I think this needs a longer title…
All joking aside I want to start off this article by saying two things. First is that there is in no way, shape or form in which I can hope to encapsulate this whole topic in one single article. It isn’t simply possible. With that said I will do my best to keep things entertaining and insightful however.
The second, and main part of what this article is based off of, is that love and relationships are one of the hardest things to understand in life. There is a reason why there have been countless articles trying to understand the subject. That simple four letter word has caused people more grief than probably much else in their lives. On the other hand though it also has the power to elevate us to a higher level too.
For someone who has never been infatuated with someone else before it is really difficult to understand. It is like almost a euphoria that never runs out. From the simple gesture of them brushing up against your hand to the subtle cleverness of a joke that only the two of you understand there is something deeply profound about the intimacy that comes from relationships, love and affection. That is why today I have decided to explore some factors using personal experience, popular knowledge and a bit of public opinion to hopefully uncover which factors can elevate or complicate a relationship from first sight to your first fight.
For the purpose of this I will do my best to facilitate the information but the viewpoint I will be referencing will be typically male as I am a male author.
The basic foundation for affection:
In the beginning of the lifespan of a relationship there are two things: affection and attraction. I think we can all agree on that. Now, having talked to psychologists from time to time, they generally agreed that one of the running theories behind why affection is such a necessary component of love is because it is something we can relate to starting from a young age. Obviously when we were growing up our parents did things both physical and emotional to show us affection. Whether it was giving us a hug or handing us praise psychologists believe it is those specific cues that we learn to rely on as we age. Thus as we get older those things (or lack thereof) translate into the affectionate tendencies and cravings which we most desire in our intimate lives.
Now, assuming that the foundation of affection consists of everything I just mentioned above, I want to proceed onto talking about the give and take that defines affection as it applies to relationships.
Distance in a relationship and ways to overcome it:
Whether we would like to admit it or not our geographical location to the person we are attracted to plays a huge role in our intimacy. For obvious reasons that is why so many long distance relationships have difficulties. Taking out the physical component of affection puts an extremely heavy weight on every other aspect.
That is why mindfulness and openness are extremely crucial aspects when living far away from each other. What I mean by mindfulness and openness is that if you two are planning on existing apart from one another you both should consider recognizing the fact that the two of you need to give each other the opportunity to breathe and live life. Nothing good will come from making each other the center of your lives while remaining glued to that pixelated screen halfway across the world.
Mindfulness won’t be the only thing to alleviate distance however. Things such as remembering that you two must always remain honest with each other, finding ways to remain romantic and doing things which the both of you can look forward to are also huge factors in play. These are all crucial pillars to helping a long distance relationship continue to grow. In its essence for this to succeed you should be excited for them to live their lives and they should be excited for you to live yours because even though distance is what separates you there is no reason why you can’t both be functional, healthy adults.
Coexisting together while being independent (emotional stability)
Branching off of that last point I wanted to also take a moment to comment on the benefits gained from being a healthy and independent couple. Believe it or not independence is an extremely underappreciated aspect of a relationship despite the fact that it plays a rather large role. The reason for this is because no matter how much you and your partner feel for each other it is sometimes best to spend time apart.
Why is that? Well, not only will spending time apart help your affection and appreciation grow for each other but it will also help sustain the relationship too.
How so? Think back to every moment where you two have spent time away from each other. Now think of how it has made you personally more appreciative of them when they were around. That is not just in your head because it is a reality that both of you will feel if you care for one another. That is why it is important to put the relationship into perspective because if you are spending a lot of time around one single person no matter how much you enjoy them one or both of you will eventually burn out. Hanging out together indefinitely is an inherently flawed scheme as humans aren’t wired to spend that much time together.
Now that isn’t to say that we can’t have fulfilling relationships with one person for a very long time. It is instead referencing the fact that spending time apart will help us realize how much we value that other person in our lives when we remember how much we miss them. Not to mention spending time apart will give us both things to talk about when we are together because even though we are both growing together there is nothing ultimately wrong with some personal growth too.
Emotional availability and the role it plays in defining sustainability:
The idea of emotional availability is extremely convoluted yet still plays a monumental role in not only our attraction but our relationship sustainability too. As a matter of fact what makes this concept so important is the idea that it transcends beyond culture and age to resonate in all humans on a different level. Some researchers discuss that it goes back to our primal instincts while others talk about things such as leadership and the importance of a dominant role in men versus a submissive evolutionary role in women. Regardless of how you feel about those topics what is truly at play in the heart of this discussion is attraction and the emotional availability (or unavailability) that essentially dictates our preferences for relationships.
