Hint: It's easier than you think.
Nothing is scarier than being in a committed relationship and feeling like you are alone.
It was NEVER supposed to be that way.
On the day you found the love of your life, you never felt more complete. You could take on the world. Forever had come!
Now things have gotten comfy, and it feels like one of you has changed. But, you swear it's not you. The way you speak to each other has harsh tones; you can hear it. You ask him if he notices, and WWIII erupts. Not only that, it looks like the softness in his eyes is gone and all that's left in its place is hard and emotionless.
Where did he go? He was your best friend — the one who had your back — and now it feels like he's stuck an emotional knife in your chest.
The silence is deafening. When your head hits the pillow beside him, rather than falling asleep in each other's arms, like you used to, you both say nothing, turn the other away, and close your eyes in icy silence.
Something has got to give. You can't go on like this anymore. You're going to end it.
Yet something inside you believes it CAN'T be the end — that the two of you really can fall back in love. If you could just figure out how to stop the cycle, the love would come back, and it would all be like new again.
Guess what? There is a way! And the answer can be found in science.
The first thing you need to know is that those pesky things we all tend to do — blaming stuff like stress, financial problems, and loss of common ground on each other — don't, and won't, work. Sure, they may initially stir things up, but the change won't last.
This might sound crazy, but the reason is familiarity.
Each one of us brings our own fair share of baggage from the past. In his TED Talk, "Relationships Are Hard, But Why?" he explains how we bring all the good, the bad, and the ugly with us because they stay inside of our being. When we become involved with another, difficult person, these experiences color the way our mind views the present in terms of what we find familiar from the past — i.e., familiarity.
In other words, once a couple settles into a long-term, committed relationship or marriage, they're each in for an unexpected surprise. Along with the joy of falling in love and settling down comes the reality that each of their minds become less attentive — they become lazy. And when something occurs that triggers a negative memory from a similar experience, they wrongly perceive each other based on how other people acted back then, as opposed to how each partner is behaving right now.
For example, if you had a controlling parent or lived in a house where there was any form of ongoing anger or abuse, your mind will make things up. It may make you think that if your spouse isn't smiling, they must be angry when, in fact, they are not. Little by little, these negative experiences keep happening. Eventually, they create a pattern. The mind's misperceptions caused huge problems without either person really understanding or realizing it what is going on. Why you started overreacting.
When this keeps happening, the entire relationship begins to feel negative.
No one really understands what is happening. Things get to a point where it feels impossible to find your way back home, let alone back to each other.
We all go through a similar pattern of falling out of love — just look at your coupled friends. The same people who once couldn't keep their hands off of each other now stand on opposite sides of the room.
The friend who never seemed to stop texting their new lover now turns the phone off when out with you — and deletes their voice messages without even listening to what their partner said.
Yep, that's what happens. Science says it's because of our automatic neurobiological reflexes, aka primitive reflexes trying to normalize the brain. When we hear love makes you crazy, it can, and does.
Get back on track by following these 3 tips to fall back in love with each other from Dr. Tatkin:
1. Realize that feeling familiar with each other doesn't mean you know everything there is to know about each other.
Your mind has one goal and that's to make your life easier. This can become a mistake when things are tough between you and your loved one. If you ASSUME that you know everything about someone, the chances are you will miss out on learning more about what makes him or her tick.
You might also assume incorrectly as to why something was done a certain way, or that what was done was meant to harm you. Remember, that might be your past speaking and have nothing to do with your present.
2. Remember that your brain, like everyone else's, sometimes reads body language incorrectly.
We all have experienced being misjudged, so don't be afraid to admit when you are wrong and misjudged your partner's body language, too. That look that you thought was anger just might be your primitive mind trying to protect you from a time when you really did have to worry about anger on a person's face. (Of course, this does not apply to abusive relationships. If you are in one, please get out.)
Take a step back and ask yourself if there's a possibility you are projecting some fear from the past into the picture. That might help improve communication and remind you to keep things in perspective
3. Communication, especially between a couple, is always prone to errors.
Crazy arguments are often a symptom of a possible "nervous system misfirings." All of our memories are a combination of our past and present experiences.
Try to remember that mistakes happen, and each one doesn't have to mean the end of the world, or even of your relationship.
Watch Dr. Stan Tatkin's full TEDx Talk below for more excellent advice: