How to maintain the important relationships in your life

When you first met your partner you were probably head over heels in love with them. You enjoyed each other’s company and when you weren’t together then you were thinking about each other or planning your next meeting.

Everything was intense and thrilling. The thought of your partner was exciting. They affected all of your senses. You loved to see them, touch them, hear their voices, even smell and taste them. All of your responses were in a heightened state and you were happy to have found your soul mate. Actions were spontaneous and unplanned and possibly surprising or daring.

Public displays of affection were part of your daily routine and texts were flirty and sometimes naughty. Holidays are even better being able to dedicate yourselves totally to pleasure and fun together.

Although very enjoyable at the time, this level of intensity of feelings is exhausting and totally unsustainable in the long term. After around two years together your emotions tend to level off to a more normal level and you become comfortable with each other. Over time your relationship mellows into a state of knowing another person intimately, being able to predict behaviours, responses, choices and reactions.

If you move in together then your lives start to take on responsibilities for a home, children, pets, cars, putting out the rubbish. These aspects of life can start to take over and the passion that you had for your partner can get lost in the demands of ‘real-life’. You can lose sight of the core of your relationship under the weight of ‘jobs to be done’. Work can be demanding and sleep becomes a priority. Sometimes you may forget all of the good points that attracted you to your partner and only see their faults. Daily life becomes a list of chores with no reward.

When you have a good friend you will organise a time to see them, choose a venue in which to meet up and look forward to seeing them. You might take part in sport at a regular time each week with a team or group of people. These arrangements show that you value these activities with these people. Within your week you may not make time for your partner, to be with them, to listen to them, to do things with them, to enjoy an intimate relationship. These aspects of your lives can get lost in the ‘busyness’ of family life.

However, it is very important to set aside time to maintain your most important relationships. Booking an evening and going out (or staying in) on a date night can provide an opportunity to be together as a couple and reignite your flame. Some couples decide that they will clear their diaries for a passionate encounter at a particular time when they are not tired or distracted and can concentrate on each other’s bodies. You can probably think of many other ways in which you can let your partner know that you still crave their company and enjoy intimacy together. If you would like to improve your relationships then, as a counsellor, I could support you in your endeavours and help you towards your goal.

If you are interested in finding out more then ‘Mating in Captivity’ by Esther Perel is a very good place to start. Complimentary to that is ‘The Secret to Desire in a Long Term Relationship’, one of her many interesting TED talks and they are all highly recommended.