Whether that is innate at birth or developed over years of interactive experience we are not completely sure but we are certain however that emotional availability plays into our intimate relationships. There is a reason why there have been countless books and professions designated specifically for this subject. It is because of how ridiculously complicated it can get on a macro level alone. There is no broad sweeping answer either as human experience plays into it so much.
What I will comment on about it however is that when it comes to the idea of love always remember that availability is a consideration. People who are perceived to be the most desirable are the people who are charismatic and have a lot going on in their lives. There is something about that level of unavailability mixed with that kind of lifestyle that makes people most intriguing. People I know credit that to the effect of “others being consciously or subconsciously attracted to the confidence and importance of a person in a stronger position”.
Jealousy and its capability to erode a perfectly healthy relationship:
Going along with emotional availability is the concept of jealousy. One of the easiest ways to take away from a relationship, jealousy permeates a certain kind of toxicity that is practically unparalleled to pretty much any other action aside from cheating. For the sake of this bullet point I will say that both go hand in hand simply because of their destructive value that they enact on a relationship from the moment that they are made real.
With both of these things existing as potentially crucial mistakes the main takeaway that I can recommend here is that you be hyper mindful of these things if you truly care about your significant other. Jealousy and cheating will destroy your relationship faster than you can blink because the moment that they happen it is very difficult to go back.
The role of physical attraction when meeting someone new:
Humans are physical beings. That doesn’t mean that personality doesn’t play into the equation but it means that ultimately we care about how others look. There is a reason why throughout our lifetimes we have developed preferences through extensive understanding of what we are interested in. It is because we are looking for our most ideal partner.
That is why the give and take behind physical attraction and its relationship to love is probably one of the simplest factors. Whether you go with genetic reasoning or more pragmatic reasoning it typically follows along the lines of pertaining to having better looking children. Regardless of if that is true or not physical attraction plays a key role in our personal relationship decision making. In other words, if you want to put your best foot forward make an effort to present yourself the best you can at all times possible. You never know where you might meet someone new.
Personality and compatibility:
If physical attraction is what lures people in personality is the glue that keeps them together. I think we all can agree how much of a role personality plays in our attraction. Not just talking about intelligence but also whether or not you click with that other person and can compliment each other well on a complete level. What I mean by a complete level is whether you are completely comfortable around each other to the point where nothing bothers you. From their mannerisms to other faults you are fully accepting of who they are.
On the other hand if your personalities are incongruent you might be able to sustain the relationship from other aspects for a while but if the two of you have fundamentally different personalities which clash constantly it will ultimately put a tremendous strain on the relationship.
Mending the emotional wounds and growing together from the experience:
One of the easiest ways to lose affection is through fighting. When feelings are hurt or situations arise where people are left feeling inadequate, insecure, or angry it is bound to take away from the relationship. With multiple fights and numerous arguments the relationship is destined to eventually fail if the fundamental structure can’t remain strong enough. That is why in the economics of affection the give and take of fighting versus mending the emotional wounds afterwards plays arguably the largest role in maintaining a relationship. If the two of you lack the skills to keep things afloat the relationship will decline over time. This is where emotional stability, personal reliability and problem solving patterns come into play. With these factors, along with the acceptance of your significant other, you can begin to understand and acknowledge your partner for who they are.
This is also where communication is key in a relationship because without the necessary language and expression it would be incredibly hard to convey your feelings so that the other person can understand what you are saying. That is why it is so important that couples develop the capability to resolve things after a big fight because if you two can’t reach a positive consensus at the end of a fight then that will forever remain a crack in the relationship.
There is a reason why family therapy is a booming industry in our modern era.
Appreciation and gratitude:
Without overdoing it appreciation and gratitude are extremely important aspects of a relationship. If done too much it can be insincere but if done properly the right amount of appreciation can go a long way in enhancing your affection for each other. The gestures don’t have to necessarily be large or even through words either. Small nonverbal gestures of affection and appreciation can do wonders just as well.
Human beings are fascinating and wonderful creatures. We are the reason why there are shades of gray between the black and the white. Our complex spectrum of emotions and love make relationships the dynamic feeling they are. With that said the final takeaway from here is that it is never too late to turn your relationship around if it already hasn’t hit rock bottom. It is also never too late to show someone how much you appreciate them if you never take the time to do that. We are deeply rooted in our memories from when we were young and that is why we have potentially formed our love interests as we have. This, however, is precisely why it is important to go out into the world and be the best version that you can be because regardless of whether you are in a relationship or not if you can remember everything that was stated here you will go further than many others in life. Do not let the bad moments define you but take them as a learning experience. Things such as independence, jealousy, and mending wounds can make or break a relationship. Learn from them and become the best person that you can be.