When Passion Fades…

I can help if you need couples therapy in Santa RosaHow did we lose our passion? Where did it go, and how do we get it back?

Do you sometimes feel that the passion in your relationship has faded? Have you found yourself at times knowing you love your partner and, yet, feeling completely unable to connect with warmth and passion?

You Know You Love Each Other, but the Connection has Changed

You and your partner have solved problems, discussed issues, paid the bills, managed your household and perhaps cared for children. You take care of life together. But passionate loving and the feelings related to it are becoming more elusive.

Maybe you’ve forgotten how to be flirtatious, and aren’t sure it would even work anymore. You remember the times when you were “hot” together in the beginning. You find yourself wondering, “How did we lose it; where did it go?”

It Can Happen to Anyone

If any of this feels familiar, you are not alone. Millions of Americans find themselves facing a loss of passion with their romantic partner. You can continue to ignore it and go on with life as usual, but there is a price to pay.

One or both of you may begin struggling with thoughts that it’s over, that love is lost, and that you probably should end it and move on.

Thoughts of being with other people may arise, or you may begin thinking that your partner is having an affair.

You will continue to endure a relationship with little or no sexual or physical contact, or one where it feels forced and routine when you do have it.

All this leaves you feeling unfulfilled, possibly lonely, and you long for real connection, the intimacy and the excitement you lost-and that you know is possible.

The Deadly Myth about Passion

Dr. Barbara is a couples counselor in Santa Rosa.As Americans, we have grown up with a romanticized, fairy-tale-like view of romantic relationships. Although most of us don’t think about this consciously, our belief goes something like this:

  1. You meet, feel an intense attraction and end up “falling” in love. Passion is a natural outgrowth of this love.
  2. You didn’t create the passion; it just happened “to” you. You were essentially powerless to do anything other than surrender to it. And, since it feels so wonderful, so why resist it anyway?
  3. However, the same forces that made you “fall” in love can also make you “fall out” of love.
  4. If this happens, the passion disappears, and you’re powerless to do much about it because you didn’t create it in the first place. Or, you may think it’s all your partner’s fault, and if he/she would just change, the passion might come back.

What makes this myth deadly is that it is backed by a pretense that we are powerless to change things. Fortunately, this thinking is based on pure myth, and it comes from a lack of real understanding about passion.

While it is true that passion occurs naturally, it is also true you and your partner have complete control over the conditions that allow passion to flourish. You-both of you-are anything but powerless. That’s the good news and the bad news (…bad news because now you have no excuse!)

What Causes Passion to Fade

So, what’s actually going on when passion dies out? Early in relationships, passion comes naturally because conditions allow for it. The relationship is new. The energy between you and your partner is clean, uncluttered. Any issues that do arise seem to dissolve in the face of the powerful force that drives your love and passion.

But, over time, we pile on layers of “passion killers.” Passion killers can be anything that dull intimacy or create feelings of inhibition, including:

  • Unmet needs and expectations, and related disappointment
  • Undelivered communications: hurt feelings, anger, resentment, etc.
  • Failure to nurture a relationship with quality time together
  • Not understanding what your partner really needs and wants

Passion killers literally drain the juice out of our relationship. They dampen communication, reduce playfulness, create distance-you get the picture. They can be intentional or unintentional, but the impact on the relationship is the same. Passion and excitement, whether sexual or just part of the joy of being together, diminish.

How to Re-Ignite Passion in Your Relationship

Dr. Molle is a known couples therapist in Santa Rosa

There are various paths to rebuild passion and excitement in your relationship. Options vary depending on each couple and what they face-both individually and together. If there are significant emotional wounds to unravel, then one or both partners may need to pursue individual therapy to embrace the healing that is needed.

Couples counseling is another viable option because a trained third party can help mediate and provide objective feedback that both partners can receive without judgment.

However, for many couples, the issues can simply be addressed with new tools and coaching in a workshop setting without the need for private, perhaps long-term therapy.

Whatever the right choice for you and your partner, re-igniting passion must begin by addressing any of the passion killers above that the two of you have allowed to pollute your relationship environment.

Commit to Love–and Give Up Being Right

Before you can make progress to restore intimacy and passion, there is one key requisite. If you don’t address this, then all the rest of the steps will probably be fruitless. Namely, you must consciously choose to put your heart first when dealing with your lover and let your ego take the back seat.

Because the more you favor your need to be right, the less chance you have of ever succeeding in a love relationship-let alone a romantic, passionate relationship. I’m not saying this will be easy, since we all have egos, and we are not going to get rid of them in this lifetime. However, your willingness to lead with your heart, to be open, and to declare that love and passion are your top priority will go a long way to ensuring that it actually happens.

Once a couple has weeded out the passion killers, passion can build with each quality interaction they share. When you and your partner are able to talk to each other and listen well, to show understanding for what the other has said, to resolve conflict in a way that leaves each person feeling whole and respected, the foundation is laid. Successful interactions lay the red carpet to the bedroom. A renewal has begun!

Find out about the Re-Igniting Passion Workshop for Couples

Contact Dr. Molle about Couples Counseling in Santa Rosa