Finally, you meet the person of your dreams. You may even think this person is your soulmate. Not only are you in love, but you feel passion like never before.
But this phase — typically referred to as the honeymoon phase — is definitely not a permanent way of being in your relationship. Maybe it lasts a month. Maybe it lasts a year.
And then what? Once you realize the spark has gone out, what do you do about it?
First it helps to understand WHY the honeymoon phase is so blissful to keep things in perspective. When you meet a new partner, you are both on your best behavior because you're still getting to know one another and feel each other out in terms of a romantic dynamic. You are each trying to figure out what the other wants, and adjusting your behaviors as a result.
Then, inevitably, a sense of stability begins to set in, which at the outset of a relationship definitely has its own charm. You start getting comfortable with each other. Routines get started.
In short, it doesn't take long for what could be thought of as a "relationship system" to get established. Systems start early because each person brings their emotional wounds (likely from childhood) into the relationship dynamic. As a result, each person usually reacts with some self-protective pattern in an effort to avoid painful feelings
Let's take the example of Julie and Steven.
Steven grew up in a household where he learned to make others responsible for his feelings — just like his father made his mother responsible. Also like his father, Steven became "a taker," meaning that he rarely gave parts of himself in order to support others, especially Julie.
Julie's proclivities complemented those of Steven, and not necessarily in a productive way. (Patterns in relationships often work out this way, where one person's triggers are validated by another person's.) As a child, Julie learned to ignore her feelings and take care of others' feelings. Like her mother, she learned to give herself up and be a caretaker.
Both Steven and Julie were in the pattern of abandoning themselves in different ways; Steven never challenged his tendency to take, take and take, and Julie never invited herself to stop self-sacrificing.
As I explained generally before, takers and caretakers are often attracted to each other. It's like lock and key: one person's shape simply fits into the other's. For that reason, takers generally don't gravitate toward one another, and caretakers may like each other as friends, but rarely feel sexual tension or passion in their relationship.
Back to Steven and Julie. Their sexual passion continued until Steven started to become more demanding of Julie – not just sexually but emotionally as well. He would get jealous when she spent time with her friends, and he would get angry and pout if she didn't feel like making love. Julie tried her best to take care of Steven without blinking an eye, making sure to see her friends less and even agreeing to have sex when she didn't feel like it. Yet it seemed like no matter how much she complied with his demands, it was never enough.
As this dynamic intensified, Julie realized that she began to experience Steven as a needy little boy when he would want to have sex, rather than a powerful man. One of the things that had originally attracted her to Steven was that he seemed to be a man who felt whole inside. But now she experienced him as empty, insecure, and dependent on her validation to fill him up.
After awhile, Julie just couldn't give herself up anymore. All the passion had gone out of their relationship. That's when they consulted with me.
I helped them each see how each of them was abandoning themselves by not taking responsibility for their own feelings of worth. Steven was trying to get his worth through sex and Julie had been trying to tap into her worth in the relationship by completely giving up her own needs and desires, focusing solely on getting Steven's approval.
When we began work together, I strongly encouraged each of them to start practicing staying present with their own feelings and noticing how they were treating themselves that was causing each of them to feel badly. I taught them to open to a spiritual source of love, truth and wisdom that they could turn to at any time to fill themselves with love. I encouraged them to spend time together only when both of them felt full inside and wanted to share their love with each other, rather than as a way of garnering a sense of approval, or care-taking to try to get love and validation in exchange.
Of course, it took time for them to learn and practice all of this. But slowly, over a period of about six months, their relationship began to improve. Sex gradually came back into their relationship (organically), and they reported to me that sometimes they were having the kind of wonderful, spontaneous and passionate sex that they had had at the beginning of their relationship.
Now, let's discuss the ONE thing that kills passion in a relationship:
The answer is simple: self-abandonment. When you don't push yourself to grow and show up to be the best person you can be, your relationship will absorb the toxicity.
Fortunately, when you learn to love yourself rather than continue to reject and abandon yourself, all aspects of your relationship will greatly improve.
Instead of leaving when the love and passion go out of your relationship, why not learn to love yourself and see what happens?
Begin learning how to take loving care of yourself with our free Inner Bonding course.