What you will learn from this blog:
- Feeling of stagnation in a relationship is common and it is possible to bring the romance back
- 3 common reasons why couples feel stagnant in a relationship
- Ways to rekindle the fire in your relationship through connecting with yourself and partner more intimately
Our idea of what a romantic relationship should look like is often based on how we saw the relationship between our parents and the people around us.
Some of us come to believe that a relationship should look like what our heroes or heroines act out in movies or novels we read growing up. Movies and fairytales make us believe in “happily ever after” once we find “the one”. This can make us feel disillusioned when our relationship loses its spark.
The truth is, a healthy and long-lasting intimate relationship is much more than “guy rescues girl, they get married and live happily ever after”, or the #couplegoals posts we see on social media.
What if we told you from our experience as therapists that the feeling of stagnation in a relationship is very common, and that it is possible to bring the romance back?
Intimate relationships must be nurtured. Relationships need to constantly be tended to, watered, fertilised, and sunned much like a garden. Only then can you see the flowers blossoming, the bees buzzing to suck sweet nectar, and plants laden with sweet fruits.
This is something we highlight to everyone coming to us at Intracresco seeking marriage counselling and couples counselling in Singapore.
Before we discuss how to bring the romance back, let’s first have a look at 3 common reasons why a relationship can feel stagnant:
01. Repetitive arguments
This happens when a couple gets tired of arguing about the same thing time and time again. They feel as if it is impossible for either party to change, causing resentment to build up over time.
When this happens, old problems are brought up over and over again. The couple will then feel as if they are stuck in a cycle of conflict, and begin to wonder if they are in the right relationship.
As therapists, we inform those who come to us for couples counselling in Singapore that conflicts will repeat until the root cause of the issue is addressed. And this root cause is often not the subject of the argument itself, but a deeper emotional need that is not being met.
For example, a couple may argue about money. But the root cause may be that one partner feels as if they aren’t validated or invisible because the other partner does not consult them on household finances or major life decisions.
To break this cycle of conflict, we suggest partners look into what wants and needs within each of them are not being met, and have an honest and vulnerable conversation about the topic, during our marriage counselling sessions.
For example, one partner could say “I feel as if I don’t matter when you make financial decisions without consulting me”, instead of blaming them and saying “Why did you not tell me about this?!”
02. Lack of self-expansion
A perfectly functional relationship can feel stagnant when one or both partners stop growing as individuals. Because to grow and evolve is a natural human need.
This lack of self-expansion could happen when individuals fall into a comfortable routine, stop exploring new things and begin to feel uninspired by life. They then stop expanding their understanding of who they are, what they are capable of and the world at large.
This can affect the relationship as conversation can get stale and you stop feeling attractive.
In such situations, doing things to “fix” the relationship (such as going on dates, showing more affection, etc) would have limited effect, as this stagnation is more of an individual factor rather than a relationship factor.
When couples come to us for marriage counselling with this issue, we recommend partners reflect on why they feel stagnant in their lives (for example, lack of purpose or the fear of going beyond their comfort zone) and take steps to overcome those (by learning something new or re-evaluating their life and career).
We also recommend ways that partners can support each other during this process (e.g. spend time to understand what their partner is going through, be their partner’s sounding board for ideas to rekindle their passion for life).
03. Separate interests and lifestyle
This is when both individuals in the relationship may be growing and feeling fulfilled in their own lives, but they feel stagnant because of their individual disconnection from each other.
Over the years, they may have come to lead separate lives, with different interests and social circles, or their priorities, needs and wants may have shifted. This would lead them to believe that they are no longer as close to each other as before.
In such cases, it is still possible to rekindle the spark in the relationship.
Partners can first connect deeply with themselves to identify what they want out of a relationship. Once they have clarity on that, then they can openly share details with each other. And if there is shared commitment, then they can:
- Renew their commitment to each other in a meaningful way (eg: by renewing their vows)
- Find new ways to reconnect (eg: setting aside time for each other)
We are not just therapists, but also a couple ourselves. We understand the challenges and the effort it takes to make a relationship work.
Through Intracresco, we aim to offer couples counselling in Singapore and coach couples to deepen their intimacy, work on inner healing, and build fulfilling relationships.
Learn more about how we can support the growth of your relationship through our marriage counselling services.