There’s a very good reason why traditional wedding vows include the “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health” bit! It’s because things change!
And you might need some relationship help to cope with that change!
Whether or not you had a wedding or not, making a commitment to a partner is not a conditional thing. I’m sure you would think it was very immature if the vows read,
“I’ll hang around as long as you are healthy, young, wealthy, ambitious, upbeat, fun and I approve of what you’re doing.” rather than the traditional words. Who would go for that?
This topic is what is behind my imploring every couple to take advantage of six-week Skype and in-person classes, “Before You Commit”.
Unless you are just moving in together to save on rent and get a few agreed upon, em, “benefits”, you need to take trying on life together more seriously than many couples do. Never go into a relationship that you are serious about with a “one foot out the door” attitude. One of the reasons for the high divorce rate now, I think, is that too many people go into supposedly committed relationships with the idea that, if it doesn’t work out, they can always get out. That’s failing before you start!
So, when I hear someone say, “I just don’t find my partner attractive anymore,” I know that they got together on the surface, but they did not likely do the deeper work. They can do it, and I hope they’ll do it. Those words are a sign that it’s time to do it!
Sure, when you’re twenty-eight, it’s hard to envision your partner having a sudden dramatic weight loss or gain, or a debilitating injury or disease, or, losing their hair or their teeth. In the bloom of youth, those things just aren’t considered much. But, change is the only permanent thing in life…AND IT HAPPENS.
There are two words that never need to go together in life: brutal and honesty. Joining those two words is only for people with an intention to hurt another, or for people with poor communication skills.
I absolutely think that partners need to be kindly honest with one another. But, they need to own their own problems as theirs, not as created by their partner. Consider these two statements:
“You’ve gotten quite chunky and it really repulses me.”
“I am really struggling with the changes we’re experiencing. I know you feel it, too. I love you and we’re in this together. Can I talk to you about it and so we can work it through together?”
Which would you rather hear if you were the one with the weight gain?
Which would you feel better about saying to someone you have vowed to love, honor and cherish?
Often, we just don’t have the well-developed communication skills to say what we are feeling. Sometimes, we’re just too immature to know the difference! That’s worrisome.
In “How to be an Adult in Relationships – The Five Keys to Mindful Loving”, David Richo says that we need to BE the Five A’s:
Now, just how would you demonstrate those five A’s by what you say to your partner when you are struggling with his/her attractiveness?
I think it is important to add a sixth A: Addressing. You need to make a commitment to yourself and your partner that you will bring up all your concerns rather than covering them up, pushing them down, or letting them escape in hurtful ways!
If you cannot talk with your partner about what is going on within you, then, the relationship needs help, big time! Of course, you need skills and forethought. You need consciousness and care. And, you may need relationship help. It’s always a strength to get help before problems escalate!
Your feelings are legitimate. You can express them. Be wise in how you go about it. Giving voice to your feelings should not be forgetting there is someone you love on the listening end!
Express yourself from the 5 A’s. Listen from the 5 A’s, without ego defense or argumentativeness.
Address your issue, concern or request when you are calm and prepared, and when your partner is calm and prepared to listen. That’s the best time to work on your relationship. Too many things go sideways when they are said in the heat, fear, frustration or hurt of the moment. Adults can wait! But, only until you’re both calm.