Love or habit? Why do some couples stay together, why do others break up? Which decision is right for you? The following considerations will help.
Especially in long-term relationships, there are moments or phases when the partnership is questioned. Where one or both of you think: Should this be it now? Will it always go on in this rut? And where have our spontaneity and passion gone? We rarely let ourselves be lured behind the stove anymore. Some also ask themselves: Am I only in this connection out of habit, because it is somehow practical and familiar? A Famous Family therapist explains why it’s perfectly okay to move through everyday relationship life in a relaxed way, and when things have perhaps become too “ordinary” between the two.
The decisive factor is satisfaction
Before anyone tries to put the stamp of “habit” or “love” on their relationship, the most important thing is to answer the question: What am I satisfied with? Because there are people who have become accustomed to each other, live their daily routine and can still say that they are satisfied as a couple. Who would deny them that? For others, that might be hard to imagine. They have other demands on the encounters and on what should take place in their life together so that it feels good. The decisive factor in the initial question is therefore how it is with regard to personal satisfaction and how it looks with the partner. What others do about it should be beside the point here.
Sometimes, however, one wavers and is unsure whether the waters may not have become too shallow. Especially in long-term relationships. Then, not infrequently, a voice becomes audible that asks: Is this still enough for me? The moment is critical and requires a confrontation with the situation, one’s own part in it and that of the partner, in order to see whether one can still get out of this situation, which is perceived as a valley, together.
What are bad habits?
Clear indicators that the habit is not perceived as pleasant is the accumulation of the following thoughts:
– Do I have to go along with this again today?.
– Secretly, the conversations bore me.
– I’ve heard it all before.
– When was the last time he gave me a really nice compliment …?.
– …And when did I give him one?.
– I’ll be glad if he comes later today and I have some more peace and quiet …
– Not again …!.
– What my girlfriend is doing right now, I find much more exciting.
– Oops, the new guy in the company appeared in my wonderful dream tonight.
– The people at the next table are having a lot of fun (in contrast to us).
– I can’t hear it anymore!.
– What did he say? I wasn’t really listening.
– Now he makes this face again …. .
– This silence feels kind of weird.
– I would like to talk to him. But about what?.
– Do you really want me to suggest that to him? He thinks I’m crazy.
– When was the last time we actually cuddled?.
– His stinginess is unbearable when it comes to common things.
– Running away would be nice too.
Advantages of habit
It is important to know, however, with all these indications of possibly too much habit, that some everyday routine can be very pleasant and sooner or later takes more space in every relationship. This is a completely normal process that has to do, among other things, with the fact that you have adjusted well to each other over time and many questions have been clarified.
No short-circuit decisions
Therefore, before ending the relationship hastily out of fear of habit, it is important to look at what I myself can change about my dissatisfaction. Where I myself can bring a breath of fresh air into my life, which perhaps also blows my relationship through a bit.
After all, long relationships are not self-sustaining, but require good care. Like a plant. Every now and then it needs some fertilizer, new soil, and perhaps a change of location to grow and mature. Sometimes a few old shoots have to be cut or pruned back, so that the strength goes into the new and fertile parts. Here it is important to allow and develop more creativity again, how exactly this nurturing of the partnership could look like.
Nurture the relationship
If both partners are willing to be the gardeners for their relationship, then each can rest for a while in the part of the habit that is allowed to run itself until the relationship needs a little more attention because a new season has begun. If you don’t have a green relationship thumb, you can learn something in couples therapy. But often it is enough to give yourself a push and take good care of yourself again. That always rubs off positively on the relationship.
To stay in botanical language, it is also the case that sometimes the root ball has to be divided and replanted so that both parts have air and space to grow again. This works for perennials, but not for oaks.
Nature often shows us what the best conditions are for further growth. And we humans are nature, too, after all. It therefore makes sense to listen to yourself, which plant possibly corresponds to your own nature and in which developmental phase you are currently experiencing yourself and also your partner. Then you “only” need to follow your needs so that the life you lead feels good again.