Cindy says the ‘spark’ has gone out in her partner and asks if that’s just part of getting older. Dr Emmanuella has some surprising suggestions.
My partner has become devoid of spark and enthusiasm – except when it comes to sex. I’ve ‘nudged’ him but I don’t want to nag (really!). Do I have to just get used to it? Accept it as part of getting old?
A. Many couples that have been together a long time experience a lack of spark and enthusiasm. This time can leave many people in a relationship feeling like there’s no hope for change, but that’s not true.
Cindy, I’d be asking yourself, do you feel you are yourself in the relationship? Have you forgotten the independent ‘I’. Sometimes a spark is lost because we feel we are only a ‘we’ in a relationship and we forget the ‘I’ in the relationship? What I mean is, seeing ourselves as a separate human being and pursuing the things that make us happy and we are passionate about, is also important.
Our partner doesn’t complete us, we are unique and whole on our own, and the healthiest relationships are when two independent people choose to travel along life’s path side by side.
We are drawn to our partners because they are unique. Often we lose sight of this, and what attracted us to them in the first place.
As a couple, it’s important you spend quality time together, communicate and express how you feel and do things that your partner perceives as loving. However, recognising and changing predictable habits such as your social life and looking after yourself by eating and exercising well, are all important in keeping the relationship spark alive.
It may also be helpful to map out some daily goals for yourself, and regularly sit down and set goals with your partner over the next five to 10 years.
Some extra tips to keep the ‘spark’ alive:
- Give each other space – find ‘you’ again. Keep up your individual interests and then you can really enjoy the time you spend together.
- Keep making plans – set goals. There are always more places to see, skills to be learned and challenges to be had.
- Reminisce – laugh together and organise to meet old friends and think about wonderful shared memories.
Cindy, I think you need to find ‘you’ again and get in touch with your unique attributes. This may help you see your partner in a different light; the unique individual he is, and this can lead to a whole renewed level of interest (‘spark’) and respect for your partner.
Dr Emmanuella Murray is a clinical psychologist, who has been practising for more than 10 years. She works with children, adolescents, adults and couples, and presents to professionals and community groups. Go to her website for more information.
If you have a question for Dr Emmanuella, please send it to [email protected]
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