Relationships are like plants that need to be nurtured constantly and need attention or they would perish.
Couples go through many ups and downs during a long-term relationship, and sometimes the stress of daily life can dull the spark. If your partner feels like only a companion or a friend to you, then it's possible that you are no longer physically attracted to them. At the beginning of a relationship, things are passionate and then slowly, the attraction might fizzle out. It's fairly common for this to happen but it's possible to keep it alive.
"In long-term relationships, it’s not uncommon for attraction amongst partners to dissipate," Nazanin Moali, a Los Angeles-based sex therapist and host of the podcast Sexology, told HuffPost. "We take for granted that just because we were attracted to our partner once, the same attraction will stay forever without effort," she added.
Sometimes, it's important for us to keep working at keeping the attraction alive. But, why do people lose interest in physical intimacy with their partner?
Here are some reasons why it happens:
Sometimes, we might be bogged down by the responsibilities of life and we stop taking care of ourselves. We forget to treat ourselves as our priority, and so does our partner. We once used to make an effort to look good for our partners and ourselves, but may have let it go for a long time. "Many may see it as being vain, but we owe it to ourselves and our partners to be at our best, which includes eating healthy, getting rest, exercising, and working on our mental attitude," said Kathy Hardie-Williams, a marriage and family therapist in Portland, Oregon.
When there is a pile of responsibilities and chores to be taken care of, we might slip into the role of taskmaster and stay there without working on the romantic aspect of the relationship. If we have gotten stuck to roles like caregiver, boss, or any other, it might be hard to switch to the role of a romantic partner. For instance, instead of dressing up, sharing a kiss, we might be focused on figuring out the school schedules, making to-do lists, taking care of dinner, or focusing on the children's school work. Our daily lives might get ruled by such activities and if we don't take out special time for date nights or make other efforts, our relationship might suffer.
The resentment might be due to past conflicts about money, infidelity, physical intimacy, parenting decisions, or unequal division of household work. When these matters go unresolved, it can breed resentment that only lingers. ″[It] makes you feel distant from or angry at your partner and translates to decreased attraction," said Samantha Rodman, a psychologist in North Bethesda, Maryland. It is important to have open communication and empathize with each other for there to be physical attraction. When a couple stops talking about the things that matter and starts bottling it all up, the negative feelings are likely to fester.
In long-term relationships, two of the prime ingredients are stability and security. However, that can also mean that we are so cut away from exciting and interesting things that we have become boring, and our partner has become boring too. Not only have we changed but it also affected the relationship. A relationship can begin to feel stagnant at that point, and would be in serious need of reinvention. For some people, it might mean trying new things in bed or going on more adventures together to see each other as unique people.
It might take a while or it might happen suddenly that you realize that you are no longer compatible. People grow throughout their lives and sometimes, they grow in different directions. It is possible for people who are unlike each other to be together if they put in the effort to understand each other. However, when there are irreconcilable differences, not a lot can be done to fix the marriage or relationship.
Disclaimer: This article is based on insights from different sources. The views expressed here are those of the writer.