Let’s face it and be truthful. As time goes on you lose your interest in your partner and your relationship. In the beginning you could not get enough of one another. You’d have sex several times a day almost every time you got together. Maybe this phase lasted for quite awhile. You’d talk for hours, hanging on every word each of you said. Even men, who generally don’t like to talk as often as women, or talk as long or as deeply and intimately, were happy to do this. You’d laugh at one another’s jokes and have a grand time. Peculiarities were adored and found to be cute. You’d hold hands walking and snuggle on the couch and at the movies. In the beginning it felt like you were intoxicated and maybe even on some sort of drug. Do you remember those days? It’s nice isn’t it, to go down memory lane and remember the passion and excitement, the hope and promise, the anticipation and longing. Or maybe it’s painful with the recognition of how much things have fizzled out.
So what changed?
We can call the above phase the honeymoon phase. And then reality sets in as it typically does. Gradually the frequency of sex diminishes along with the excitement. It begins to feel mechanical and boring. You wonder where the excitement went. Talking also diminishes especially for the men. Women will often feel unheard and uninterested in. Men will often feel bored and disinterested and will want to go off with their buddies or to their ‘man cave’. What were once funny and witty jokes become irritating and annoying along with those endearing and cute peculiarities. You’ll wonder how did I ever like that and who is this person? The holding hands and snuggling begins to feel uncomfortable and unwanted. Instead of feeling intoxicated you feel like you have a hangover.
Is this normal?
Simply stated, yes it is. You go from a peak experience to a mundane tedious experience. You are not alone. It really seems like it happens with the large majority of people.
Why does it happen?
-Newness and the excitement wear off similar to having a new car, house, job, outfit, or 50 inch flat screen television with surround sound.
-Getting back into your usual routines.
-Having job stress of deadlines, meetings and quotas.
-Commuting and getting caught in traffic or driving in winter conditions.
-Handling the household chores of shopping, cooking, cleaning, de-cluttering and paying bills.
-Having parenting responsibilities.
-Attending to self-care with exercise, meditating, doctor’s appointments etc.
-Feeling tired or exhausted which results in emotional, physical and sexual distance.
-Having ‘issues’ that get played out in the relationship like fear of intimacy, excessive anger or anxiety, different types of compulsive behavior, mistrust, wounds from the past and passive aggressive behavior.
-Blaming one another for your issues and/or your feelings.
-Communicating poorly inclusive of interrupting, not listening, misinterpreting what is being said, inattentiveness and not communicating often enough.
-Having differences of opinions and ongoing conflict due to lack of compromise and resolution.
Maintain hope. Here’s what to do.
- Communicate regularly. Talk openly, directly and honestly. Make sure that you use “I statements”. Keep the focus on yourself; accept responsibility for your part. Avoid “you statements” which are typically blaming.
- Get clear about what you want emotionally, physically and sexually and express these.
- Know that issues are normal. Make sure you address them.
- See your relationship as a means to work things out and to heal and to grow.
- Have fun.
- Enjoy nature.
- Read or watch funny things or go to a comedy club.
- Go out for dinner out and to a movie, concert or play.
- Have some candlelight dinners at home.
- Exercise together by walking, hiking, jogging or going to the gym.
- Schedule a couple’s massage.
- Give one another a foot rub or massage.
- Attend church, synagogue or meditation programs together.
- Go to self growth workshops.
- Express appreciation for one another regularly, not just on Valentine’s Day, birthdays or anniversaries.
- Focus on what is working (while also addressing your challenges).
- Try new things.
- Talk about sexual wants, needs and fantasies. To bring back some excitement and passion to your sex life you might find value reading Daily Sex by Jane Seddon and The Pocket Kama Sutra by Nicole Bailey.
Know with absolute certainty that ups and downs and various challenges are common in a relationship and that there are, as noted above, many reasons for this. If you incorporate the above suggestions you will be able to skillfully handle these and have harmony, and sizzle, in your relationship.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
More by Jeff Schneider