Welcome to the final week in our series of blogs regarding relationships. This week we explore how becoming aware of the unconscious habits that affect our relationships can help us avoid repeating the same mistakes again.
Most theories about relationships involve some sort of ‘relationship cycle’. Although the number and type of stages identified in each ‘cycle’ may differ, several common themes may be found in all relationship theories.
The following is an overview of just some of the stages that we move through in relationships and the critical stage that allows us to move back into a positive space when things aren’t quite as we want them to be.
Typically when we meet a prospective partner the first thing we experience is attraction. This often happens at an unconscious level and allows us to form an instantaneous bond with our partner that develops into infatuation.
From infatuation we progress to a stage where we experience an overload of appreciation. Everything our partner does for us and everything we do for our partner is wrapped up in appreciation and gratitude.
Sometime after, we move into habituation where we become used to each other. This can be a comfortable time for both parties.
However shortly after habituation comes expectation and this is where the relationship cycle becomes interesting. Say for example if each day since we’ve met I bring you a cup of tea in the morning. At first you are really appreciative of this. It’s a small gesture but it means a lot. As we become habituated to each other you then begin to expect that cup of tea each morning and you move out of appreciation and gratitude into expectation.
So what happens if one morning I forget and you have to make your own tea? Disappointment and disillusionment creeps in and this is a common stage in relationships.
Often what happens next determines the longevity of the relationship. Many people find that they reach a threshold where the disappointment or compromises they feel they have to make are just too much and the relationship ends.
So what can you do to prevent it happening? Gratitude is the key to success. Think about the things that your partner does for you and let them know you appreciate them. Keep in mind that your partner may speak a different ‘love language’ to you so try to take everything into consideration.
Relationships need to be nurtured and cared for so keep looking for things that make you thankful that you are with your partner and remember that just as we get into bad habits we can also get out of them.