Love

The Hidden Reason Exciting Relationships Fall Apart —​ And How To Fix It

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woman with natural curly hair smiles at a man

As hard as love and happiness are to find, who wants to see those feelings die?

There is something so magical about being in a new relationship that we literally feel as if we are under the influence of something that cannot be explained.

The question is, what creates that euphoria? Perhaps it's the unfamiliar, and maybe it's the untainted history or just the thrill of the pursuit. Whatever the case, when it's new, everything about spending time with a new significant other puts us on cloud nine.

Once the infatuation passes, 'relationship atrophy' often sets in

What was once ecstasy becomes a mundane routine. It doesn't matter how we package the relationship, be it dating, cohabiting, or even marriage; somehow, it turns into a lackluster inescapable pattern.

What's next after the relationship atrophy sets in?

There are only two paths the relationship can take, continuation or termination.

Ask yourself these two important questions: 

  1. Is this a relationship that's worth fighting for?
  2. If it is, how do I keep the fire burning?

RELATED: 15 Delayed Red Flags That Show Up After You're Already Invested In A Toxic Relationship

The end of the 'honeymoon phase' often feels like boredom

One of the most challenging things in untested relationships is that we're overwhelmed with euphoria. Likewise, how do we keep the momentum going in relationships that have stood the test of time?

The greater truth is the reality of being in a relationship is far different from the fantasy in one's head. Once the euphoria is gone, we start falling into a routine. As that routine becomes familiar and predictable, we expect more than we tend to appreciate.

Making matters worse, everything gets boring because we can predict how we will interact. Even sex becomes just another part of our monotonous routine

RELATED: 14 Romantic Things To Do As A Married Couple That Deepen Emotional Intimacy

Four highly effective ways to fight relationship atrophy

In my 15 years of working with thousands of singles and couples, I've learned that it's not the relationship that stagnates. It's the ability to maintain an appreciation for it.

1. Find the source of your issue

I discovered five essential elements that lead to relationship atrophy.

  • Failure to appreciate your partner
  • Taking the presence of your significant other for granted
  • Expecting that which you do not give
  • Failure to take responsibility for your contribution to the relationship's problems
  • Feelings of entitlement

Without clarity, how would you know something is wrong? Awareness is critical.

RELATED: The One Habit Loving Couples Practice To Avoid Taking Each Other For Granted

2. Set new expectations and work to maintain those standards

Couples who fail to set parameters can't understand what fulfilling functionality looks like. When one or both parties fail to set expectations, they're doing the equivalent of driving a car without concern for maintenance.

Do you know what happens when you don't maintain your vehicles? That vehicle you've taken for granted repays you by letting you down at the worst of times. 

Think about it. You can wash the car all day long, but if you don't change the oil, check your tires, and service your engine, the odds are that even the most well-made vehicle will break down.

Even though the exterior looks great, the dinners, great sex and good times, because you failed to do proper maintenance, what once brought you joy now becomes a significant pain in the ass.

Relationships work the same way.

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It's all about communicating with each other and asking the simple question: Are we good? And not in a way that it is about you. Make sure to know what's going on with your significant other.

RELATED: If You Notice These 5 Habits In Your Relationship, Your Communication Skills Need Serious Work

3. Check in with yourself  

You need to have an honest conversation with yourself about yourself. If you're dealing with problematic issues in your life, it's an excellent time for one or both of you to seek out an ICF credentialed Life Coach. Seeing a therapist is also a good idea if you're dealing with past traumas. If you have some health issues, it's an excellent time to go and see a doctor. 

Be mindful of how you're living your life. Are you working out, getting enough sleep, and having enough quality time with friends, family members, children, or even pets? Do you take care of what's taking care of you?

It's never wise to end up being one of those people who neglects their relationships, responsibilities, and interests just because you started dating somebody. What attracted the person to you was that you at least "appeared" to be complete and whole when they met you.

RELATED: 7 Relationship Red Flags That Mean It’s Time To Break Up

4. Take care of your internal and external environment 

The type of people you surround yourself with defines who you become. Fact — people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lesson. Stay close to the people who challenge you, those who encourage you to be more mature and accountable.

Keep away from toxic and envious frienemies. Your relationships with others can significantly affect what you bring to the table in your romantic relationship. 

Look at your environment; think about how you live. Are you taking care of your home, practicing a healthy lifestyle, and taking care of your cognitive, emotional and spiritual health?

If you want happiness everywhere you go, you want to take some with you. Taking good care of your environment is a beautiful place to start.

RELATED: 5 Questions The Best Husbands Ask Their Wives Every Day (Or At Least Every Week!)

5. Stay open to change

All relationships teach you something about yourself. Relationships happen for a specific reason, a season, or a life lesson. When you find yourself in a season where you are forced to confront the fact that you want more than you're getting or feel like someone is asking too much of you, it's either an opportunity for growth or a chance to run for cover.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't run if the person is being oppressive or is trying to force something on you that you're not ready for. Remember, "no" is a complete sentence. Get comfortable with using it more often. 

If this person is in your life for a season, accept that. But when that season changes or ends, allow change to come. Not doing so hurts both parties. If this person came into your life for you to learn a lesson about relationships or yourself, embrace the lesson and then move on. Life is about evolution and change. Your job is to do precisely that, revamp and revise. 

Get out of LaLa Land and be mindfully present. Let your conscience guide you. Have the courage to communicate your true feelings with your partner.

Once you have that clarity and take ownership of who you are in this season of your life, keeping a relationship in a flourishing state is a no-brainer.

RELATED: 7 Things You'll Only Feel When You're In A Relationship With 'The One'

Dr. D. Ivan Young is an ICF Credentialed Master Certified Coach, Certified Professional Diversity Coach, National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach, and a Certified Master MBTI Practitioner.

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