One of the mysteries in our society is how love, which can soar to the heights, can also trail off – leaving behind a cloud of disappointment, frustration, and resentment. One couple, who had anticipated a life of excitement together, drift into indifference and boredom. Another, who had shares all their enjoyments previously, now share only discontent and malaise. Still another, who had agreed previously on almost everything, now agree on nothing.
How does a couple shift from illusion to disillusionment, from enchantment to disenchantment, from supreme satisfaction to dissatisfaction?
Case: G and B wanted to understand why they were constantly fighting and to recapture the feelings they had had for each other durig courtship and the earlier part of their marriage.
Within a few years, everything had changed. B became hypercritical of G. He was continuously annoyed at her: “She’s a pain in the neck. She’s an airhead. She’s irresponsible. She never takes things seriously. She’s superficial. She goes around with a vacuous smile. I can’t depend on her.”
Although B’s attitude had changed from one of admiration to faultfinding, S’s personality had not changed in any substantial way. Both of them agreed on this point. What had changed was B’s view of G, his “perspective” of her. It was as though he had switched lenses and no saw her differently. He now attached negative labels to the same qualities he had previously described so glowingly. The easygoing manner that he had once attributed to her free spirit, he now ascribed to her “flakiness”, and what he saw before as playfulness, he now viewed as childishness.
B’s responses to G illustrate an important principle of relationships. A changed in perspective brings a change in feelings. B idealized G until the inevitable problems of living together arose. He then began to blame these difficulties on the same qualities he had previously admired.
G and B offer a good example of how a couple’s thinking shapes their feelings toward each other. When they perceived each other in positive terms, they felt love; when they devalued each other, they felt resentment.
The case of G and B is not unusual. Many couples suffer a similar disillusionment but seem to strike a new balance. Other couples regard their disappointment as unique, without realizing that this experience is common. And just as the same forces that split apart other couples apply equally well to them, so do the principles that can draw couples back together again.
To see what can heal a rift between a couple, we first need to understand more fully how relationships can dissolve. Paradoxically, the roots of trouble often go back to the very beginning, to the overpowering attraction that brought the partners together in the first place.
* text preluat si adaptat