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Are you familiar with the “seven-year itch”? It all started with a film starring Marilyn Monroe, in which the couple’s relationship declines after seven years.
Some psychologists believe that it takes approximately this long for a relationship to degrade from honeymoon-like happiness to irritation and shoe throwing.
In truth, it depends on the people involved, and their dynamic.
Some people can live together in harmonious bliss for decades, while others start clawing each other’s faces off after a couple of years.
Relationships take work, dedication, and nurturing in order to succeed, but a lot of people assume that if and when their initial feelings start to cool, that means the partnership is over.
This isn’t necessarily the case.
People are constantly changing, growing, evolving… and as such, the relationship has to change and evolve along with them.
If you’re concerned that you might have fallen out of love with your husband, wife, or long-term partner, here’s some advice for you.
12 Ways To Fall Back In Love With Your Partner
1. Know that most relationships ebb and flow.
An intimate relationship is one in which people’s more authentic, vulnerable aspects show, and they’re more honest about how they feel, rather than trying to put on a good show to keep the other interested.
But we are not always in sync with our partners, especially when each may be going through their own personal issues or crises. Some may just affect the individual, and some may affect the relationship, like financial hardships or serious illness.
Emotions also ebb and flow, and aren’t “on” all the time. If one partner is struggling with emotional hardships, they may not, for example, be interested in sex for some time, which can make the other feel neglected or rejected outright.
2. Figure out why you fell out of love.
Knowing that relationships have ups and downs, it’s time to figure out why your feelings have changed. Why did you fall out of love with your partner?
Was it a particular event that sparked a cascade of negative feelings for them? Did they cheat on you? Did you have a major falling out over how you deal with a grown child? Did they forget your birthday?
Or have your feelings just been eaten away at over time because your lives together lack excitement and romance and physical or emotional affection?
It’s important that you think carefully about what might have prompted your feelings to change. It’s a lot easier to find solutions to issues that are clear and known rather than trying to relight the flame in the darkness. Your efforts will be more effective when there are specific things to work on as a couple.
3. Talk about it.
More often than not, a lot of difficulty can be alleviated – or even avoided – if people just talk to one another, openly and honestly, about what’s going on with them.
You need to express how you’re feeling, where you are in the relationship as well as in your personal lives, your work, your overall level of contentment, etc. Saying that you are “fine” and that everything is “fine” when it’s clearly not is being dishonest with yourself and your partner.
Many refrain from talking about their problems with their partners because they’re afraid they’ll be lessened in the other person’s eyes, especially if they’re struggling with emotional or mental hardships.
If major changes occur, but both parties want to remain in the relationship, then some renegotiation needs to occur. Think of it as revisiting and renewing a contract: situations and people change, and the parameters of the relationship may need to change as well.
Take personal evolution, career changes, epiphanies, and preferences into account, then sit down and negotiate what would be optimal for both parties. This could address everything from personal pursuits to child/elder care responsibilities, or might even encompass moving to a different location together.
The key is to re-establish bonds, and reassure one another that you’re there for each other, even when things are difficult.
Talking about all this stuff can be awkward, even weird, especially if you’re the type to keep your emotions to yourself, but it’s so important to open up and talk to your partner about things that really need to be addressed.
If you’re too embarrassed to discuss them face to face, write letters. Or emails. Whatever it takes to open a dialogue and address issues that may have been festering for a long time.
4. Remember why you fell for this person to begin with.
After you’ve been with someone for quite some time, little habits and quirks of theirs that you once found endearing can suddenly become unbelievably annoying.
During the honeymoon phase, our hormones and emotional highs block out all kinds of irritations, but after a while, the sound of them crunching granola at breakfast may leave you wanting to bludgeon them with the toaster.
The whole “familiarity breeds contempt” adage rings true. And chances are that your partner may be feeling the exact same way about you.
Remember that bit about communication earlier? When we don’t talk about the things that bother us, even seemingly insignificant stuff, resentment builds. And builds. Until, finally, you come close to blurting out that you want to split up because they slurped their coffee too loudly one too many times.
This is the time to remember why you fell in love with them in the first place.
