This guest article from PsychCentral was written by Nathan Feiles, LMSW
Is your relationship feeling stagnant recently? Do you feel like you’re caught in a routine, ignoring each other, too busy to give time to your relationship, or just simply neglecting your relationship?
It can be easy to become complacent in our relationships, especially when living together on a daily basis. Life happens around us–we work, possibly have children to care for, keep up a home, try to see friends and family, deal with issues that come up, and so on. Things end up getting pushed to the front in our lives, while our relationships with our significant others are pushed to the back.
After some time of sticking in this pattern, we may find our relationships lacking in fulfillment, unexciting, or even boring. Some may feel secure in a more “business” type of relationship — having someone to come home to every night and to sleep and wake up next to, maybe raising children — while not otherwise giving much attention to their relationship. And to be sure, there is nothing wrong with this outlook if both partners on the same page. The trouble starts when one or both of the partners begins to experience the relationship as lacking balance. When this happens, it means more is wanted from the relationship, and without some form of action, this can eventually cascade into overall relationship dissatisfaction for one or both partners.
There are many things that people can do to spice up a relationship. Some try different things sexually; some add date nights or other togetherness activities; and more. These are all good things.
Turning Toward Each Other
The “Relationship Dream List” is a favorite among couples I treat. When both partners in a relationship share similar goals and dreams, even if they can be unrealistic goals at times, it not only heightens a sense of overall togetherness, it also turns both partners toward each other.
What does “turning toward” mean?
When a person becomes dissatisfied or frustrated with his or her relationship, the subconscious tendency is to turn away from the partner. This can happen in various forms, including thoughts or behaviors involving cheating, spending less time with the partner, envisioning a future without the partner, becoming irritable with the partner, and so on.
The reverse of this process is the idea of turning toward each other. When our relationships are in sync, there’s a sense of togetherness. Turning toward is a subconscious mindset of having both feet in the door of our relationship. We seek positive interaction with our partner; we look to the future with our partner in the picture; we function on the same page (or seek to re-orient when natural drifting occurs); and there is a general sense of our partner as a positive force in our lives.