Falling Back in Love

Back in 2005, we heard the bittersweet story of Clive and Deborah Wearing. Clive is the gentleman who falls in love with his wife Deborah every time he sees her. He compliments and whispers sweet nothings into his wife’s ear. A beautiful moment we all wish for when our significant other sees us! However, the bitter part of the tale is that Clive oblivious to the fact he has been married to Deborah for over two decades; Clive fell victim to an unfortunate brain destroying virus that ate away at the part of his brain necessary for memory, thus follows is one of the most extreme cases of total amnesia in history. Despite all this, Louis France from The Guardian notes “They look and sound like they've just this moment fallen in love” with Clive clutching Deborah’s arm, “They make an elegant pair, one of those couples that naturally seem to fit together.”

Love is a crazy thing and it is something that can be felt as well as seen by others; take for instance Deborah and Clive “naturally fitting” as a couple, It is a compliment couples receive with the occasional leaning in or a slight touching of the hands being the most recognizable moments, especially in the likes of newly married royals, HRH the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. In the likes of the Royals, their body language is frequently decoded in the press, either presenting how they’re going from strength to strength or how one looking in the other direction indicates their marriage is in peril, when in fact they are very much just being a couple and may not even acknowledge their own movements. Both love tales of Meghan and Harry and Deborah and Clive are just small external glimpses into the shared lives of two people, there is a lot more than what meets the eye. 

So, how can we fall back in love the right way?

Whilst we don’t wish for a virus to destroy our memory function for us to be able to fall in love with our partners over and over again, the more practical route is instead the more mindful and proactive approach. You can begin to enjoy their actions and as well as your own too. This article will take you through the phases and how to get the best out of a bad situation. 

Honestly speaking, the first stage of falling out of love with your partner undermines our mindsets, our abilities and worse of all, our egos. However, when it does, the foremost thing to remember is that it can happen to any couple at any time in the relationship, we have our reasons and we are wanting and willing to mend things. Be prepared fortruthfulness, communication anda sense of realitybecause trying to force yourself to fall back into love with your partner can seem like a dangerous, dirty minefield, hence why it isn’t something to be forced! Relationships deserve work, they deserve time and effort from both sides. Ultimately, together you will reap the rewards and they are so worth it!

Given we are not alone in this relationship, we still might feel “cold and blue” the first thing to do is to get your mentality straight. Often, in times of stress we avoid, deny and push. By “stonewalling” and inevitably pushing others away, we are closing off, disengaging and forcing ourselves into a metaphorical rabbit hole. “According to the marital expert Dr John Gottman one of the destructive communication patterns that contradict love and really destroy relationships is the act of stonewalling or silent treatment. It is especially destructive to relationships because it can make one’s partner feel abandoned and rejected”. Bearing in mind Dr Gottman’s acknowledgement of our partner in this situation, we may end up losing things we don’t wish to lose in pure denial, sometimes even to find ourselves become unattached or “unconsciously uncoupled”.

Feeling out of sorts and unlike you, is the biggest cause of losing your own spark and let it be known, trying to rekindle the spark in your relationship with no ignition (your energy) will not work. Your mindset is the catalyst to everything, it can be the thing that speeds the process up or down. A positive and embracing outlook will exude outward, and ultimately attract the same energy back into your life, even if you don’t feel it. Much like the “Superhero Stance” (the standing in the classic strong comic book superhero pose) radiates outwards and allows you to feel just as powerful or confident as one would as a superhero (if they were real that is) Robin S. Rosenburg (Ph.D.) mentions in her article for Psychology Today.

Of course, whilst the superhero stance is a temporary solution to overcome mental and physical inhibition, there are determinants of one’s wellbeing and mindset, outside of just a pose. Stress is one of the biggest reasons for us to feel under or overwhelmed with emotion and mental turmoil. Inner happiness and life satisfaction present in all shapes and forms, but the key is our relationships, whether they are intimate or not. The BBC promoted an article highlighting mental health and relationships are the significant to happiness, as recorded by OECD and the London School of Economics (LSE). They describe in the instance of “having a partner increases one’s happiness by 0.6, and alternatively losing a partner by separation or death saw the same impact downwards.”. The report’s co-author Professor Richard Layard said the findings meant “the things that matter most for our happiness and for our misery are our social relationships and our mental and physical health”.