Look back over handwritten love letters, emails, messages, texts, etc. from when you first met, and remember the giddy little thrill you had as you were getting to know this person.
What was it that made you fall for them? Was it their smile? Their laugh? Their kindness? Were you blown away by their knowledge of a particular subject? Did they do something so unbelievably romantic that they just swept you off your feet?
These are the memories that slip through the cracks when we’re kept awake by our partner’s snoring, or when we’re folding their underwear while they’re dealing with screaming kids.
5. Get in the right mindset.
It’s vital that you banish any thoughts you might be having about separation. You cannot realistically fall back in love with someone if you are contemplating a future without them.
You should remain focused on all the things you need to do to bring the spark back and rekindle the passion. If you allow negative imaginations about the future to cloud your mind, they will taint your view of your partner and of the relationship.
Instead, try to imagine a future where you and your partner are still together and your relationship is happier and more harmonious than ever. This will motivate you to keep trying and it will keep you in a more positive frame of mind when you face the obstacles that you will inevitably face.
The defeatist mindset of breaking up and wondering what the future will be like as a single person again should only be allowed to come to the fore if and when you decide for good that the relationship cannot be saved.
6. Put in the effort.
Relationships take effort at all times. A relationship that has been heading in the wrong direction for some time will take even more effort to turn around.
So you have to be sure that both you and your partner are prepared to put in that effort to revive what you once had in the relationship. You can’t do this by yourself – it has to be a joint effort.
If your partner refuses to put in the effort and isn’t interested in fighting for the relationship, you have to be brutally honest and ask whether you want to fall back in love with this person, or whether it’s time to move on.
You have to both want to spend time and energy reconnecting with one another and rebuilding the mutual feelings of warmth and attraction and love. You have to decide that you still want to be with them more than you do any other person.
And when they show that they are making an effort, try to react positively toward them and it. If they buy you something out of the blue, be sure to thank them for it and express what a nice surprise it is. If they stop what they are doing and really listen to what you are saying (rather than half-listening whilst browsing their phone at the same time, for instance), let them know how much you appreciate their focus and attention.
They want to know that their effort is recognized and appreciated, just as you would like them to do the same when you show effort in your own ways.
What does effort look like? Just about every other point that follows…
7. Go to couples counseling.
It may be possible for you to work through your problems together and to come out the other side with a great relationship again. If you want to give that a go, by all means do.
But you can increase the chances of that happy outcome by seeking the help and expertise of a relationship counselor. There are so many good reasons to choose counseling over going it alone.
Firstly, they have the expertise that can provide solutions to your specific troubles so that you don’t have to go down the trial and error approach to see what works. You can speed up the reconciliation process.
Secondly, they have the experience of having helped couples who were in the same position as you are right now. They know the likely obstacles you’ll face and how best to overcome them.
Thirdly, it is often easier to have the difficult conversations you’ll need to have to rekindle the love when there is someone else there to listen to you both, and to keep things civil, positive, and productive. Whilst heightened emotions are to be expected, they won’t be as likely to take over the situation and get in the way.
You can also speak to the counselor by yourselves if there are resentments, emotions, or issues from your past or that are outside of your relationship that you need to work on, where the presence of your partner might make that difficult. You don’t get that when you try to reconnect just the two of you.
If you’d like to try couples counseling – and it is highly recommended you do – why not give the services of Relationship Hero a go. You can connect with a relationship expert from the comfort of your own home and have sessions via video or phone at a time to suit you. It can be a lot more convenient and cost effective than in-person counseling.
If you are interested, click here to start the process right now.
8. Appreciate the positive.
Sure, there may be several things about your partner that irritate you at times, but what about all the amazing things they do?
Make a list of all the things that you appreciate about this person.
Do they make you your tea or coffee the way you like it in the morning without being asked to do so? Do they have a tendency to pick up interesting surprises when they go out shopping? Do they parent diligently, with gentle compassion and sincere care? How are they with your animal companions?
As you do this, you may discover a ton of things that you’ve been taking for granted, and realize some pretty amazing things about the person you chose to spend your life with.
