impose. Lovers become less enthralled, less thrilled, less attached, and
less interested in each other. When this happens, lovers often feel
unloved. That's not necessarily the true situation. The love may have
just moved into a new phase. It is amazing how we can feel and show
little love when together with a loved one but suddenly become aware
of how much we love, need, and want him/her just as soon as he/she
leaves for a trip (or shows interest in someone else).
Cathrina Bauby (1973) says passive withdrawal (non-
communication) is a major problem in long-term relationships.
Sometimes this "silence" is a result of being taken for granted and
sometimes it is a result of brewing but suppressed anger. It seems like
a natural human process to "adapt," i.e. just not notice things that
occur over and over, including our spouse regularly doing considerate
things for us. We have to remind ourselves to express our
appreciation; after several years, there is no strong drive compelling
us to show our love. In other relationships, there may be a strong
mixture of love and hate. The result may be a hot and cold relationship
or a canceling out of + and - feelings and, thus, apathy or indifference
or "being taken for granted." There are several remedial steps for
apathy: (1) communicate more and listen more empathically, (2) do
more together that is enjoyable and/or strengthens the love, (3)
reduce your alienating or irritating behaviors, (4) learn to be more
tolerant of his/her irritating behavior (via desensitization or private
venting), (5) learn how to fight fairly (chapter 7), and (6) challenge
your irrational expectations (chapter 14).
For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it.
For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it.
For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it.
But though my beauty meets no eye it still doth glow.
Though my truth meets no ear it still doth shine.
But when my love meets no heart it can only break.
No two people want the same thing, not at every choice point. So,
there are unavoidable conflicts in all relationships. Of course, both
people may hide and deny the conflicts. Sometimes, one person is a
martyr and will always give in without a whimper (maybe with an ulcer
or a heart attack). In other pairs, one person is the dominant one and
must win every conflict, even if he/she has to be deceptive or make
nasty personal threats. All three are bad approaches to conflict. There
are two much better approaches: (1) agreeing to a fair compromise
(getting half of what you want), and (2) developing a creative solution
in which both people get most of what they want. Obviously, the latter