“Where does love go?”
This was a question a woman asked me the first time we met. Through the years, we’ve shared many amazing conversations about men, women, love, sex and relationships yet, this one question still stands out. Its simplicity is obvious yet, the answer is as complex as anything we’ve ever discussed.
Or is it?
What Happens to Love in a Long Term Relationship?
How does it feel when you wake up and realize the love between you and your partner has apparently faded away? That things are just not the same between you? That there is no passion left? That things are, more often than not, acrimonious between the two of you and you’re more like business associates at best or adversaries at worst, than lovers?
My friend and I were discussing the fact that my wife had just moved out of our home. After nearly 2 years of living under the same roof, but sleeping in different rooms, she finally moved out. My friends’ long-term romantic relationship had also recently ended. Thus, we got to discussing what happens to love in long term relationships. That’s when she asked me “where does love go?”
In the blog post What’s Really Killing Your Marriage, I describe one of the things that, if couples allow, replaces romantic energy with apathy, leading to a seeming loss of love. But, sharing a domestic life is one of the main goals of romantic relationships. Living together, waking up next to each other, creating a family, building a family home together, sharing EVERYTHING that life throws at you…together.
So, how do you NOT let domestic energy push romance and romantic energy to the point of extinction in your romantic relationships?
Love is no Longer Something you Feel
You need to make love a choice. You need to make a conscious decision, every day to “do” love. It’s as easy and as difficult as that.
When we fall in love, it’s so easy. Hormones, newness, nothing stopping us or getting in the way of us finding out EVERYTHING about each other, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and, perhaps the most fun, physically. But, at some point, love changes, it morphs, it becomes something that the Disney fairy tales never show us. It can become hard, mundane, even boring if we let it. And, unfortunately, too many people let it.
It’s at this point where love becomes something else. Love becomes something that we need to DO. It is no longer a feeling. Oh, we can certainly feel love for our partner but, the way to maintain that feeling, even to grow it stronger and stronger, is to make doing love an active choice.
You Need to Make Love a Verb
So, what does doing love look like? Well, there are as many ways to do love as there are people. You know what your partner responds to. If not, time to find out. And no, this is not about sex (or ONLY about sex). Doing love creates a space where sex can happen, more naturally and more freely than perhaps ever but, sex is not the end goal.
Holding hands, making time for each other, cooking her favorite meal, doing something nice for her without any expectation of anything in return. These are all simple examples of doing love.
Well, she doesn’t do love for me so I won’t do love for her!
I’ve heard this so many times and my answer is always the same.
How has that attitude served you so far?
Do love. Give it a try. Start small. Just start. I believe you will be amazed at the results.
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