You may have a quality relationship – but miss the spark you remember from earlier times. Maybe stresses associated with work, children, or financial concerns have come between you and your partner. Maybe you’ve settled into a routine. Taking account of issues in the relationship is integral to removing barriers that have grown up between partners over time.
First of all, resolve to look at your part of it. Try an experiment, and own 100% of the problem. A 50/50 split does not work in every case. Someone has to take the lead on being accountable for the way things are.
Built-up resentment is the first main cause of distance in romantic relationships. Ask yourself the following questions if you sense trouble in your relationship.
- Do you have old resentments piled up inside?
- Are you resentful of things that keep happening?
- Do you think your mate is to blame for what happened?
- Do you hear yourself thinking critical thoughts about him or her?
- Are you convinced that your mate is at fault?
- Have you decided that you need to be distant to protect yourself?
If you answered yes to any of the above, respect your feelings. Don’t try to fight them. Just listen in, like you were attending to a friend in need of a receptive ear. See if you can understand how some of your criticism and blame could be related to your own past. Does your partner’s behavior remind you of how other people have failed you? Consider if you are projecting your own issues onto current situations.
Now you can do something about this. Be honest with your partner about your resentments–with no blame or shame. Share your feelings without being adamant that it is his or her fault. Instead of being convinced, be curious about yourself and your partner.
You may have the best conversation you ever had. Avoiding difficult conversations out of fear is the second main cause of distance in romantic relationships. Listen to your fears. If you brought up important issues, are you afraid your mate would get angry? Depressed? Leave you?
Listen to your fears with kindness and love. They are there for a reason. See if you start to make connections about how your fears have to do with your own life. Once you can own your fears as your own, you won’t have to be afraid of what your partner does when you bring up difficult issues. You’ll feel freer and more honest. You’ll be better equipped to stay calm and connected even if he or she gets upset at first.
The third main cause of distance in relationships is that the spark was never there to begin with. But you may be able to find it for the first time. Be honest with yourself: did you choose your mate because he or she was safe? Because you thought you would find security with them? Ask yourself these questions:
- Is this really about me?
- Am I doing anything that is keeping us in a safe, secure rut?
- What am I afraid would happen if I had more excitement in my relationship?
See if you can face your own fears. Maybe there is some experiment you can make to see if you can do something different–like instigating positive change in your routines. You may be surprised at how your mate responds. Unexpected excitement can come from changing the conditions of your expectations.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.