In a good long-term relationship, curiosity, interest, fun and desire thrive because there is adequate independence in the relationship. Here are some suggestions on how to avoid too much emotional fusion and codependence, which will smother the mystery, fun and desire in a relationship:
Don’t express every feeling and thought.
Hurt feelings, misunderstandings and other stresses will inevitably occur in any relationship. So you need to be able to communicate effectively, that is, being candid while having compassion. Express yourself briefly and on point, and ask yourself “is what I am about to say/do/ask helpful or hurtful, and is it necessary?”
Do not communicate every thought and feeling, and become annoying and tedious. Constantly expressing what’s on your mind is unnecessary and a sure way to kill all curiosity and ultimately the relationship.
“I don’t like the way she talks.”
“I gained weight and feel sluggish.”
“I think I’ll have a cookie.”
Try to contain the more mundane thoughts and feelings, and express only the more interesting and important ones.
Don’t be controlling.
People generally become controlling out of their own insecurity. They may assume that if they can control the other person’s actions and thoughts, they might avoid potentially losing them. The opposite is true. The controlling person becomes oppressive and undesirable, making others want to flee.
Avoid nagging, pushing and managing your partner. Avoid telling your partner what to do or what to think all of the time. Allow some freedom, independence, and space between the two of you – it’s important. You want to be with a separate individual, not a puppet.
Don’t be needy.
At the beginning of the relationship, you may have felt whole and fulfilled as though all your needs were being met. But many of those feelings of fulfillment are a result of the initial excitement of falling in love, as well as your own projections, that is, your fantasy of who that other person is.
When you continue to expect another person to satisfy all your needs, you burden the relationship with your own unrealistic expectations. No other person will totally satisfy your emotional needs. You need to meet those needs yourself.
Enjoy your time together, but don’t require your partner to validate you constantly and to fulfill all your needs. That will only lead to disappointment and resentment.
Enrich your life.
If you want to feel desired, you need to be desirable. People shine when they live a full and vital life, engage in interests and with a variety of people, and have independent thoughts and pursuits. So pursue your passions and nourish your friendships.
Some partners may feel threatened by this, but the alternative is worse. Restricting your life by eliminating your passions and other friendships will ultimately doom the relationship and your own life to misery and meagerness.
You can start with small steps. When you see how effective those steps are, it will become easy, fun and rewarding to make your life more abundant and multifaceted. For example, do some things on your own or with friends instead of always waiting at home. Suggest new activities to your partner, but if he or she is uninterested, then go do it alone or with someone else. Take a walk, see a movie, take a trip to the beach, take up a new hobby, travel on your own or with friends.
You will become more interesting, fulfilled, and desirable.
If following these suggestions is difficult for you, you can get help and learn specific actions to take to develop healthier loving relationships at Co-Dependence Anonymous or with a good cognitive behavioral therapist.
by Alison Poulsen, PhD