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Relight the fire: how to fall back in love with your partner

Love Progression

As the initial stage of love fades away, a deeper, richer sense of each other should take its place, and couples can find more ways to make things interesting and fun.

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Relight the fire: how to fall back in love with your partner

Relight the fire: how to fall back in love with your partner

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/feb/04/relight-the-fire-how-to-fall-back-in-love-with-your-partner

theguardian.com

8

Key Ideas

Rekindling the Fire

Many couples have reached a cozy state of companionship. The humdrumness of life affects the long-term relationship.

It is not uncommon to lose the 'fire' and is unrealistic to expect consistency.

Though love, sex, and intimacy do fluctuate over our lifetimes, there are several possible ways to reconnect with your partner and rekindle the relationship.

Love Progression

As the initial stage of love fades away, a deeper, richer sense of each other should take its place, and couples can find more ways to make things interesting and fun.

Look With New Eyes

Staying curious about each other and finding things, memories, places, and activities that are yet to be shared or experienced together is a great way to rekindle the relationship.
Revisiting your past and finding ways to connect better by looking at the other with 'new' eyes makes us see many things that were overlooked earlier.

Nurture Your Relationship

Our relationships have been sidelined, with excitement and novelty taking a backseat, due to our lives daily struggle.
The forgotten skill of nurturing and prioritizing your relationship is imperative. Example: Daily time together, communicating with each other lovingly and honestly.

Dig a Little Deeper

Conscious uncoupling, where slight rejections and small disagreements drift couples apart is a reality. 

The key to avoiding this is to dig deeper and find out the small details and core issues that turn into a big problem later. Talking about and clearing these issues is crucial for a long and healthy relationship.

Balancing Other Responsibilities

Daily responsibilities and other things that need our attention (like child care, or aging parents) can take their toll on relationships.\

Clear communication and daily check-ins are what's required in this case, as is being clear about your own needs.

Focusing on the Outcome

Before saying something that may hurt your partner, like a 'hard talk' session, it is a good idea to start in a kinder note, putting your intended talk in the right context, focusing on the positive outcome, and not on the problem itself.

Starting these conversations at the earliest is the best way to go, as the inertia can build up to include further resentments and negative feelings. If couples are not communicating when the problems arise, these issues can manifest in other ways, like disinterest or an affair.

A Gratitude List

Remembering all the good things about your partner with a 'gratitude list' is a great way to keep things in perspective, as there are moments in a long-term relationship when you will perceive your partner as unhealed, needy or unattractive.

If you are not taking care, are neglecting or rejecting yourself, this can make their partner also reject you eventually. Speaking to your partner with respect and love puts them up back on the correction course.

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The Benefits Of Sex

Schedule it if necessary. Having sex regularly helps with keeping a relationship from going stale and drives up the testosterone system, which makes you want to have more sex.

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Avoiding Routine

Trying new things will keep the relationship from coasting into routine. this drives up the dopamine system and can sustain feelings of romantic love.

This doesn’t have to be a major change, like taking a trip around the world or deciding to have a baby. Little things, like trying a new recipe together, or going for a walk around the block instead of staying in for a movie, can provide the novelty your brain craves.

The Benefits Of Touch

Touch is proven to foster connection, it drives up the oxytocin system and can give you feelings of deep attachment to your partner. 

Happily Ever After

If you believe in that myth, you’re not going to take the responsibility required to create a great relationship.

You have to be ready and willing to work for your relationship. It doesn’t j...

Beliefs About Change

People can change if they want to.

Remember that change can be scary, so it's important to be loving and supportive of your partner.

Who's More Prone To Cheat

Not all men are cheaters, and believing so can make you less trusting and more paranoid of your partner.

If you want a solid bond, you have to trust your significant other and communicate if you have concerns about his fidelity.

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Responding To Urgency

Stay-in-love couples are authentic, open, and self-reliant, but they also urgently need one another at times. They trust each other won’t take advantage of their availability but know&n...

Dealing Constructively With Control

Stay-in-love partners know that the need to feel in control at times is natural and that it offers an opportunity for learning and helping each other. Partners have confidence in their own autonomy to not react defensively or take it personally. 

Parenting Each Other

As relationships mature, many begin to feel less willing to give that kind of unconditional nurturing, and might not be as available. 

Stay-in-love couples understand the importance of not letting those special “sweet spots” die. They know that their partner sometimes needs to feel that guaranteed comfort and safety, and are more than willing to act as the good parent when asked. 

