Relationships and the Not-so-Great Feelings
You may have heard references to the “honeymoon stage” before. If not, the honeymoon stage refers to the beginning of a relationship when you’re crazy in love and everything is magical, new, and exciting. The tough reality is the honeymoon phase can’t last forever. At some point, you and your partner will meet up with real life, and sometimes it isn’t so fun. It’s important to talk about relationships and the not-so-great feelings that often arise in order to normalize the fact that relationships aren’t always smooth sailing. If you have some not-so-great feelings regarding your relationship, it does not mean the relationship is doomed. You must, however, work to develop healthy ways to deal with lulls in your relationships if you want them to last. Furthermore, we will discuss how to know if it’s time for you to reach out to a therapist for guidance on relationship repair.
Common Negative Feelings
Relationships change and shift as they grow throughout time. This fact is inevitable. Society tends to over-idealize committed relationships, and too much searching on the internet may convince you, if there are any issues in your relationship, it just wasn’t built to last. The truth is we all have issues! Relationships can be hard and take a lot of effort and work to maintain.
We are here to tell you it is likely you will not always like your partner. As two individuals, you will have disagreements and despite your best efforts to work through your conflicts with open communication, they may not always get resolved. Moreover, you may even hurt each other’s feelings. We are not always the most gracious with our actions and words. We make mistakes. Our feelings get hurt. We are all only human! Don’t give you and your partner unrealistic expectations to be perfect, agreeable and happy all the time. It just won’t happen.
In line with not always liking your partner, you may not always feel attracted to your partner. Again, this is normal. Your sex life and attraction towards each other will have peaks and valleys. There are a lot of reasons why a dry spell could happen – mismatched libidos, stress, health problems, age, etc. – it’s almost inevitable for every long-term couple to go through at least one. It is not the end of the world, and rest assured, there are ways to pull yourself out of a sex rut.
It is common to feel bored in a long-term relationship. Things can get stale when you are spending days on end with the same person. This may lead you to wonder if there is something / someone better for you out there. Of course, it is human nature to question things in life. No matter who you are with, there are bound to be aspects that you doubt. No one will leave you feeling 100% doubt-free.
There are countless other normal struggles and emotions you may face in a relationship, but that doesn’t mean these things can be ignored. Let’s dive into how you can work through the not-so-good feelings and keep your relationship thriving.
Healthy Coping Skills
As long as your relationship is built on love and a will to make it work, you should be able to make it through any rough patches you may face. First, try to look inside yourself and acknowledge what about the relationship feels off or what exactly is making you feel not-so-good. Then, have a civil conversation about your feelings with your partner. Work to keep the conversation calm and informative. You do not want your partner to feel like you are attacking them by getting heated or defensive. Express that you are having this conversation because you care about the other person and really want to make it work.
Additionally, actively listen to what your partner has to say in response. It can be easy to get caught up in wanting to spew everything you are thinking, having a path for the conversation to follow already planned out in your head. Unfortunately, you cannot accurately predict how your partner feels or will respond. Instead, take a deep breath and allow your partner to share their point of view as well. Even if you don’t agree with what they are saying, at least try to understand where they are coming from and why they may disagree with you.
If you feel like your relationship has lost a bit of its spark, make the effort to reignite the passion. Wear a sexy outfit around the house, watch a sensual movie together, play a sexy game, whatever sounds fun and exciting to you – give it a try! Again, it helps to open your concerns about intimacy up for discussion. This can be scary, but you will never be on the same page if you both continue to dance around the issue. Start by discussing your preferred love languages, learn about what makes each of you feel appreciated and loved and then apply it in real life. Moreover, show gratitude for the things you like about your partner and your relationship. Focusing on what is missing for too long can warp your own view of your relationship and ultimately ruin it.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for advice and help. Whether it’s a family member / friend you trust, or a certified therapist, it can be really helpful to talk to a third-party who can see beyond the boundaries of your relationship.
If you feel nervous about starting those tough conversations with your partner, having professional guidance from a therapist may help. Therapy can equip you and your partner with the communication skills you need to overcome current and future challenges. Having an unrelated third party guide your difficult conversations can keep tensions lower and help pinpoint the true underlying issues that need to be addressed. Chriselda Santos, licensed psychotherapist, specializes in helping couples and individuals repair their relationships and develop relationship management skills to foster healthy, lifelong connections. She understands the pressures of everyday life and how they may negatively impact our relationships, but remains optimistic in your strengths and capabilities to work through relationship hardships. For more information on the services Chriselda provides, visit her website.