Now that you’ve made a fabulous list of all the wonderful things you love about your partner, let them know what it is you appreciate about them. Not all in one go, as that would probably make them really uncomfortable, but when the time is right to do so.
Like when they give you your morning coffee: take their hand or give them a hug, and let them know just how much you appreciate that little gesture, and that you never take it for granted.
Then watch them shine.
9. Let go of expectations and resentment.
Whenever two people interact, there’s bound to be some kind of friction once in a while. There may be little things that cause irritation on a long-term basis – like a chronic inability to pick their dirty socks up off the floor – or there might be more serious issues, like an affair, or temporary abandonment because of personal issues.
Again, it’s important to talk about these things, and to focus on forgiveness. To err is human, and we are all guilty of having hurt, disappointed, and angered others because we were focused on our own crap instead of really taking into account how our actions would affect them.
In the grand scheme of things, letting go of hurt and resentment is key to a harmonious relationship. Until you have healed from that hurt, rekindling the relationship will be a challenge.
So many of us have expectations about how our partners “should” be, what a relationship “should” look like… but when has reality ever truly mirrored our expectations?
People change and grow so much that they can be totally different people from one day to the next. The person you’re with now isn’t the same one they were when you met, and thank the heavens for that, else they would have stagnated.
Similarly, your partnership is likely to go through many changes while you’re together. You may need to redefine relationship parameters in order to move forward in a way that makes everyone feel content.
If you don’t have expectations, you can’t be disappointed. Accept that your partner will never be perfect and they will never become your fantasy of what you want a partner to be like (that person doesn’t exist).
Just keep communicating about each other’s needs, and support one another’s individual journeys to the best of your ability, and you might be pleasantly amazed at how great your relationship can be.
10. Consider how you think and act toward your partner.
When you are trying to fall back in love with your partner again, it’s important to be aware of the thoughts you have toward them and the way you treat them.
You must try to engage with them in the way you would like them to engage with you. That means remaining positive and not zeroing in on the little mistakes they make. You should silence that critical voice in your head that sees everything they do in a pessimistic light.
Recognize their effort, even if it’s sometimes misdirected. Thank them when they do something nice for you, and do nice things for them in return, but don’t keep score and don’t give with an expectation that you will receive. It’s in our nature to like someone more when they show kindness toward us.
Always maintain a respectful manner when dealing with them. Pay attention to the way you speak to them; the tone you use and the words you choose. These things can have a profound effect on the way your partner responds to you, and in turn how you respond to them.
When they do something to trigger a negative emotion in you, be sure to communicate that calmly using “I” statements that highlight how you felt about something they did rather than how that thing was wrong or bad.
And take some responsibility for the things you do that might trigger negative thoughts and emotions in them. You don’t need to take all the responsibility – they do have some control over themselves and their emotions – but if it’s something you’ve spoken about and they’ve asked you not to do it, you should apologize and say you’ll keep trying.
11. Spend some quality time together.
It goes without saying that to fall back in love with one another, you and your partner will need to spend a good chunk of time together. After all, when you first fell in love, you probably spent a great deal of your time doing things as a couple. And whilst it’s natural for that to change as a relationship develops, you might have swung too far to the other extreme and now spend no real time together.
You need to disconnect from the rest of the world, step out of your routine, and carve out regular time where you do something just the two of you. If you have children, this means finding some childcare for that time so that you can just be present in each other’s company without the distractions and stresses kids can bring.
Schedule date nights, plan trips away together one weekend out of every month, make these times special and create new memories together. Bond over these moments of shared intimacy or exploration. Live in the moment together and rediscover each other and your desire for your partner all over again. Make these moments fun, silly, romantic, or exciting – positive emotions and positive experiences will make you feel more positively about each other.
With regards to physical intimacy, you might wish to hold back for a few weeks at first to ensure that you build up that emotional connection once again. Consider it a fresh start and wait until you’ve ‘dated’ a few times first, just like you might have done at the beginning of your relationship. This can build the anticipation and make it even more enjoyable when you finally get intimate.
But once you do get physical again, try to make it a regular thing. Whilst sex isn’t everything in a relationship, it can help strengthen the emotional connection and break down any barriers you might have built as your relationship began to struggle.
