Anonymous asked: How do you fall back in love with your partner? Ive been with my bf for two years, and weve both changed a lot, but we still very much want to be together. The problem is, even though Im committed, I really don't feel romantic love or attraction for him anymore. Hes just kind of like a good friend. I want to be madly in love with him again... but I dont know how to get there. He has no problems with this, and is still passionatly in love with me, so I feel like the bad guy feeling this way.
I think you’re actually asking how to fall back in passion with your partner, and I don’t know if there’s a solid answer to that one. Think about what exactly influenced the passion you felt in the first stages of your relationship… it was the newness, the mystery, the uncertainty. Passion is based on something called an “intimacy game” in which two people take turns exchanging information about themselves in order to secure the other’s interest and make yourself seem desirable. We all do it, and it’s what drives us to “flirt” and makes us feel nervous before the first several dates because of the pending anxiety of not knowing whether it’ll go well or not.
As two people learn one another, the familiarity grows and the uncertainty fades. Love starts to feel less like a game, and more like a choice. I’m not saying that romance is doomed to fizzle out and never return, but I am pointing out that love isn’t a perpetual incline.
Sternberg, a psychologist who presented the concept of the Triangular Love Theory, explains that love consists of three factors: passion, commitment, and intimacy. Even in the healthiest relationships, passion will fluctuate, but if commitment and intimacy remain, the relationship is sustainable. Of course, it’s normal and okay to desire the factor of passion, and I think it’s practical to work towards that… but isn’t that the tricky part? We typically don’t have to “work” for the first months of passion… it is just a by-product of uncharted territory… which brings me to my next point.
You said that you’ve both changed a lot, and I think this is good news. Everyone changes, and hopefully, it is for the better. I’m guessing that y’all haven’t changed for the worst, or y’all probably still wouldn’t have the factors of intimacy or commitment adhering you two together. I recently made a post that said, “You are not a novel to be read and finished. You are a journey to be taken,” and I think that is completely relevant to what you’re experiencing. We have to remember that every individual is remarkably unique, and we have to choose to have an attitude of admiration towards each other—seeking to further explore each other’s minds and hearts. When we convince ourselves that we’ve figured a person out, they appear dull and expired. But this is not the case, and if we are going to ever be able to navigate through a relationship that feels like a gift, rather than a burden—an adventure, rather than a re-run—we have got to retrace our steps and realize how much beauty there is to see. Don’t assume that you fully understand any person. Don’t confine them to your understanding. Continue to peel back each other’s layers, encourage each other to flourish and be all they’re capable of being, support each other in this stead-fast day-to-day lifetime of shedding our previous chapter and experiencing a slow and constant character development.
Give him a reason to re-learn your heart, and never stop looking for a new reason to re-learn his. In relationships, we build trust, but with the security of commitment, we’ve got to enjoy the freedom of making our lives as lovely as they have the potential to be. If you both have a heart for Christ, you are both beckoned into a love affair with your maker, and in that ultimate theme, you will both be called into various seasons of life. We’ve got to realize what an honor it is to share life and support each other through every peak and valley. If you don’t want to be in a relationship with him any longer, that is fine, but if you do, know that you don’t have to settle for a mundane, stale love.