Keeping The Old Romance Alive
Wednesday - July 12, 2006
Linda thought Andrew did everything right - in the beginning.
In the beginning, he bought her flowers, called all the time and wrote her little love notes.
“This is the man I’ve been waiting for,” Linda told her friends. “He is just so thoughtful and sweet.”
Linda’s friends were jealous of her romantic new beau, until, that is, Andrew slowly stopped his romantic gestures over the four years the two were a couple.
Linda wondered what happened. Had Andrew stopped loving her? Why didn’t he make her feel special anymore?
Her frustration grew every day as she’d lie in bed and Andrew would only give her a quick peck good night. She’d silently feel angry when he’d rush a “love you” at the end of their phone conversations or zone out on the TV at night, not even looking at her when she tried to talk to him.
So finally, Linda asked Andrew why he no longer romanced her. Andrew didn’t know what she was talking about. “I’m with you, aren’t I?” he said, getting irritated. “You know I love you.”
But the thing was, Linda didn’t feel loved anymore. She didn’t feel special the way she used to when she and Andrew first met.
This isn’t an uncommon situation for couples. Familiarity breeds laziness in many relationships, and a cycle of negative energy between lovers can result in emotional distance and resentment.
Women don’t get what they need from their man so they feel bad. Then they make the man feel bad. Then the man isn’t getting the love he needs from his woman and he feels unappreciated.
“When men are in the courting phase, they’re willing to do all kinds of things they wouldn’t normally do,” explains Dr. Mitzi Gold, a clinical psychologist and social worker, and director of the Mars & Venus Counseling Center of Honolulu. “They buy flowers, they’re affectionate, they write notes ... because when they first meet a woman, she is really exciting. But over time it disappears because once they’ve known you and touched you for years, it becomes less of an interest because it’s always available to them.”
Gold says this doesn’t mean the man doesn’t still have strong, loving feelings for the woman, but it’s very common for the man to stop doing all the little things that once made her feel special because he, himself, doesn’t need those same gestures to feel loved.
“Women feel loved when they feel understood, when they feel special and when they feel respected,” says Gold. “These are the three main ways women receive love. It’s really important that the man should extend himself in the service of doing something to show he loves her in her way. Women can really tell if men are making an effort to do something for them.”
This is hard for men sometimes, says Gold, because people start to treat their partners how they want to be treated, and men don’t necessarily need flowers and love notes.
“Men receive love through appreciation, trust and acceptance,” she says, “when you appreciate him for what he does, accept him for who he is and aren’t always trying to change him. It builds love when you trust him.”
So the mistake women often make is twofold: They either complain about their man’s lack of effort, which only makes the man feel bad, or they attempt to romance the man the way they want to be romanced, hoping he will pick up on the clues, which he usually doesn’t.
“Women are still giving all this love and energy, thinking the man will see her doing all these things and he’ll get it at some point and reciprocate for her,” says Gold. “But men are thinking they must have been doing something really good already to have earned all this love, so they’ll let the woman give and give until she’s empty and angry, and he doesn’t have a clue why.”
But love is reciprocal. So it’s important that couples find a way to get out of the cycle of negativity.
“When men continue to romance their woman and fill her up with love and make her feel special, then she has more love to give back to him,” says Gold.
Remember that you both need to give the other person what they need, not what you think you’d need if you were them.
“We all need to be kissed and hugged and told we’re wonderful,” says Gold.
And to avoid sounding like you’re constantly complaining, ladies, Gold suggests telling your man how you feel at a time when you’re feeling really good about something he did, not at a time when you’re angry and wishing he had done something else.
Make your man happy and maybe he’ll feel like doing more for you. Remember what he needs from you as well.
And men, please keep in mind that romance is not just something for courtship. It’s very important to continue to make your woman feel special. What won her in the beginning will also be the thing that will keep her yours forever.
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