You know those old pair of slacks you like to slip into when you can’t be bothered to make an effort? As comfortable as they may feel, over time they become worn and tattered and you may not even realize. The same can happen with loved ones too; while the deep feeling of enduring companionship with someone you have come to know on so many levels creates a strong bond, we can become so used to our significant other over the years that the fabric of our relationship unravels and comes open at the seams.
Signs your relationship has gone stale
Just as a stitch in time saves nine, is it time you looked for areas of your relationship that you need to patch up to keep your love alive before it becomes too neglected to hold together any longer. If something is amiss or you simply don’t feel as happy as you would like to with your partner, then perhaps it is time for a closer inspection for wear and tear. These are some signs that your relationship has gone stale:
- Niggling and fault-finding: When life is good it is easier to let the inevitable flaws and setbacks go, but if you feel discontent then faults are magnified and change from mild irritants to irascible outbursts.
- Avoiding intimacy and/or lacking libido: While sexual intimacy is by no means the be-all end-all of a relationship, lack of it can be a sign that passion and attraction is waning and needs to be addressed.
- Leading separate lives: If you are not giving much to your relationship and perhaps equally not getting anything back, this can easily lead to two people cohabitating but living completely separate lives.
- Looking outside of your relationship for love, comfort and companionship: A stale relationship can lead to deceitful behavior such as looking elsewhere for the loving intimacy your relationship lacks. The fallout can not only rock a relationship but destroy it.
- Lack of time and effort put into your relationship: Relationships do not need to be hard work, but they do need positive proactive input over the years. Not dealing with issues can lead to resentment and bitterness.
- Feelings of boredom and even contempt: Stale relationships leave couples in a rut and the ensuing boredom of this can create deeply ingrained negative feelings about your partner and your relationship.
- Not feeling ‘in love’: Romantic love and passion does change over the years, but that does not mean that a relationship without that loving feeling is all you can expect.
- Lack of interest: Do you feel a broad sense of complacency when you think about your partner? This is a sure sign that your relationship has gone stale.
- Feeling a disconnect: Over time you get to know every nuance of your partner, but there is also the danger that you may grow apart and understand and relate to them less, leading to feelings of isolation.
- Considering separation: When you think about the future of your relationship what do you see? If your thoughts are filled with dreams about a single life or anxiety about a split, then you need to address what is happening in your relationship right now.
7 ways to refresh and revitalize your relationship
- Romance: You do not need to be a traditional romantic to create a sense of passion in your relationship. Think about all the subtle ways in which you can show you care about, cherish and love somebody. You could buy them a book by their favorite author, take them out for the day to somewhere they have always wanted to go, or go on a stroll in a beautiful location. Romance is sometimes about selfless actions.
- Passion: Inject some passion into your love life by first connecting with yourself as a sensual being by believing you are an attractive person worthy of love. Pamper yourself with an exotically scented bath and share it with your partner; enjoy the touch of an essential oil massage and embrace your sexual feelings. Why not change your hairstyle or your wardrobe and surprise your partner with a new look?
- Communication: If you constantly look for distractions that mean you do not have to spend time talking with your partner, such as nights spent on the sofa watching the television, then you might want to focus on communicating more. Sit down to meals together or set aside time when you can just be together without phones, computers or any demands. The more you communicate the more easily you can iron out any relationship wrinkles and also feel more connected.
- Sharing: You might share your lives but do you really share your thoughts, feelings and experiences? Make time for date nights, plan day trips, or take a vacation together. There is evidence that couples who are active together are more likely to stay together, and what’s great about this is that you have more to talk about too.
- Individuality: Spending every waking moment with your partner is not the key to keeping a relationship fresh; it is about quality time rather than quantity. It is also vital to keep a strong sense of identity so that you can bring this individuality into your union. Keep up hobbies and your own circle of friends. Allow yourself to grow as a person in your own right, not just part of a twosome where you can lose yourself and ultimately each other in the process.
- Interest: Do not believe that you know all there is to know about someone else. You do not know all their ideas, opinions and interests, and neither do they know yours. Often, relationships falter when you treat friends or even strangers with more interest than the person with which you are sharing your life. Ask questions and discuss thoughts; your partner changes over time just like you do, so keep up-to-date.
- Reciprocation: If you want to be loved and appreciated then be the first to show your love and appreciation for your partner. If you have a strong bond then what you put out there into your relationship will be more likely to be reflected back.
Counseling can also help you fix a relationship that is at risk of being torn apart. What is most important in keeping your love alive is not to neglect yourself or your partner, and to respect your bond enough to want to protect it now and in the future.