Every morning I make my wife coffee and take it to her in bed. I am an early riser and when she wakes up, I take it to her, she appreciates it and I like doing it. It is one of the rituals we have in our relationship that have just developed as time has gone on. There are others too which go to making up the “routine” that we live by. These small things, done well, are very important in building a basis for a sustainable relationship and need to be nurtured. They generally develop as time goes on and the relationship becomes established and the couple start to feel more comfortable with each other. However, there is a fine line between rituals, being taken for granted and the relationship becoming stale.
One thing is for certain, the new year will bring change to a lot of people, some more than others. Some people who are together now won’t be by the end of the year, for whatever reason. Some of these couples will have simply “fallen out” of love with each other and will move on. Others will stay even though they should leave and some will leave while staying, checking out emotionally. But how do you know when you have reached that point when the person you are with is no longer the person you should be with? In some cases, it is obvious. If you are being abused, you should leave immediately. Many people would put infidelity under the “dealbreaker” heading too (though some even stay when both abuse and infidelity is present). What happens though when everything seems fine but that “spark” is no longer there?
Many of us cling to the early phases of a relationship where everything is “rosy”. There is ample attention, emotionally and physically and no flaws can be found (or seen but ignored). This phase, often known as the “honeymoon phase”, once over is difficult to replicate. The relationship and the couple change as they settle into the everyday, warts and all. This is a crucial phase because for the first time, you meet the “real” person. This is why many relationships do not make it past this phase and that is ok. We are not compatible with everyone we might meet. It does not need to be negative as long as the couple are willing to accept this and work on aspects of the relationship that divide them. Sometimes, couples get through this and much later the routine they have can suddenly seem boring, they start minor conflicts over small things which escalate and resentment builds. This is when the question often comes up ” Should I stay or go?” and maybe the grass might be greener elsewhere. I once read an article that stated that you should leave when your needs are not being met and due to resentment, you do not feel the inclination to meet the other’s needs. Others will say that if you are putting more into the relationship than you are getting, time to go. Sounds simple but sound advice.
What we often overlook and fail to realise is that we neglect the work needed to keep the relationship alive and exciting. We take our partner for granted and expect them to always be there. We get lazy because we feel we have reached a point where effort is no longer needed. We do this because it is easy than the alternative. So unless you are past the point of no return, what you are feeling about your relationship should be a call for action to improve things, not a sign that it is over. Trying to put the spark back into your relationship is the first thing to try. There is a lot of advice on the internet regarding this but most look at putting more focus on the relationship, date-nights, more flirting and sex and being more adventurous. I found the following link which I think sums this up well.
Consider professional help in this process. Many couples who come into therapy come in too late or when in crisis, past the point of no return. A few sessions before this could put even the most “stuck” couple on a new path.