Most of us experience relationships where our partners and ourselves, treat strangers kinder than our loved ones. So, what is going on there? Is it because familiarity breeds contempt or something else? Researchers have agreed that it is more that our tolerances subside over time. When we first start a relationship, we tend to tolerate things about our partner that we dislike. As we spend more time around our partner, the annoyances continue, but our tolerances do not.
How to Rebuild Tolerance
Ways to rebuild tolerance and react to our partners more lovingly is to:
- Pause and focus on gratitude by picturing what we’d lose if the love one was gone.
- Spend time with your partner when others are around because we tend to treat each other more kindly during these times.
- Take a break, if necessary, to help your reset your perspective in focusing on the positive qualities of them.
How to Build Long Lasting Relationships
So what does a healthy relationship look like? Healthy relationships include:
- Fondness, affection, admiration
- Focus on the “We-ness” of your relationship
- Express positive aspects of your relationship
- Glorify the struggle of getting through hard times together
The key to long lasting relationships is shifting focus on how couple positively interpret negative events and characteristics of their partners, instead of dwelling on the negative aspects themselves. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is another tool that could help couples switch to this more positive outlook.
Meri Rule, PhD, LPC-S, LCDC in Plano, Texas
Children, teens, adults and couples.
Meri Rule is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor and a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor in Plano, Texas. She treats children and adults, individuals and couples. Among her areas of specialty: depression, anxiety, addiction (chemical and non-chemical), relationships, grief, trauma and PTSD, career stress and dissatisfaction, bipolarism, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), and gender issues.