It seems to be the most common question I get from people. What do I do if I love my partner but I’m not IN LOVE anymore? The relationship isn’t all bad but I wonder if I could have a better one.
Sometimes feelings of ambivalence show up in plenty of “good enough” relationships when things change in the environment. Your sexual opportunities could have suddenly increased because you lost weight or started at new job or school. Or, your partner’s romantic ideal could have taken a ding if he or she has lost her job (with the ensuing loss of self-esteem) or gained weight, or appears to be taking the relationship for granted and not doing the work of relationship maintenance.
All those situations aren’t necessarily ground for a relationship mutiny, especially if children are involved, but they can be a signal that your life needs to have some regular relationship tune ups. Read here about things you can do for your relationship today.
But I will tell you this. There are four things that make a relationship a toxic place for you to grow and an even more dangerous place for children. And if any of these things exist, it may be time to stop rationalizing your partner’s behavior and move on:
1. Drug or alcohol abuse
2. Domestic violence
3. Child abuse (emotional or physical)
4. Chronic cheating
But other than those four toxic traits, most relationships can be improved with a little tender love and care. Like a garden that needs eater, sun, and nutrition, a relationship needs alone time, communication, and healthy conflict resolution skills, all things that can be learned.
One thought on “FOR COUPLES: Is Your Relationship About to End?”
sigh. “Toxic traits”? Substance use disorders #1 on the list? This is what I just read…
It may be time to end the relationship if the person you thought you loved is suffering from a substance use disorder. Regardless of the evidence that a supportive social environment is key to your supposed loved ones ability to heal, you may want to consider abandoning them when they need you most. Personality theory describes a trait as an aspect of an individuals personality that is permanent and is unlikely to ever change. Those with a substance use disorder are the same as people that beat their wives and abuse children, they have toxic traits. Although the term toxic trait is not one of the big five personality traits, nor is it a term that any psychologist would recognize, I use it here because it is catchy and it makes complicated issues easy for my audience to understand.
Other than chronic cheaters and those toxic people previously mentioned, most people can make a relationship work by simply providing a little love and care. A relationship with a partner that is a sociopath or has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, or really anything in the DSM for that matter, other than substance use disorder is like a garden, and I have just provided you with all of the fertilizer it needs in order to grow. Just remember to focus on what is wrong with the other person and ignore any suggestion of co-dependency and things will be just fine.