Life moves on, and relationships experience ups and downs, but generally, you might say things between you and your partner are “normal.” Of course, you love your partner—they are so familiar! Yet, admit it, sometimes you long to feel that spark of infatuation again, to bring back the excitement to your marital intimacy, to look at your partner with awe and surprise, and to kiss passionately during a stroll, in the car, or on an escalator.
What is the Psychological Benefit of Reinvigorating Feelings in Relationships?
In reality, reigniting these feelings is not only possible but also highly beneficial for relationships. In situations of conflict or distancing, which unfortunately occur in every couple, memories of these positive moments can prevent irritation, anger, or resentment towards your partner from taking over.
You can use one of the popular techniques of psychotherapists and pretend that you are in love again. Trick your brain, and these imagined experiences can initiate the same processes in your body as real feelings.
Other factors that help revitalize relationships include the sense of novelty and surprise. When we live together for a long time, we tend to think that the person next to us is well-known and predictable. But this is an illusion—people can surprise themselves and others. We all have more to discover in others and ourselves. To do this, we need to feel the boundaries of each person’s individuality.
At the beginning of a relationship, we strive to connect with our partner, turning “I + You” into “Us.” While it’s pleasant to dissolve into shared space, we risk no longer perceiving ourselves and others as separate individuals. As paradoxical as it sounds, it’s necessary to feel this boundary to be together again. Where do they end, and where do you begin?
Fritz Perls, the founder of Gestalt therapy, referred to this as “boundary-contact.” In his opinion, it’s on this stretch where our real meeting with another happens. But, to rejuvenate a relationship, sometimes you must step out of the “We” state and notice your differences. After all, if you’re a single entity, then who do you fall in love with?
How to Refresh Feelings in a Long-Standing Relationship?
- Release from Negativity
Petty grievances, the “aftertaste” of past arguments, and misunderstandings can accumulate over the years and form a wall between you. Our psyche is designed such that by holding onto negative feelings, we prevent positive ones from emerging. Find the right moment, honestly and openly talk about your feelings. The conversation may be challenging, but you’ll feel relief if you hear each other. This should clear space for love and tenderness to manifest.
- The ‘But…’ Practice
Each of us has flaws. We tend to notice these more than virtues; of course, we see them more clearly in our partners than in ourselves. Try for every flaw you notice in your partner for a week to recall at least one virtue immediately. “He scatters socks around the room but prepares us breakfast on Sundays.” “She’s always late but never torments me with jealousy.”
Another way to reduce negativity and “clear space” for love is through gratitude. Expressing thanks for the little things your partner does can significantly impact your emotional well-being and the health of your relationship.
When to Seek Professional Assistance in Relationships?
While these tips are effective, there may be times when professional help is necessary. If you find that the relationship does not improve despite your efforts or if there are deeper issues like trust breaches or communication breakdowns, it might be time to seek a psychologist or a relationship counselor. These professionals can provide tailored advice and strategies based on your situation, ensuring both partners feel heard and understood.
In conclusion, maintaining the spark in a long-term relationship requires effort and understanding. By implementing techniques like releasing negativity, practicing gratitude, and acknowledging each other’s individuality, couples can rediscover the excitement and admiration that brought them together. Remember, the small daily acts and the willingness to understand each other brighten the flame of love.
How Can I Rekindle the Spark in My Long-Term Relationship?
To rekindle the spark in your relationship, focus on rediscovering each other’s individuality. Engage in activities that both of you find novel and exciting. Practice gratitude and appreciation for your partner, and communicate openly about your feelings. Pretend to be in love again; this psychological trick can reignite the same feelings you experienced at the beginning of your relationship.
What Are the Signs That My Relationship Needs a Refresh?
Signs that your relationship may need a refresh include a lack of excitement or passion, feeling like you’re in a routine, diminished communication, or feeling distant from your partner. If you focus more on your partner’s negatives than their positives, it might be time to work on bringing back the spark.
Where Should I Start When Trying to Improve My Relationship?
Begin by addressing any built-up negativity. Open, honest conversations about grievances and misunderstandings can clear away resentment. Practice the ‘But…’ exercise to balance recognizing flaws with appreciating virtues. Initiating small, affectionate gestures can also make a significant difference.
When Is the Right Time to Seek Professional Help for My Relationship?
Seek professional help when your efforts to improve the relationship do not lead to positive changes or encounter complex issues like trust violations or consistent miscommunication. A psychologist or relationship counselor can offer guidance tailored to your specific needs.
How Can I Maintain Individuality While Being in a Committed Relationship?
Maintaining individuality in a committed relationship involves respecting personal boundaries and acknowledging that both partners have separate interests, desires, and social circles. Spend time pursuing personal hobbies and allow your partner to do the same. This creates a healthy space and brings new energy into the relationship.