I have decided to write this article as, firstly, many people were and still are (and will ever be, until the end of time, unless they evolve into a different form of living matter) very inattentive to each other. Secondly, even when people notice something in each other they tend to misinterpret it.
1. Be attentive Relations cool down – slowly but steadily. A thousand days can turn them from boiling water into a piece of ice. To manage the process one should see and understand it.
2. Be educated "Everybody lies", generally people don’t like admitting they have cooled down. Qualification is needed to reveal the situation and to intervene.
3. Watch yourself When you notice your partner’s cooling it is already late. You could have notices these symptoms much earlier if you had thought to watch yourself.
It is definitely explainable: being foolish creatures we look at the world through distorting glasses, and the more important the thing we are looking at is the stronger distortions are. Actually nothing can be done about it – no matter how long I have been teaching secrets of communication and writing articles I am still blind on the matters that are of great importance to me personally.
Things you are going to read have resulted from my personal observations and have been repeatedly confirmed by my clients’ experience. They are not systematic, not arranged into any kind of hierarchy, but are quite scattered. You are welcome to contribute with observations of yours.
So, it’s a story of two people who have been living together, and all of a sudden cooling down has crawled in. All of a sudden! Though it is definitely not a sudden change, they had got such a deep habit of each other that were not able to see the change any more, the change that was gradually accumulating and finally transformed the partner into an absolutely different person probably.
Let’s discuss several signs of such a change and think what can be done along while.
Ah, yes! Just want to make clear that I will mainly talk about observations of women (which can’t be any different as it won’t be personal experience otherwise), but these observations will be very useful to women, as cooling down can be as unexpected for you as it is for your partner. People are usually incapable of both watching others and watching themselves. No surprise! We are very important for ourselves, so when it comes to ourselves perception distortions maximize. And here we go.
An unexpected repairs initiative of one of the partners (at least I am sure about the wife) is a true sign of her (his) wish to refresh relationship. And – pay attention! – it is very likely that time has already been missed. If your wife is suddenly insisting on repairing the flat, the hell with repairs, ask her who she has got. If there is still nobody (but how do you know for sure?), breath out and start acting to save your relations. And you’d better start with values collection technique (please, see for the link at the Summary part of the article) – just think which new needs and demands she has acquired for the last year or two that remain unsatisfied by you.
Why am I so sure it can be serious? Firstly, it comes from my personal experience. Secondly, I know about it from other people’s experiences. Thirdly, just think about it… repairs! It is not comparable to making a haircut or buying shoes, it is major expensive restructuring. If you accept that outer wishes and actions are reflections of inner processes (I do accept it), then craving for repairs is a sign of inner process of dilapidation to have gone too far already.
I don’t personally believe in all these interpretations of poses people take while they sleep, don’t believe in meanings attached to them. They may turn out true or vice versa, I don’t really know. But when people sleep together facing each other may evidence of intimacy, closeness, love in relationship. But it is important how people sleep, not how they fall asleep, as they fall asleep “consciously” and sleep “unconsciously”. As well as waking up.
Try to notice which position relative to your partner you wake up and open your eyes at. Or probably you should only worry about the changes happened to the way you sleep, whether you do it together differently to the way you did before or not. If once you slept nose to nose, and now hardly touch with your tailbones it’s worth considering.
What can be done about it? A question should be asked on what connects people with each other in principle apart from habit and financial or education obligations. What makes them feel drawn to each other, what makes them embrace one another? Common dreams? Common challenge? Common hopes?
Frequency of sex: it is absolutely evident, it goes without saying. A more interesting question to ask is who you make sex with when you make sex with your partner, and who your partner makes sex with while making sex with you. If your sex is a kind of masturbation and you sleep with somebody else (may even be several people) but not each other, it is a very bad sign.
Sex is one the fields where people do not like to change. If I get great physiological satisfaction this exact familiar way why should I change it to something different? If a partner is tired of seeing and hearing the same again and again, well, it’s his problem. Let him change.
Presence (or absence) of aggression in relations is tightly connected with sex. The partner you do not feel aggression to does not excite. That is why when people start playing childish or parental roles in relationship (persistently acting like “a baby” or like a mentor teaching a partner the right way to live) sex disappears quickly.
In order to sustain a desirable level of sexuality in relations it is preferable to stick to roles of aggressive and impudent animals.
