The existence of the “honeymoon” phase is one of the most commonly denied or unacknowledged phase in relationships. We know it exists, and we know that we’re likely to exit it eventually (especially if we’re not proactively working on ourselves and our relationships!), but new couples deep in the throws of the honeymoon phase are usually the first to deny its validity.
And honestly – it makes sense. When we’re in the beginning stages of a new relationship, we’re excited! It is a beautiful and often carefree time, and a time where it truly can be hard to comprehend or envision that a time where we have to work a little bit harder to avoid the loss of that loving feeling may be looming right around the corner.
Unfortunately, the reality is that the end of the honeymoon phase is as certain is its existence. As we grow closer within our relationships, and start to settle into, and even begin creating a life together, we’re opening ourselves up to experiencing more challenges that must be faced together as a couple. External stresses and pressures inevitably start to crop up and we may find ourselves arguing more frequently, or having to deal with things that are either new to us as a couple, or even new to us period.
The expected, or even stereotypical, challenges we may face in our relationships are seldom easy, but they do tend to be a bit more cut and dry when it comes to fixing them. For example, having financial problems within your relationship is absolutely stressful, and nowhere near ideal, but you can easily find answers or resources on how to move through and past that particular challenge fairly easily.
Loss of attraction, however, tends to be viewed as a sort of “hard stop” for many in relationships. Frequently, people buy in to the viewpoint that once the attraction is gone, everything else is too. It is actually quite common for couples to reach a point where one or both of them is just not sure whether they are still physically attracted to the other.
These feelings can cause a ripple effect of negativity, all of which can be further compounded by a negative mindset. For starters, this is an uncomfortable situation for both parties to be in. Secondly, it doesn’t feel as cut and dry, or as easy to fix, as the financial problem from our example above might. You may be feeling like this is an unfixable problem, or feeling at a loss of what to do may be keeping you stuck, or maybe even considering just throwing the whole relationship away.
If you subscribe to the viewpoint that once the attraction is gone, everything else is too, then the realization that you’re no longer attracted to your partner is almost guaranteed to result in less commitment to the relationship. Once this happens, you’re working against yourself in potentially saving the relationship, whether you realize it or not! An honest and comprehensive understanding of your current feelings, and how you arrived at this point, is key in figuring out the next steps and potentially saving your relationship.
We certainly agree that feeling of loss of attraction towards your partner is not something to be taken lightly. But before you go throwing the whole relationship away, first understand that the reality is it is absolutely necessary to explore why and how you reached this viewpoint, and more importantly, the wide array of other qualities and characteristics that can contribute to a loving relationship – outside of purely physical attraction.
If you really think about it, basing the foundation of your relationship solely on attraction is not likely to lead to long-term relationship success. Sure, it may be the spark, or maybe even one of the reasons you even entertained exploring the idea of being in a relationship with this person to begin with. And of course, it can be a wonderful bonus – but a recipe for a relationship you want to come back to over and over again must include much, much more.
If you’re feeling a loss of attraction towards your partner, the good news is there are things you can do to help realign your perspective and give yourself the best shot at saving your relationship. Here is a little guidance on where to start!:
- Identify and practice what makes you both feel loved. Learning your love languages is a great place to start! (If you’re unfamiliar with the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, you can learn more about that here.) Basically what this method does is help you and your partner to identify the ways in which you give and receive love. Oftentimes a loss of attraction actually stems from the absence of feeling loved or emotionally connected. Improving your relationship in those areas can boost your feelings of physical attraction towards your partner.
- Add some thrill. Seeking a new, exciting experience together will boost hormones that increase attraction level. Plus, this gives you and your partner a great opportunity to get a little vulnerable while trying new things together. It doesn’t have to be skydiving (although more power to you if that’s what you choose!). Get off the couch and plan some more thrilling activities together!
- Redefine what attraction means to you. Could you be limiting the definition of this word to a point that is hurting you and your relationship? This is interesting because we often don’t want to believe that we could have anything to do with whether or not we find someone attractive. And to be fair, it’s completely relative. To put this into context, think of what is considered to be beautiful in different cultures. While those pillars of beauty may make no sense to you, among that population it is completely normal or even desirable! Additionally, it’s important to remember that attraction consists of much more than strictly physical attributes, such as the way someone carries themselves or their sense of humor.
- Never stop learning. At their root, relationships boil down to two people who have moved and changed over time and depending on life experience. Your spouse may not be the same person they were when you met, but remember – you aren’t either! Such is life! Rather than take this for granted, use it as an opportunity to ask questions, learn new things, and get to know your partner all over again. This will help you grow closer together and can also help boost attraction.
- Check for projection. This one is tough to hear, and even tougher to implement. Is it possible you have been feeling less attractive and are projecting those feelings onto your significant other? It may sound wacky, but it happens more often than you might think! If you feel this may be contributing to your loss of attraction towards your partner, spend some time focusing on doing the things you need to do to feel more confident about your own appearance, and then watch to see what happens!
Remember, relationships take work to be successful, and physical attraction as an aspect of your relationship is no exception. But don’t give up! Using the tips above while being really honest with yourself about what’s actually going on within your relationship will help you navigate the true nature of these feelings, and give you your best shot at re-realizing your attraction for your partner and reigniting the spark in your relationship!
The dedicated experts at Solid Foundations have helped many couples work through a variety of challenges, both individually and together, allowing our clients to increase their understanding of relationships and successfully achieve their relationship goals as a result! Learn more at solidfoundationstherapy.com or give us a call at 630-633-8532 today!