Dr. Tarra Bates-Duford
No longer in Love, still in a Relationship
Being in a healthy, happy relationship can be thrilling and intoxicating. Having someone to share one’s life with can add a sense of completeness to some or bonus to others. There is no denying being in a happy and loving relationship can both improve mental health but can have strong positive effects on physical health as well. For many people that have experienced a loving relationship, it is often difficult to foresee or contemplate that the relationship could end. It is for this reason many people find it difficult to end a relationship with a partner they have built and shared their loves with. Relationship changes initially begin gradually, i.e., no longer communicating as you had in the past, taking each other for granted, decrease or the absence of “couple time”, no longer wishing to express frustrations with the relations, or establishing expectations for the future of the relationship. Most often the initial changes in the relationship aren’t very obvious, but can appear subtly. The subtle progression and severity of the relationship issues can be surprising to both the couple as well as those around the couple. Most people gravitate and or hold on to the memory of when a relationship was “good”, therefore, they remain in a relationship when they are no longer in love, hoping the love will return. Quite often the love does not return, most significantly the manner in which it had been given previously given, i.e., unyielding, romantic, fulfilling, etc. When we stay in relationships that no longer contains romance, intimacy, respect, positive regard, etc., this can harbor and build resentment. Staying in a relationship for the purpose of being in a relationship can also limit and or prevent you from identifying and building a relationship with someone better suited.
Alicia & David
Alicia & David have been in a relationship for 2 years and lived together for 1. The relationship started off like a “world wind”, the two spoke multiple times each day, could finish each other sentences, coordinated the vacations together, and bond with each other families. Gradually Alicia & David began to speak less and less each day, sometimes only speaking when they arrived home from work in the evening. Early in their relationship they had made a commitment that they would eat dinner each night together, discussing each other day, however, as time progressed both Alicia & David would find themselves eating dinner in front of the television, in bed, or not having dinner at all. They only seem to communicate when it pertained to household bills, coordinating time with their respective families, or meal options. Both Alicia & David no longer see each other as they had done earlier in the relationship, they no longer fantasize about a future together, no longer confide in each other, or appear to be interested in each other intimately. Alicia & David realize things have changed, both still loves the other, but are no longer in love. Both silently struggles with the loss of the relationship which initially held infinite promise and possibilities. What should they do? Is there a right or wrong way to end the relationship? Is it possible the relationship can be saved.