“Marriage is when a man and a woman become one person. The most difficult thing is to figure out which one of them is, “- director Woody Allen once joked, expressing in this short formula the essence of the problem that sooner or later two people who decide to live together face. What initially inspires them so much – a common bed, the same tastes, mutual friends, the same manner of speaking, a joint rest – then very often leads to the depletion of love feelings (and sometimes to the loss of it!). And besides, there is a feeling of losing one’s own individuality.
“If two once separate“ I’s ”merge into an all-encompassing“ we ”, energy leaves it, which just allows the couple to move forward, to develop,” says psychotherapist Olga Dolgopolova. Family relationships gradually turn one person into an extension of another, into a double, predictable and therefore invisible. Desire fades away, boredom and fatigue arise.
Psychotherapists confirm that when we begin to choke on life together in a short distance, it is difficult for us to sort out our feelings, since the original desire and energy have already been lost.
The desire to escape does not arise from a feeling of freedom, but from a feeling of dissatisfaction.
Paradoxically, this may be just the right moment to ask yourself a few questions. What is happening to me? What’s going on with the relationship? Am I confident enough in the feelings of the other so as not to interfere with his self-realization outside the framework of our life together? Am I too dissolving in our relationship, am I losing sight of myself?
When we answer these questions to ourselves, new opportunities for coexistence will open up for us, we will see where we can get oxygen, which our couple lacks so tangibly.
“Several years after the wedding, I seemed to no longer understand who I was,” recalls 42-year-old Nadezhda (12 years of marriage). – Nothing surprised me in my husband, I could predict his every word, every gesture. I wanted to give up everything, I was literally suffocating … “
Remain two people
And yet Nadezhda abandoned anyone and nothing. She decided to “take a breath of fresh air” … and took up charity work. What brought new acquaintances into her life, various events outside the family circle, and most importantly, her inner energy and desires returned to her. Within a few months, she felt more independent, more energetic, joyful … and more in love.
Being two also means being able to say no. And this is not as easy as it might seem. “Those who love each other should want the same thing and do the same thing” – this idea is firmly fixed in our minds. It happens that a person who is not confident enough in himself, noticing that the companion does not share his tastes, begins to worry, fear his condemnation and even the fact that he will no longer be loved.
“This is especially painful for someone who feels more dependent on a partner,” says Olga Dolgopolova. – Merging with him, he thereby “completes” in another, feeling himself a more complete person. “
In fact, it is important to respect and support our differences, to defend our own desires. And, accordingly, respect the wishes of the other. After all, let’s remember: when we first met him, it was our difference that attracted us … which began to fade over the course of days. The unexplored facets disappeared, the precious nugget was polished and became a naked pebble, the wild panther became a fat domestic cat, well known and predictable. Why be surprised that we are no longer drawn to each other?
They lived happily ever after …
Does the couple have a future? American psychologist John Gottman is convinced that marriage will be lasting if partners can honestly answer “yes” to three questions.
one. “Would you like to be friends with this person?” Could you have a rich and fruitful relationship if you weren’t sexual partners and weren’t looking to have children?
2. “Do you respect this person as a person (with your own preferences, lifestyle, values)?”
Do you respect his attitude towards the world and towards people regardless of his attitude towards you?
3. “Are you ready to accept that some flaws will never go away?” May I say: “What I love about you is so powerful, so unique and so desirable that I love you, despite all that distinguishes and will always distinguish you from my ideal.”
What is better to avoid if we want to be together? Criticism, mistrust, secrecy and contempt, says John Gottman. Contempt is especially dangerous – behind it is disgust, which destroys relationships, leads to troubles and breaks.
If we abandon our favorite activities or friends in order to devote more time to family life, or force ourselves to adapt to the social circle and interests of another, we not only renounce our individuality, but also latently accumulate annoyance. Which will certainly splash out at the first disagreement.
In essence, such a sacrifice is a form of blackmail and in one way or another always poisons intimate relationships. “After all, sacrificing, in return, a person expects sacrifices from a partner, who sometimes does not even know about it,” says existential psychotherapist Svetlana Mardoyan.
The one who sacrifices himself lives with the thought that someday he will be rewarded for it. And the slightest desire of a partner for autonomy is perceived by him as a monstrous ingratitude.
As a rule, constant concessions to a partner in order to please him do not lead at all to the result that we expect. On the one hand, by indulging his desires, we lose our own face and in the end we cease to understand who we are and what we ourselves want. On the other hand, the object of our relentless attention may feel painfully unfree under the suffocating burden of our care.