Once attention of your partner was fully absorbed by you and he had no more time left for anything else. It may be the same now, but have a close look at the interests he has developed lately. TV? What programs? Internet? What sites? Food? What kind of food? Sport? And so on. He may, of course, have a habit of changing his hobbies one going after another. Or maybe you now spend less time together. Or it even may be more complicated, like with sex, and you spend together the same amount of time as before but think of different matters.
I would pay special attention to the occupations your partner tended to exclude from his/her cope of interests as you do not approve of them. Now (s)he is ignoring your displeasure reading the books you do not like, watching TV programs you consider harmful or improper, buying clothes that do not suit him in your opinion, meeting or corresponding with people you hate. These are manifestations of hidden (and rather often unconscious) protest, and they suggest rift in relations. Ecology is being destroyed, the Leader and Follower roles become vague, and meaning collapses. But ask yourself a question who the authority for your partner is if you are not anymore, who he takes cue from.
If the situation is opposite and he is not an authority for you, pedestals don’t stay empty for long. Somebody will probably come into your life soon. Or has he already come? No? Maybe you haven’t realized it yet, have you?
Sudden and ardent phrases like “We are together forever” may evidence of a person being seriously thinking about it (are we together forever?). If there is a deep inner confidence that you are forever together how could the idea to assure you of it come to his mind given the fact that you had not ask about it?
It is akin to repairs, a woman starts dreaming up of dating her own husband as if he is a stranger as if it is a kind of romance. There seem to be nothing wrong about it but one thing: these fantasies are often shared by clients abandoned by their wives when they come for consultancy. I think that subconscious of a respectful woman does not allow her to think about infidelity in straight lines but subtly palms off fantasies of new relations with the husband instead which allows these fantasies to legitimately grow and gain strength. And finally husband’s place is occupied by somebody else.
If there has never been any frankness in relations I am not sure these relations were of any worth. But if there was honesty and then partners started restricting access to the phones and computers with passwords, leaving the room on telephones calls, minimizing browser with a husband or wife passing by it is beyond a joke, it is not for “no reason”. It means that trust has gone, that something is kept secret. If you have noticed anything of the mentioned above, believe me, it is the subject for a serious conversation.
It turns out that every person starting a relationship makes bets. Consciously or unconsciously (s)he counts on relationship with this or that person to bring a number of significant benefits. It makes the person cooperate until (s)he thinks the bet will win.
But rather often the person finds out that the time has been wasted and the expectations have not been met. As a result one loses motivation to relations, “is working” in relations half-heartedly and secretly (it is often a secret for herself or himself) hopes for somebody to make a better bet on to appear on the scene.
It is a deep symptom which is not easy to see and which is probably the key to relations. Our society is not yet ready to accept the idea that personal relations (like any other type of relations) are exchange, nobody loves other person for nothing, people draw up the balance all the time without realizing it.
Will you agree that it is not easy to satisfy demands a partner does not articulate as (s)he does not know about their existence thinking in a simple way of “two halves having met each other”? But if we want to build manageable ecological relations awareness should be raised in everything associated with interaction of partners.
Cooling down in relations is definitely a natural process, especially for those people who understand relations not as educational and developmental means but as a terminus, as a permanent place of residence. These people are faced with cooling down very quickly. At the same time we are not likely to find a couple after 3-4 years of relations being the same as “on the very first day”.
What advice do I want to give? It will be more than one piece of advice.
а. Closely watch your relations. If you see some of the symptoms described above just remember that people are together because they satisfy some essential needs and demands of each other. If people cool down it means either they have acquired new needs and demands which the partner should learn to satisfy or old demands are not satisfied any more.
b. “Keep improving your skills of interpersonal communication”. Learn to talk to each other, develop this qualification. It is never enough. Our School offers all possible opportunities for this, but there are plenty of other schools to refer to as well.
c. Stay relaxed. Relations are a rather calm process (except for its first stages) unfolding in time. Learn the Bear Way, learn to softly manage the process. Don’t be in a hurry; don’t panic on the least occasion, losing your breath.
d. Remember that standard ways of developing relations cease working at a definite stage. It is called the “Monkey Step”, when you have to invent your own ways to save relations which can be too bizarre to share them with anybody else. But if you are lucky to come across love it is worth every effort to keep it.