In reality, we must make an ongoing and honest effort to communicate with our partners. This will allow us to avoid the negative domino effect of our emotions in both our lives and theirs. However, this comes with awareness of one’s self in the context of “understanding of how you are designed — what you do well, what motivates and satisfies you, which people and situations push your buttons” Michelle Gooch, Transition Coach, describes in her blog the “emotional domino effect” being cognizant for our feelings and our actions will ultimately make us better people and individuals. We will consider our actions as well as our surroundings. We will be attentive to ourselves and our mind. Michelle also notes, feelings don’t have to be associated with just one word, thus label-free feelings and thoughts are a great place to start not only with yourself but also when speaking to your partner about your feelings too. 

Understandably and inevitably, discussing such a topic with our partners is going to be difficult but our partners are our other halves, loving you for better or worse and in sickness and health (yes, the “cliché vow” has made an appearance, but it is the truth). What is more, your honesty will be valued, your partner will respect you and your feelings and will be understanding. Barton Goldsmith Ph.D. evaluates honesty and communication when in a relationship - “having an honest relationship creates a kind of buffer between you and the difficulties of the world. Having a partner, you can trust and rely on also makes it easier to take those risks that help us grow.” “When you know you can totally trust your partner, it removes a large potential for worry. It also builds your internal security so that you not only feel good about your partner, but you also feel better about life”. Furthermore, like you, they will also be willing to listen to you and assist where possible, after all as the common saying goes “A problem shared is a problem halved!”

So, where do you go from here trying to actively rebuild your love?

Things will take time to repair but remember the best things in life don’t come free or quickly. Your partner will need as much space as you had to process things in a clear and meaningful way too. Giving them time and the free space to discuss things from their point of view will also allow you both to establish your needs and wants in this new time. As people, we grow and evolve, we move through different phases of our lives so discussing your ever-changing and ever-growing needs is a huge part of finding your next steps in your relationship. Personal space enables rumination and growth, all of which is normal as it is okay to say you want things to change, yet still work. Wendy Allen, a Santa Barbara Psychotherapist explains “Time apart can bring your togetherness new life. Differentiation in marriage means that instead of two people paddling the same canoe, each person paddles their own, side by side," This clear space cultivates positivity and can reenergize you as an individual. You will think about what you want as an individual and lets you think how it can be beneficial to you as a couple.

Recently, Jennifer Barton of the Huffington Post elaborated on the differences in a relationship and how essentially, they keep a couple together. Jennifer notes that opposites attract as they create an equilibrium and allow you to also “up your game too”, they make you want to be better or to be more realistic in your outlooks. Jennifer also mentioned an imperative fact, differences in even your personalities do not mean you have different values, as we know these are a necessity in making a relationship work. Although differences are inevitable and part and parcel in relationships, it is important to do the things your partner likes too, as well as vice versa. Being able to share what you love with someone and to see the happiness it brings is incredibly fulfilling for both parties. The activity, even if it doesn’t go as planned, is an activity shared together and a story to tell. It can bring about joyous moments and sheer happiness that allow your partner to see who you really are. Equally, their smile brightens your day and makes you realise why you fell in love in the first place. 

Furthermore, seeking passionate activities in both the physical and mental state can really spur on the relationship, if it is the spark you’re lacking. Candice Jalili, Senior Sex and Dating Writer at Elite Daily spoke with 19 women and their views of how to keep the passion alive in a relationship. Most often noted is the “staying playful” side of a relationship, whereby they actively date and surprise one another and the occasional cheeky tap on the bottom. The little things can become those bigger things that we adore in our relationships, one woman even writes “There are days I have to tamp down thoughts of how irritated I am that he left the closet door open. Again. I make the choice to close the door and focus on something that reminds me that I love this man. Like smell his pillow, oh I love his scent!”

So, no matter the greatness of the love, it can happen to the best of us! One side of our partnerships loses their sparkle, their charm and losing the thing you love the most will always hurt; however, it is always important to try to get it back. Whether you believe that destiny, good old potluck, or your own brilliance, finding your diamond in the rough is a difficult task and if you have got it, be sure to take care of it, nurture it and give it all the love and attention it needs!