Then Stage 2 hits, called "Nesting", and this typically occurs during the second and third years of couplehood. This is marked by a strengthened commitment to each other, but it is also characterized by the power struggle. Here, the intensity of passion and attraction becomes replaced with conflict and more awareness of your differences, as individual and relational issues surface. These issues are no longer distracted or disguised by the force of initial chemistry. However, what may seem like relationship dysfunction is really growth in the form of each partner developing a sense of self as an individual and as a partner in a couple. Upon resolution of this phase brings the rewards of deeper commitment, growth, and intimacy. It is a normal and necessary developmental stage of being in a relationship, though more attention and effort will be needed to cultivate and sustain that passion that seemed so natural in the beginning.
BLOCKS TO PASSION
While this is indeed a natural state of all relationships, there are some additional factors that could be at play for a lack of passion in a relationship. What follows are but a few possible symptoms underlying passionless relationships. These can be subtle and hidden, or overt in the sense that they can amplify the conflicts in the power struggle phase.
·changed or misplaced priorities; the relationship comes second to some other influence
·lack of time available to attend to the relationship; lack of quality time spent together
·buying into the stereotype that long-term gay relationships don't last
·internalized homophobia, low self-esteem, and low confidence
·unresolved childhood issues being displaced into the relationship
·infidelity and/or developing attractions or feelings for another person other than your partner
·hidden resentments, hurts, and misunderstandings not being expressed
·communication break-downs and poor conflict negotiation practices
·verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse of any kind
·difficulties with trust and closeness; intimacy fears including fears of rejection, abandonment, engulfment, and being vulnerable
·codependency; attending solely to your partner's needs at the expense of your own; lack of a separate sense of self or identity
·lack of personal vision for your life and lacking goals; confusion about who you are, what you stand for, and what you want out of life
·weak interpersonal and assertiveness skills; feeling your needs aren't valid
·routine and repetition of daily living with minimal change or newness being introduced into the relationship; brings about feelings of stagnation and boredom
·life stressors, adjustments, transitions, crises, or losses
·emotional problems, substance abuse or other addictions, or sexual dysfunction
·being in the wrong relationship; genuine incompatibility
·failure to completely grieve and "let go" of a prior relationship
Add your own to this list and assess where you stand on these issues.