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Solutions To Basic Communication Mistakes
  • Criticism: complain without blame.
  • Content: regularly express appreciation, gratitude, affection, and respect for your partner.
  • Defensiveness: accept respo...
Couples Who Stayed Together
  • When disconnected, they ache for reconciliation. 
  • avoid blaming each other in arguments or disputes, 
  • try to meet one another’s needs 
  • parent each other a little
  • understand that the future and relationships are uncertain.
Potential External Threats

Be proactive about warding off threats to your relationship. Avoid lots of time apart, or unwise behavior such as hanging out with people you used to be on/off with.

You can’t guarantee fidelity, but you can do your best to make the relationship the container that you each value so highly, that going elsewhere isn’t desirable.

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Causing unintentional harm

We all cause harm to our partner and the intimacy between us. We make mistakes that are foolish and unintentional and sometimes launch attacks on purpose.

When you wound another, apologi...

How to give an apology

A good apology takes two people: the giver and the receiver. An apology that heals is based on kindness, generosity, and compassion. 

The recipient accepts it with grace and, in turn, offers forgiveness. Without forgiveness, it cannot heal.

The mindful apology in practice
  • Repair: An apology that rebuilds intimacy should have three parts: you need to own the mistake, and then you need to repair the damage. Lastly, you need to vow to improve.
  • Forgive:  If you have been hurt, you may never completely forget, but you can choose to forgive. To decide to forgive means that you don't relive something that belongs to the past.
  • Begin again: Unfinished business will accumulate. Let go of the small and the large wounds, so they don't pile up. 
Relationship Apocalypse

The Four Horsemen of The Relationship Apocalypse:

  • Criticism: is staging the problem in a relationship as a character flaw in a partner.
  • Defensiveness: res...
Building "Love Maps"

It means getting to know your partner really well, including his/her internal psychological world.

Ask questions, deep and personal ones. Get past“When will you be there?” or “Don’t forget to pick up milk.”

Show Admiration

Admiration is about the story you tell yourself about your partner.

Masters see their partners as better than they really are. Disasters see their partners as worse than they really are.

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Go to bed at the same time

Happy couples resist the temptation to go to bed at different times. 

They go to bed at the same time, even if one partner wakes up later to do things while their partner sleeps.

Cultivate common interests

Don’t minimize the importance of activities you can do together that you both enjoy. If common interests are not present, happy couples develop them. 

At the same time, be sure to cultivate interests of your own; this will make you more interesting to your mate and prevents you from appearing too dependent.

Trust and forgiveness

If and when they have a disagreement or argument, and if they can’t resolve it, happy couples default to trusting and forgiving rather than distrusting and begrudging.

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The Negativity Bias
The Negativity Bias
... or the Negativity Effect is a tendency most of us have to respond more strongly to negative events and emotions than to positive ones.
Any further action that is ...
Magnified Faults

The Negativity Effect magnifies and distorts your partner's faults, whether real or imaginary.

The partner starts to wonder why isn't there any appreciation for all the good that is being done, and why the focus is only on the one bad thing.

Going Downhill

Relationships, especially long-term ones, don't get better with time but are kept intact by avoiding decline.

Married couples find contentment in other sources and remain satisfied with each other, and if not so, then the marriage breaks down.

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Appreciation Rather Than Judgment

Instead of focusing on what you don't like and trying to change your partner with judgment, appreciate what is wonderful about him/her. This doesn't mean avoiding problems, as it is vit...

Don't Shy Away From Conflict

Much can be learned from how you each deal with conflict, and avoiding it keeps you from that knowledge. 

An inability to resolve conflict is a major reason why in-love feelings fade away.

Ask In-Depth Questions

Ask the important questions -- about values, money, children, religion/spirituality, past relationships.

If you are afraid to be forthright in your questions, then the fear itself is letting you know that your fear of rejection may be in charge -- which means you have more inner work to do.

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Poor communication
Poor communication

The lack of communication is one of the main reasons for break-ups, divorces and for seeking couple therapy, according to studies.
Poor communication is also related to conflict-based con...

Fear and resentment

When having important discussions with our partners, we face the fear that they are not really hearing us.
This could lead us to develop a form of resentment because we may not feel validated by them. We might also misinterpret their body language and words and feel hurt and disrespected by them.

The antidote to fear

Fear is the enemy of healthy communication. The antidote would thus be developing safety.
When we feel safe, we can talk about anything in healthy ways. You should also make sure you help your partner feel safe when talking to you.

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