Who are the people in your life you value? What have you done lately to create a better relationship with them? We typically put considerable time and conscious effort into developing relationships at the beginning. Once a relationship is established, however, it can be all too easy to enter the next stage of the relationship – taking each other for granted. The good news is that relationships can be a source of companionship, love and comfort when there is understanding and peace. The bad news is that comfort can sometimes bring about complacency and perceived disinterest. So the question is how can a relationship stay fresh?
In order for a relationship to maintain freshness, acceptance and meeting of expectations are critical. When unrealistic expectations enter into the equation, disillusionment with the other person develops. Were these unrealistic expectations present from the beginning or has something changed? Evaluating our perspectives and our goals is essential to identifying where things may have gotten off track and can help as we work to begin again.
Communication is essential. When relationships first begin, communication has a high priority as we seek to learn more about the other person and the “us” in the relationship. The beginning is filled with sharing and being part of each other’s lives. You can start rekindling that kind of communication in small ways by being creative. Texting, phone conversations, writing and sending surprise notes hidden in a packed lunch or in an appointment book are simple but can go a long way toward keeping things new and fresh. How do you want the other person to think about you during the day?
Reflect back to the time when you were enjoying and anticipating being together and the circumstances that set the stage for this. Talk with one another about that time and reflect on what you enjoyed doing together the most. Then purposefully schedule time and make plans to share experiences with each other and to create new memories.
After evaluating the relationship and working to gain perspective, you may realize that you could benefit from support. Find a good mental health therapist and get started. If you find out after 4 or 5 appointments that you are back on track, then you’re ready to move forward on your own and you’ve saved a lot of time and heartache down the road.