Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Avoiding Relationship Stagnation

Stagnation: Why Do Relationships Stagnate, and What To Do To Avoid It?

If you're in a relationship for any length of time, it is only natural that you will experience ups and downs. The most difficult to spot problem in relationships is stagnation. What are the stagnation warning signs:

  • You often bite your tongue;
  • Diminished sexual frequency;
  • Heart-to-heart talks replaced by daily events;
  • Someone acts untrustworthy;
  • Outside flirtations;
  • "I love you" said less often;
  • Lack of variety, less creativity;
  • Failure to gift;
  • Someone gets fat or flabby or stops dressing up;
  • Nobody rocks the boat
Do these flags of stagnation sound familiar to you? Stagnation can cause complacency in a relationship. Complacency leads to repressed feelings, which leads to resentment, which can lead to a boiling over and possibly even a break-up of the relationship. So, it is better to spot these signs and do something quickly to correct it first!

You can avoid relationship stagnation through several ways:

1. Increase heart-to-heart communication.

When I suggest you increase your heart-to-heart communication, I'm talking about sharing things you'd like to see happen to reinforce your core values. If you do this, rather than bite your tongue when things you'd like don't happen, you will experience a stronger, more honest, and deeper level of communication with your partner. Heart-to-heart communication also keeps a deep bond of love built between you that will reduce the odds of infidelity, financial mischief, and/or other things like ignoring hurt feelings.

2. Increase the romance.

Sometimes, we experience stagnation because we forget that what often draws couples together is the romance. We stop doing the things we enjoyed: walks on the beach, wine-tasting and weekends in bed & breakfasts, skating/skiing/sailing/bowling/miniature golf/dancing or whatever. We forget to leave little notes (handwritten, preferentially) for our partner. We fail to say "I love you" to each other. We stop lingering for a longer kiss when we say "goodbye" in the morning or "hi" in the evening. We go to sleep without making love. So, DO all these types of things again, and see if your partner doesn't notice!

3. Remember to gift her.

This one is written for the men, but men also like receiving a gift every now and then, too. Gifts can be our little ways of reminding our partner that we love them. Make sure to keep little gifts flowing throughout the relationship, and mix it up. You might surprise your partner.

4. Be a hot sex kitten for him.

This one is written more for the women. Men like it when women are a bit of a sex kitten, coming on to him, surprising him with new lingerie, or doing something special, sexually, that turns him on. Think I'm wrong? Then why oh why are there so many strip clubs dotting almost every city in America?

5. Remember to show each other respect.

If you've started calling your partner bad names, complaining to them frequently (especially if they've observed and asked you to stop), or allowed other people (in-laws, children) to show your partner disrespect, you must realize that all of that is negative and will decrease your relationship "love bank" and may even result in termination of your relationship. Respect, Hope, Joy, Love, are all cornerstones of a successful loving relationship. If you're complacent, there's a very large chance that respect, on some level, has slipped. Rebuilt it, treat your partner #1 the way you'd want to be treated (or at least, the way THEY want to be treated).

6. Keep yourself up.

If you've gained excessive weight, gotten flabby, or otherwise fail to dress up around each other, you're not only showing yourself disrespect, you're also showing your partner disrespect. You've become relationship-lazy. This is a sure sign of complacency. If you want to keep your love strong, continue to look your best even after you are a committed couple. Keep yourself in shape even after injuries, childbirth, and other life events. If you continue to look your best, your partner is less apt to stray and more apt to be in love with you on an ongoing basis.

7. Act trustworthy.

Are you doing anything untrustworthy in your relationship? Any sign of infidelity is a symptom of complacency at the core. Are you keeping secrets from your partner regarding money, flirtations, health, children, friendships (friends saying bad things about them), or other things like this? If you are, you're allowing a dark seed of complacency to undermine your love. If your trust becomes eroded deeply, the whole house of cards will collapse. It is better to build a relationship on solid ground. If you are not acting trustworthy, I will ask you "how would you like for them to act when you are not around?" and request that you act that way. When you act in a trustworthy way, you build the deepest bond a relationship can build.

8. Mix up your sex life.

It might be time to break out the "Kama Sutra" or "Joy of Sex" if you've been sexually complacent. If you've stopped having sex as often, take the initiative and do it in a room you've never done it before. Go somewhere new and do it there. Suggest a new position. Flirt with your partner, tease them a little, then give it to them with all the fire you can muster. This is sure to rekindle some spark in your relationship!

These are the basic suggestions I can offer to help you avoid relationship stagnation and stop the complacency from eroding the foundation of a loving, healthy, and happy relationship. If you're missing out on all the deepest love you might receive, try a few of these things to see if you can't rebuild something truly special, deeper, and more loving than you ever dreamed of!

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