What you will learn from this blog:
- Relationships are not meant to stagnate. Just as nature continues to grow every moment, we are always growing as human beings
- The key to a successful relationship is to constantly work on being self-aware and on connecting with our partner
As therapists, we see many clients coming to us for marriage counselling and couples counselling in Singapore, lamenting that the “honeymoon period” in their relationship is over. We often hear things like:
“We don’t go on dates anymore. There is no more romance.”
“We just focus on work and kids. It feels like we’ve drifted apart.”
“We fight all the time. It seems we are so different.”
This is one of the most common misperceptions that we come across from couples seeking marriage counselling – that there is a honeymoon phase in relationships, and it is natural for the honeymoon phase and romance to fade away after a while.
In this blog, we explain 3 deeper reasons why this happens, and how to keep the romance alive in your relationship…
- Sweeping Uncomfortable Emotions Under the Carpet
Romantic movies and popular culture make us believe that once we find “the one”, we’re settled for life and it’s “happily ever after”.
In our relationships, we try to keep this fantasy alive by avoiding conflicts and pushing our uncomfortable emotions aside, to focus on the “positives”.
However, the more we avoid our emotions, the more they accumulate and turn into resentment. This resentment is like a pair of tainted glasses that makes us see only the negative traits of our partner.
In truth, conflicts and uncomfortable emotions are one of the greatest ways for a couple to understand each other better and grow closer together.
Only in moments of intense emotions and differences do we see sides of ourselves and our partner that we are unaware of.
This is something we tell all those who come to us at Intracresco looking for couples counselling in Singapore – conflicts are not unhealthy; they are a normal part of all human relationships. It is the ability to sit with uncomfortable emotions, learn from them, and repair them, that makes a relationship successful.
- Higher Stakes and Expectations
In the “honeymoon” phase of a relationship, stakes may be lower as the couple has not fully committed to each other; there is less to lose.
Stakes and expectations increase as the couple becomes more committed, and insecurities and traumas start to play out more in the relationship.
Many clients who come to us for marriage counselling tell us they can mostly remain calm when having differences with colleagues and friends. But when it comes to their intimate relationship, they often lose their cool.
One reason is that our intimate relationships echo the relationship we had with our parents/caregivers, and thus present the perfect condition for our childhood traumas to resurface.
It is important not to see this as a bad thing. This is an opportunity for us to become more aware of our pent-up emotions and limiting beliefs, and heal our traumas.
Remember, we get angry because our partner matters to us.
- Differences that Created Passion Now Cause Conflict
When we date, we tend to be subconsciously attracted to people who have qualities we lack and are trying to develop in ourselves. While these differences create passion during the dating phase, they naturally cause friction as the relationship progresses. For example:
- A partner’s confidence that used to be attractive now becomes “narcissistic” and “selfish”
- A partner’s nurturing and emotional availability becomes “controlling” and “over-sensitive”
- A partner’s free-spirited nature and spontaneity become “careless” and “ill-disciplined”
- A partner’s focus and determination become “neglectful” and “squarish”
Many fights in relationships happen because we expect our partner to be like us.
It is important to be aware when we have thoughts like: “Why can’t my partner be more logical (like me)?” or “Why can’t my partner have better time management (like me)?”
While it is important to express your feelings and needs to your partner, it is equally important to reflect on what the incident is trying to bring out in you.
For example, is it calling you to be more connected to your emotions? Is it calling you to be less uptight and more present?
When both partners see differences not as a “problem” but as an opportunity to balance themselves, the relationship matures from that of “puppy love” to a powerful vehicle for growth.
How to Keep The Romance Alive
Here are two tips we share with those who come to Intracresco for couples counselling in Singapore, to reconnect with your partner if you feel the “honeymoon period” is over:
- Individually sit with the uncomfortable emotions you have felt in the relationship, and reflect on what they are trying to tell you about yourself
- Schedule a regular time (e.g. a date once a week) when both of you can connect and be completely present with each other without distractions.
Some guiding questions:
- What did I do this week that made you feel loved and supported?
- What can I do to help you feel more loved and supported?
- How can we continue to grow as individuals and as a couple in this relationship?
Relationships are not meant to stagnate. Just as nature continues to grow every moment, we are always growing as human beings. They are meant to evolve and deepen as we grow as individuals. We cannot expect the relationship to remain the same.
The key is to constantly work on being self-aware and on connecting with our partners. When we do this, we realise that we are constantly rediscovering our partners and getting to know them at a deeper and deeper level. This is what makes the honeymoon period last.