So you meet someone and the moment you set eyes on that person, your heart started beating fast with excitement. Everything about that person just resonated in your mind. This is the usual experience of falling in love that I hear from my own clients. Heck, this was even what I experienced when I fell in love with my husband of 28 years. Let's identify that as romantic phase of loving. The blinders are down and you tend to focus on the positive things about this person. But that doesn't last forever. Nothing in life lasts forever. Life is dynamic. The novelty wears off and soon the blinders are up and you begin to see the person for who he/she really is. Lots of surprises there! Any couple is capable of working on blending those surprising differences. After the romantic phase comes mature love. This is the phase that requires work to maintain loving each other. The excitement that you first felt when you fell in love is gone. And that love develops into a deeper love and deeper sense of joy when the work is done.
What do you want to ask yourself if you are at the crossroad? What I find helpful is to ask yourself whether what you think is really wrong about your partner is something that the mind blew up into something big. Perhaps, you are finding that you do not have a connection with your partner because there is nothing that both of you can talk about. The simple fact is perhaps, you and your partner are not paying enough attention to the details of your experiences together to be able to talk about it. There is so much to talk about in your relationship life when you are paying attention. But the mind goes to an extremely negative story about your relationship because the mind has that negativity bias. It tends to blow things out of proportion because that is what it does. It doesn't have to be that way. You can train your mind, like training a puppy. You can train it to focus on your present moment. Specifics?
1. Focus on your present moment experiences. When both of you are just watching TV, notice how your body feels just being beside your partner. Notice whether you are relaxed, tense, calm or agitated. If the habitual reaction of your body is agitation, seek help to explore and work on responding differently.
2. On your calm and neutral moments, train your mind to think of the little positive things that your partner says or does when you are together. You will soon realize that your partner is not all bad 24/7.
3. Pay attention to whatever you are doing every moment and you will wake up to the fact that most of your experiences are neutral without the negative stories that the mind creates
4. Refuse to listen to the negative stories that your mind creates regarding your relationship. Recognize that it is a story and it is not real. The judgment of the experience is not real. It is made up.
5. Consistently bring back your mind to your breath cycle, which will calm your brain down. When you are calm, you can begin to share your thoughts and feelings to your partner so that he/she is aware of how you are feeling and thinking. Your partner cannot read your mind.
These are a few things that you can start working on to gain clarity and get rid of the confusion surrounding developing that deeper love. If it is not working for you, seek help to explore what it is that you are really wanting at your present moment. Professional and fresh perspectives can truly help.
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