We’ve all been there, the stage when we are falling in love with a person and everything feels so perfect. An expert says: It’s perfectly normal to go through this process but what happens next? How do we mature from this infatuation into something more stable and sustainable? How do we manage to deal with our partner’s flaws once we get past the butterflies-in-the-stomach stage?
Chandni Tugnait, a psychotherapist, life and business coach, and founder-director of Gateway of Healing, says there are many reasons why people become emotionally unavailable to their partners. Tugnait talks about what one can do about this disconnect:
Getting too caught up in the infatuation phase
Falling head over heels for someone isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Some people enter relationships rather slowly, taking time to really get to know the other person and letting themselves fall slowly, whereas others rush into relationships and focus only on the good things. To some extent, all of us have rose-tinted glasses on, when we are infatuated with someone; everything about our new love-interest feels perfect, therefore we conclude that they must be right for us. We might also tend to neglect the issues in the relationship as a whole because we are driven by an intense need for completion that makes it hard for us to see things objectively. For this reason, people can get disappointed in their partners once they come out of this infatuation stage simply because they expect certain things from them that were never established.
No personal boundaries
Setting your own boundaries is something that many of us struggle with, especially in romantic relationships. It can feel scary to put a certain distance between you and your partner and it can be hard to find that right balance between getting too close and being suffocated by the relationship. However, having solid boundaries would allow you to enjoy this relationship while not losing yourself in it.
They have unrealistic expectations
Having realistic expectations about what you are entering into when you start a serious relationship is very important for the success of the relationship. A lot of people tend to set themselves up for failure as they create unrealistic expectations; for example, they might expect their partner to always be available and willing to put their relationship first, leaving other things aside.
Having problems accepting your own flaws
The best way for your partner not to feel overwhelmed by your flaws is simply by first accepting them yourself. There are many people who refuse to take responsibility for some of the things they do wrong in relationships, yet they still get upset when their loved ones point out those flaws which in turn fuels the conflict between them. It is also very important to be empathetic towards your partner and try to understand their point of view so that you can establish a healthy communication.
They stop putting in effort
Putting in some sort of effort is what will keep relationships alive. When people stop trying to make things work it usually means that they have lost interest in the relationship but still want to hold on to it for as long as possible; usually because they are afraid of being alone or lonely.
They start thinking that they don’t deserve better
A lot of us enter new relationships with the idea that we don’t deserve someone better and therefore we end up accepting all sorts of unacceptable behaviour from our partners. We might even be in this situation ourselves! Think about that for a second; when you think that you don’t deserve better, it means that one day you will stop making an effort to find someone who is actually good for you because deep down, the idea that, “they are as good as it gets” still lingers.
They stop seeing their partner’s flaws
A relationship can only work if both people acknowledge each other’s flaws and learn how to deal with them accordingly. For example, if your partner has anger management issues, much care needs to be taken so they don’t lash out at you when they get mad or hold a grudge after they calm down. However, this can only happen if both partners are willing to talk about their flaws and improve the way they act on them.
They don’t express their feelings
Even when it comes to expressing our feelings, some people tend to take things too far by saying everything that pops into their head without thinking or saying nothing and suppressing it all. This usually results in an overload or lack of information, respectively, that makes it hard for anyone to keep up with what’s going on. The worst part is that this never allows your partner to fully understand how you feel so they won’t be able to comfort you and help you through difficult situations. Expressing yourself is very important as you learn about what bothers you and how you can fix it while enabling your partner to understand and comfort you.
They start thinking that they don’t deserve to be happy
Again, this goes back to the point we talked about earlier, when you think that you don’t deserve better and therefore end up accepting all kinds of bad behaviour from your partner. This also leads to a feeling of apathy because no matter what happens, your life will always remain stuck in the same place where it is hard for anything new or exciting to happen. This in turn, makes you feel unhappy.
They try taking control over their relationship
This usually happens when people are afraid of losing their loved ones so they try doing whatever it takes in order to keep them around as long as possible. However, trying to control every aspect of a relationship usually results in a lack of communication, emotionally suffocating the partner, nagging, sulking, and prevents any kind of healthy relationship from emerging.
They isolate themselves
Being emotionally unavailable to the point when you stop having friends can be very dangerous because when there is no one around to support you, it will be harder for your partner to do so as well. This makes the situation even worse because it becomes more and more difficult for anyone to help you break out of that vicious cycle.
They are simply lazy
Some people are unable to complete tasks or maintain good habits once they stop thinking about what would happen if they fail at something. For instance, it’s easy to cancel your plans last minute a couple of times but as those habits stack up over time, your partner will start feeling that their presence does not matter much and this usually leads to an emotionally abusive relationship.
They think the grass is greener on the other side
Some people always want more, no matter what. Often, it results in their relationships deteriorating because they seek for better things outside even if they already have everything in and around them. Over time, you can develop an attitude of constantly wanting something else or expecting too much from your partner as well and this may cause them to feel less loved by you.
They lose themselves along the way
Sometimes, we forget about our feelings or desires because we let ourselves get carried away with day-to-day chores. This usually happens after long-term relationships where partners start feeling like they cannot do anything without having their significant other around all the time to support them and make everything better. In the end, it’s hard to feel like you have your own identity because the other person starts taking too much control over your life.
They get comfortable with the routine
Some people don’t know how to get out of a rut so they do nothing about it and this results in them feeling stuck with their partner on an emotional level as well. This usually happens when one becomes complacent with the current situation and stops caring about improving things between them. If you let these opportunities for change slip away from you, what would remain is simply a relationship that no longer exists or one that doesn’t have value anymore.
They become toxic themselves
Sometimes people just become emotionally unavailable because of their own issues which stem from past experiences or by being exposed to those experiencing them, for too long. If you surround yourself with destructive people, sooner or later you will start developing a lifestyle based on toxicity which would invariably be unfavourable for everybody around you.
Be mindful, take responsibility and nurture the relationship with your partner by being emotionally available to them and allowing the same for yourself too. Reaffirm commitment, surprise your partner and most importantly, be available for them.