Learning To Love The One You’re With

Falling in love is easy – it’s a natural, spontaneous event that happens to just about everyone at some time or another. Making that love last is the difficult part. The real secret to relationship success is not finding the right person, it’s making it last. That means working at it. If you want your relationship to thrive, the two of you have to put the effort in. Without that, there is no ‘happily ever after’.

When love grows stale

One of the main reasons so many people get divorced, separate, or are unfaithful after seemingly ‘finding the right person’ is, quite simply, boredom. Living with someone and getting on with ordinary everyday life can be mundane. Those early flushes of infatuated love don’t last forever and some people throw themselves headlong into a relationship with fantasy notions of staying like that forever.

The reality is that you need to make an effort every day to find new ways to keep your relationship fresh and exciting. Keeping the flame burning brightly is all about learning to love the one you’re with.

This is easy in the beginning, when everything is new and exciting and you’re still learning things about one another. It’s when familiarity sets in and the inevitable twists and turns of life turn things upside down that the problems begin. Those little things that didn’t bother you in the first months of your relationship suddenly become major annoyances. Throw in the arrival of a baby or a change in personal circumstances, such as work redundancy or illness, and the dynamics between the two of you will change enormously. Now comes the real test of love. To succeed, you have to put more work into your relationship to keep it on an even keel.

It’s about us not you

As the months become years, you may need to re-learn how to love the one you’re with.

Of course, you should be mindful of your own needs and communicate those needs effectively, but now your needs aren’t the primary goal. It’s about both of you. Focussing on yourself and whether or not your needs are being met can result in resentment and unhappiness – for both of you. Instead of focussing on how you feel, consider how your actions affect your partner. Here are some questions you can ask that might help you do that:

Do you treat your partner the way you want to be treated?

Make a list of behaviours that qualify as loving actions. How many do you perform? Which could you do better? Try to see the things that your partner does for you that you might take for granted.

Are you always right?

In an argument that’s going nowhere, the best solution is sometimes to unilaterally disarm. The goal isn’t to win the argument, so be prepared to step back in order to restore peace. Try to see things from your partner’s perspective. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything they say. Agree to disagree, if necessary, but a show of warmth, understanding and physical affection can move you towards a resolution. And the more arguments you can resolve, the more your relationship will improve and the better you will be at fixing issues in future.

What is it you love about your partner?

Focussing on the things that made you want to be with your partner in the first place is one way to revitalise that spark of love. Very often, as time wears on in a relationship, it’s common to look for things to dislike instead of revisiting and reflecting on the things you like about someone.

Is the grass greener on the other side?

There will always be room for doubt. At times in your life you might think, ‘is there better out there?’ Or ‘Is this the person for me?’ But if you keep moving from one relationship to the next, searching for the unattainable, you will never find it. Leave a relationship out of resentment, anger or infidelity and you might never capture that same love again. In some ways, relationships are a reflection of our connection with ourselves. By rejecting your partner, you’re rejecting your own choices.

Finally, ask yourself, do you really want to change the person you love? Instead, focus on what made you love them in the first place.

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