Create a space of love
A banal, but, alas, true observation: living together tends us to laziness. In addition, our age is full of overloads from which we often get tired. That is why it often happens that two, having collapsed unconscious on the matrimonial bed, are immediately … forgotten only by an innocent dream.
So gradually, because of this little laziness and great fatigue, a love affair turns into a “brotherly bond.” The partner’s body, becoming too familiar and familiar, gradually ceases to give an erotic charge.
There are hardly any magic recipes, but there are simple tricks that can help prevent the fading of sexual tension in a relationship. For example, you can create a kind of special “field” for a couple’s love dates – in time or space. A specially equipped corner of the bedroom, a weekend devoted to sensual pleasures, or an encounter with art, an unusual dinner or a favorite place in nature – in a word, what unites a couple and meets their desires helps create an intimate atmosphere that is different from the usual everyday life.
“The highest degree of intimacy between two is sexual,” recalls Svetlana Mardoyan. – And she, as a sensitive rare flower, must be constantly looked after, undertaking something that does not fit into the usual daily routine. For example, you can invite your partner on a date by walking around the city, go to a cafe or restaurant. Escape from everyday life by flying to another country for the weekend. In general, to do something unusual to see each other in a new light, to re-engage in the romantic game. “
Agree to parting
This advice, which at first glance is at odds with common sense, is actually given by all sexologists and family psychologists. After all, parting – even for a few hours or days – is followed by a joyful meeting. And it seems that everyone can easily follow him … But it was not so! When one partner is fueled by energy outside the family space, in the depths of the soul of the other, old demons of doubt about his feelings begin to stir. “How can he (a) enjoy life so far away from me?”, “What if he (a) finds himself someone better ?!”, “What if he (a) gets into the taste of free life and does not want to return? “
The line between love and ownership is often very thin. The fear of being left alone sometimes serves as an unconscious brake that prevents one from letting go of another, allowing him to move away.
Do not forget that the desire to escape does not arise from a feeling of freedom, but from a feeling of dissatisfaction. Someone who has fulfilled and fulfilled his desires is much more inclined to share his feelings with a partner than someone who experiences dissatisfaction and frustration.
“If relations continue to develop,” says Olga Dolgopolova, “after a period of emotional closeness, there will certainly be a distance from each other. But if we do what we love while doing this, it will allow us to experience spontaneous, sincere excitement. And then, at home, we will share our impressions with each other, exchange emotions, this excitement. This will be the moment of the couple’s reunion and that same pas to meet each other. “
Another obstacle to our independence is our obedience to the existing social norm: “A couple should always be together.” So, if I have a desire to go somewhere alone, if I feel good together with my partner, but I’m not ready to spend every minute with him, I conclude: “I don’t love him enough, after all, this is not who I am is needed, our relationship is a mistake. ” Or even: “I was not created (a) to live together.” It is an enduring belief that has become entrenched in the minds of many couples. And unfortunately, often instead of getting rid of it, they get rid of each other.
Support other desires
Mutual attraction in a couple is also fueled by sudden outbursts of desire that occurs outside of family life, as sexologists say. This is not about encouraging marital infidelity, but about the fact that, leaving the space of family relations, we should not add up our “antennae of sensuality” – let them always be straightened out. It is worth letting yourself be seduced just enough to feel the taste of the very possibility – and it is not at all necessary to realize it.
“Paradoxically, it is precisely those partners who give each other greater freedom that remain the most loyal,” says psychotherapist Serge Efez. “Conversely, in more closed pairs, this ban on the unacceptable often acts like a magnet.”
Maybe because the one who trusts us is much more difficult to betray? “Trust is a basic criterion for harmonious relationships,” says Svetlana Mardoyan. “Trusting each other, we feel not only physical, but also moral security.”
“I am for such trust,” adds Olga Dolgopolova, “when partners are in contact, their eyes and ears are open, they interact with each other sincerely and openly. Trusting a partner, letting him go into life, we must be ready to take risks. But no matter what happens, we will be able to talk about it, discuss it directly, understanding what is happening to us here and now. “
Desires outside of family relationships are by no means limited to the area of sexual attraction. To devote time to yourself, to receive joy from close communication with friends – there are many different sources of vital energy from which our desire to live and love is nourished.
- Tina Tessina, Riley K. Smith, How to Live Together and Stay Free, Phoenix, 2005.
- Robert Johnson “She. Deep aspects of female psychology “, Kogito-Center, 2008.
- Robert Johnson “He. Deep aspects of male psychology “, Kogito-Center, 2008.