There is a disconcerting phenomenon that takes place when a long-term relationship starts to jump the tracks: your partner begins to take on all the trappings of an adversary.
Where once you had a companion, a friend, and a teammate—you now have a passive foe you come home to every night. It’s pretty sneaky how the whole thing takes shape.
It usually begins its embryonic state as an unresolved point of contention, and may continue to grow when resolution is elusive. Things get swept under the rug out of a strange convenience or a need to keep the peace.
In light of there being no solution, the issue or issues, are ignored—or seem to be ignored. It can’t be labeled ignorance anymore if someone quietly grows a resentment to epic proportions because they just keep feeling like their complaints are not being taken seriously.
Either way, as time goes on, the relationship falls further and further into a state of disrepair and will inevitably conclude in a rather ugly mess if nothing happens to stop it.
Here are four key ways to throw the brakes on the runaway train of your separation and make friends with your lover again:
If “Duh!” was the first thing you thought when you saw this, I’m not surprised. But allow me to elucidate: when I was living with my ex-wife, I made the sacrifice to take a midnight work shift because we really needed the extra money at that point.
What I never saw coming was the havoc it wound up wreaking on our relationship. I began to sleep on the futon in the spare room because it made sense with my coming home at sunrise and she and the kids were getting up at that same time. That futon is exactly where I was still sleeping the last night I slept in that house four years later.
Whether you think you are doing it for convenience or whether you are doing it because you are not getting along, stop it now. Get yourself in the same bed if you want your old friend back.
Touch a little more.
We all get to that point in our domestic situations where we just don’t seem to have the time. We’re basically passing each other in the hallways and leaving for work with just a quick peck on the lips and an “I love you” text message. This is not enough. The kids may react a little weird to it at first but make the effort to hug—and I mean really hug for like 30 seconds—a couple times a day.
This connection, while it may not produce the instant gratification that hot sex gives you, may actually be more effective at prolonging your relationship. Not only that, but if hot sex is what interests you, consider this the gateway drug.
Forsake Facebook for a little face time.
I can say with some authority that there is nothing more depressing than scrolling through Facebook when you are sitting alone in your apartment of exile at the end of your relationship. Keep this in mind when you are logging on with your partner sitting across the breakfast table from you.
There will always be plenty of time later to look at all the selfies of your middle-aged female friends sucking in their cheeks. Unfortunately, those photographs aren’t going anywhere. I can’t say the same for your girlfriend if you don’t stay mindful. Put the phone down and repeat after me, “Good morning.”
Be a flirt.
A busy or overwrought mommy may push you away at first but do not allow this to stop you. Put yourself in her shoes and you’ll realize how out of context touching or kissing seems when she is knee-deep in dirty diapers and soggy cereal stuck on the linoleum.
Make the uncommon move and offer to pick up the Cheerios and then kiss her on the neck. Sometimes there are inherent rewards for being a little pushy in this area. Of course, don’t take this the wrong way. You need to temper my advice with a little common sense. Don’t be a clod. At the same time, there really is nothing more romantic than pulling your overwhelmed lover away from the very thing they are frustrated with and looking deeply into their eyes.
As a man who has lived through the ins and outs of various relationships, I can say with a fair degree of certainty that you will not be coming home to your enemy for too long.
Marriages used to stay together indefinitely 60 or 70 years ago because they were a financial necessity and divorce was a lot more difficult and stigmatized at that time.
Today, relationships are almost guaranteed to fall apart unless some uncommon steps are taken. So as outlandish as these four pieces of advice may seem, take heed before you wind up taking a hike.
Author: Billy Manas
Image: Scary Movie 5/YouTube
Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron