We are shown from childhood, through movies and books, once we’re in a romantic relationship, it’s all rainbows and puppy dogs forever. The honeymoon phase of any relationship is played up by Hollywood and society at large. It makes sense, why would people want to see the ugly truth, the dirty underside? Maybe, because that’s what is real and it’s better to be prepared for what can happen, rather than walk around with rose colored glasses. The honeymoon phase isn’t meant to last. Every relationship, romantic or not, goes through cycles. Regardless of which cycle you’re in, it is possible to maintain passion, desire, and chemistry through it all.
Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t time that ruins chemistry. It’s getting comfortable, so to speak. We stop doing the little things that made our partners feel connected to us. However, even if it feels like the chemistry is dead and gone, it is possible to get it back. Each partner must be willing and able to communicate and be honest with themselves and their partner in order to make it happen.
Some relationships wither and die because we allow our wounds to run the show. We allow things to fester, we keep score, and we begin to withhold ourselves from our partner. Living like this builds resentment and emptiness. It’s true that not all relationships are meant to carry on beyond this, but if you and your partner are willing to make changes, you can.
The Top 3 Relationship Killers
When you withhold your truth from your partner, resentment builds. And it kills any chemistry you have. When we begin holding back, whether due to hurt feelings, the need to keep the peace, or avoiding conflict, we tend to start keeping score. When we keep score we build walls. It’s hard to feel attraction towards someone when there’s so much junk in the way.
When we hold back any part of ourselves, we divert energy away from our relationship. This can look like holding back our fears, things we’re afraid to reveal about ourselves, and even our anger. There are healthy ways to be honest that don’t involve being hurtful. We have to give to thrive.
This one is the hardest for me, personally. I’m a giver and a people pleaser, so I find myself giving everything to a partner and forgetting about myself. If you’re in a rough spot relationship wise, you can find yourself trying to fix everything. Being honest, it’s a distraction from working on ourselves and realizing what part we play. We convince ourselves we’re being a good partner, selfless even. But the reality is, it has the opposite effect.
How Do We Fix Things?
Communication, open and vulnerable, is the best place to start. You have to be honest with yourself, then your partner, about how you’re feeling. Are there things in the past that keep coming up, only to never feel resolved? Clean them out. My husband and I have been talking about this a lot recently and have decided that once he’s home, we’re each going to write down past hurts, resentments, issues, and read them out loud. We’ll discuss them calmly, then let them go, burning each piece of paper in effigy. We can’t change the past, all we can do is work through it and leave it where it belongs.
It’s hard to move into the future when you’re bound in the chains of the past.
Even if it’s against your nature, be honest when something bothers you. It helps no one to hold back and allow things to fester. You have the right to your feelings and they work out much better when they’re expressed rather than repressed. This isn’t an invitation to play the blame game by any means. You can express how you feel without intentionally making your partner feel bad.
Take responsibility for asking for what you want and need. No one is a mind reader. At this point, you also have to be open to receiving what you’re asking for.
Understand each others need for space. It’s healthy to spend time apart. Take time out each week if possible to do something on your own or with friends.
Remain curious, especially about each other. There’s no way you’ll ever know every little thing about one another, so take the time to learn whenever you can.
Schedule time to communicate openly. You may not need to do this as often as weekly, but it can’t hurt. When we still had our house, my husband and I would take a bath together almost nightly. We used this time to talk about our day, discuss things not meant for little ears, and just be together with no expectations.
Say thank you. Especially for the little things.
Reawakening chemistry takes time and effort, but it’s well worth it. When we are conscious of the things we’re doing in our relationship that causes an issue, we can course correct more easily. For the most part, it’s never too late.