12. Set mutual goals to strive for together.
One major complaint that a lot of long-term couples have is that they’re not working together toward a common goal. Some work hard to buy a house, or to raise children, but that’s not necessarily everyone’s cup of tea.
There’s a huge difference between spending time together, working toward something awesome, and just sitting on the couch together, watching TV and not speaking or interacting with one another.
Find a way to re-engage with a goal or project that you’re both interested in. What do you two have in common? What’s a goal or project that you can dedicate time to together? Have you always dreamt of cultivating an amazing garden? Do you want to turn your dull home into a colorful canvas full of interesting features and decorations? Could you start a simple side hustle together that might one day form a business?
Sit down and talk about some of the things that you both love to do, and then find something to strive toward. Make sure it’s fun, rather than being a project that will cause you a lot of tension and frustration, and then determine the steps needed to make it a reality.
Having a project like this will allow you both to re-engage with one another. You’ll have new energy to turn toward it, and will inevitably shift some of that new light into your personal relationship.
Still not sure how to fall back in love with your partner? Chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can my relationship be saved?
If both partners show a willingness to save a relationship, there is always a chance that it can be saved.
The better question you should be asking yourself is whether or not you want to save this particular relationship. Have you really given enough thought as to whether this is the right relationship for you in the long run? Because you may fall back in love now and then find that your incompatibilities are still present and still cause issues.
With enough effort and probably some counseling, even the most challenging of circumstances such as infidelity can be healed. But what really matters now is whether or not the two of you are still right for each other. Sure, the hurt can be dealt with and your relationship might regain some of passion and love it once had, but unless you both see the same sort of future together, you might be setting yourself up for further heartache later on.
Don’t forget that you and your partner are not the same people you were when the two of you first dated. However long it has been since then, things have changed, and you have changed.
Don’t try to fall back in love with your partner simply because you’re used to them and the relationship feels comfortable. And don’t do it out of fear of what a breakup (or a divorce if you’re currently married) might look and feel like. As difficult as those experiences would be, they might be the right thing to do when all is said and done.
Whatever you do, don’t try to force something that isn’t right just because it seems like the easier of the paths you have in front of you.
Will I ever be able to love them again after they hurt me so badly?
Human beings are emotional creatures, but those emotions are not fixed. How you feel about your partner right now can be very different to how you might feel about them in a few months or even a few years time.
If you want to love them again and are willing to work through the hurt they caused you, then it is entirely possible to regain those feelings.
Make no mistake, however, that it will take time and effort to reach that point. Forgiveness in a practical sense (i.e. not allowing the hurt to affect how you treat your partner) is one thing, but forgiveness in an emotional sense (i.e. no longer feeling the pain of what they did, and having positive emotions toward them) is far more complex.
Quite honestly, if the hurt was so great, you’ll likely need to help of a counselor to work through it. At the very least they should be able to guide you through the process and speed it up dramatically.
Will loving them again make our relationship happier?
Love alone won’t fix all the problems that your relationship may have. And the happiness of the relationship is somewhat dependent on the happiness of the individuals in it.
So you may be able to fall back in love with one another, but if you or they are struggling with other things such as work, family, or inner demons, the relationship might not reach the happy highs you are hoping for. In some cases, it is better to love each other from afar whilst some of these other issues are dealt with. You can then decide whether or not to rekindle your relationship based on how you both feel at that point in time.
Of course, a relationship based on love is likely to be much happier than one based on other factors such as convenience, having children together, or because you’re afraid of being alone.
How long will it take to fall back in love?
Whilst there is no definitive answer to this question, if you put all the tips in this article into practice and you’re no nearer to loving your partner after a few months or so, you should probably take it as a sign that it might never happen.
Though how long you keep trying will depend on various factors such as how well you work as a couple, whether there are children involved, and how long you’ve been together. If you have only been together for a couple of years, you probably shouldn’t give it as long as if you’ve been together for a couple of decades. Whilst a shared history isn’t a reason to stay together by itself, it matters.
Would you like to speak to someone about your relationship and your feelings toward your partner? Chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you decide how best to move forward. Simply click here to chat.
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