are 2 people feeling lonely and isolated. The honeymoon period is definitely over and deterioration is setting in. Often the point at which it started to go wrong went unnoticed. You just both woke up one day to find that you weren’t even quite sure that you liked each other anymore.
There are various factors that can strangle the love in our relationships. It is said that relationship experts can quickly tell which relationships are doomed by the way that couples treat each other in the early stages. By far the biggest killers are anger, resentment and contempt. If you regularly have these types of feelings towards your partner then your relationship may be doomed in the long-term, even if you think it is OK now.
So why do we exhibit these traits in relationships? Well, often when we first meet, our partner seems perfect but as we move past this phase, we become acutely aware of all his imperfections. This disappointment can be unexpected and hard to bear. Often the things that were endearing to us in the beginning turn out to be the things that irritate us so much when we get to know him properly.
Many of our responses are to do with how we expect our man to behave in the relationship and these expectations and reactions are often learned from our parents. When we were growing up we saw how our parents handled their relationships and now we carry the behaviours and patterns that we learned into our relationships.
Resentment starts to accumulate in relationships when our man does not act according to our expectations and therefore we feel that we are not getting our needs met. Often we are simply expecting too much and we can’t expect him to meet our needs when we don’t know how to communicate them effectively.
If we have learned to exhibit anger as a response, then we may have become a naturally angry person. If we learned to repress this anger, we may accumulate resentment but are not able to express how we feel. Resentment is often hidden but may be displayed openly or subtly in the form of contemptuous gestures such as eyebrow rolling, ignoring or criticising. It is inevitable that we will continue these behaviours in our closest relationship, even though this may not be appropriate.
When we exhibit anger and contempt, our partner becomes defensive and pulls away. He usually does not know how to communicate his needs or what he is feeling. This builds barriers in relationships and leads to mistrust and isolation. A partner who feels hurt often feels justified in hurting the other and so a negative cycle of destruction begins.
So, what can we do in relationships to stop communication break down and our relationship needing repair? Well, firstly keep in mind that a relationship takes work to foster good habits and communication. If you ignore it, the good times will start to drift away. Accept that your partner isn’t perfect and stop expecting so much. Use appreciation, affection and respect instead of anger and contempt to keep it warm and cosy. And finally, learn good communication skills so that both partners get their needs met. If you want a good relationship, don’t leave it up to your man. Take responsibility for creating the strong, loving relationship that you want today.