Falling In and Out of Love
By Veronica Monet
You recognize the signs. You have seen this movie before. When you first met it was wonderful. Everything your romantic partner said and did was amazing or at least charming. You laughed at his or her foibles. It was easier to forgive then. But now there is a cold wind blowing and it isn’t outside—it is in your home!
You find yourself dreading walking in that door. Sometimes it seems as if you could cut the tension with a knife. The silence between the two of you has taken on epic proportions. You do your thing and your partner does his or her thing. Although you both live in the same house, it no longer reminds you of Home Sweet Home. And late at night when your partner is lying next to you fast asleep, you wonder what happened.
If you aren’t careful the tears start down your cheeks. But mostly you find ways to distract yourself and pretend you feel the same hope and excitement that you did when you first embarked on this relationship.
Is it time for you to leave? Should you live alone for awhile? Or could couple’s counseling be the solution? What about a new sex toy or an erotic movie? There must be something that could revive your romance and make you both feel fully alive again. But what?
We all find our own answers to these questions but when I found myself experiencing these sad and frustrating emotions in my marriage, I discovered that every time we worked on our communication skills, our sex life got better. That became my incentive to do the homework. After all, I really enjoyed having hot sex with my husband.
But the change that ended up making the biggest difference in both of our lives was that we finally stopped having the same fights over and over and over again! What a relief that was. I can’t tell you how many times we would reenact the same arguments word for word. It was like a collection of broken records. We were so well rehearsed it really didn’t matter who was saying what anymore; we seemed addicted to conflict.
Once we both agreed to give up our old ways and learn some new ways of relating to each other, everything improved. It became so much easier to get through mundane tasks such as paying the bills or planning a vacation. But what meant the most to me was that things I had waited all my life to say to someone who would actually hear me and feel my pain were now finding a friendly ear with my husband. As he learned how to really listen to me—not just say “uh huh” but actually look deep into my eyes and “get it”—it was as if someone had let me out of a prison I had been locked up in all my life.
Falling in love all over again was easy at that point. My husband became the father I never had, my knight in shining armor, and my very best friend. It was so simple too. After we both learned to speak and listen to each other in a new way, it became apparent that we had wasted a lot of time casting each other as the enemy. The fact was that we always did love each other but the excruciating pain of being misunderstood and falsely accused had become unbearable. It might be hilarious if it weren’t so tragic.
In retrospect, I am still saddened at the time that was lost to fear and defensiveness and the need to “win.” But I understand we didn’t know how to talk to each other any differently. After all, our parents had engaged in the same arguments before we were ever born. We were simply carrying on the tradition of bickering, name-calling, and character assassination.
Although we are no longer married, my ex-husband is still my very best friend. And after 25 years of knowing him I can honestly say that I love him more today than I ever did. Our love and our friendship continue to grow deeper with each passing year. What a gift.
Love is an open-ended miracle and if you give it the right fuel it can take you places you never dared to dream of.
Veronica Monet, ACS, is a certified sexologist and a relationship coach specializing in active listening, problem-solving, anger management, and healthy assertion skills. Find her ad in this issue, visit her website at www.sexwithoutshame.com, or call her toll free at 888-903-0050.