How many times have you put on a show for someone you just started seeing? You project the image of your best self to this person of interest, you are fun, spontaneous, and alive with passion, but somehow you look in the mirror a few months later and you don’t like what you see, and maybe you don’t like what your partner looks like either. What happened, where did the love and passion go?
Complacency is the silent killer of passion and love; it creeps in slowly, minute by minute, hour by hour, and often eventually chokes the life out of your relationships. When you first meet someone new, you feel the need to be your best, to impress the person, and try to make them happy. You view the new person as someone who adds value, meaning, and pleasure to your life; you often value the person because they are a non-guaranteed commodity: in the beginning part of what causes you to value the person is fact that they are new to you, your future is uncertain, and so you cherish each moment. The uncertainty of things, the fact that you know this person could choose to leave at any moment, all bring out the life and vitality in both of you. Over time, as we grow accustomed to this person, we begin to take their presence in our life for granted and we often start to resent some of the same things we loved about this person in the beginning.
Some scientists believe that love is actually a form of mental illness; we have seen brain scans that show love producing the same brain activity patterns as drug addictions. The difference with love is that love can actually grow overtime, in opposition to a “high” that weakens with each use in drug users. We naturally grow accustomed to things over time and the effects will diminish, but in love, we get to choose how we feel by guiding our thoughts.
We have the power to turn infatuation and passionate love into a long lasting relationship full of life. The beginning of any relationship is usually full of energy, life, passion, and lust, and as these feeling begin to fade its easy to begin to resent our partner and gradually grow complacent. This person used to make you feel better than anything else in the world and suddenly you only feel anger and sadness when you see them… How do we get back what we lost? It takes a focus on appreciation, tender care, infatuation, attraction, and the ability to grow with our partner as they grow.
I believe that the responsibility of love lies within yourself. After all, your partner doesn’t actually feel the love you feel for them, they can only see the evidence of your love for them through your actions. You get to choose how you look at a person, how much you focus on their flaws, how you react when they inevitably hurt you from time to time; you get to make the decision of how you will react to everything they say and do.
Try this, think of a past relationship with someone who you had deep personal connection and commitment with. First remember all of the good times you shared: when you first met, your first kiss, some great highlights of your relationship. Next, think of the worst times: the things they did that frustrated you, what they did that drove you crazy, hurtful words they said to you. In the first memories you probably felt warm and fuzzy happy to have met them at all; in the second, you probably despised them and were reminded why you didn’t work out.
Every relationship you find yourself in, you have a choice, you have a responsibility to claim. Will you focus on your partner’s strengths and the reasons that you fell for them in the first place, or will you take them for granted and focus on issues that drive a wedge between the two of you? The differences that attracted you to your partner will often be the same differences that drive you apart if you take for granted how special they really are to you.
Your emotions are the results of your thoughts: focus on the bad and you will feel bad, focus on the good and you will feel good. There is a definitive right and wrong for everyone, and if someone is really wrong for you then you have to make that decision on your own, but ask yourself why you fell for this person, what do you love about them, what about them set you free when you first met? If you love this person and want to keep that love alive, you have to make the choice to remind yourself daily why you love this person, appreciate those things everyday, and live your life as if today could be the last day you ever see this person again. If you imagine your life without this person, it might be easier to look past the small issues that we often allow to drive us apart.
Love is something within you, its a chemical release, its memories and the emotions they illicit. Love is accepting; love is patient; love is kindness and caring. You are in control of your life; you are in the driver’s seat, and you get to choose your reality. If this is a person that you love, a person that loves and cares for you in return, a person that you once did or still feel passionate for, then perhaps its best to start focusing on who they really are, why you love them, and how life would be without them. If you think life would truly better without them then walk away, but if you will stay, then start loving them again, not because you should, but because you love them and they deserve the best of you
If you feel distance starting to work its way into your relationship then be the bigger person and practice loving your partner unconditionally like you want to be loved, start accepting and appreciating them for who they are, start holding them like this could be the last time you ever hold them. Allowing ourselves to love someone might be the hardest thing that we can ever do, but if the passion is there its up to you to keep it alive. If you really give your best, if you really practice making yourself open to communication, try not to judge, and treat this person as a precious gift in your life, you’ll be surprised how they might treat you in return. In a cycle of complacency and resentment it take one person to break the cycle and start loving again. Just one person having the courage to stand up against hatred, anger, and resentment can change everything.