Why do we idealise partners at the beginning of a relationship?
It’s fairly common in a relationship that, as time goes by, you start finding faults with each other. “He’s not the person I fell in love with…” is a fairly common complaint.
The reality is, your partner hasn’t changed, just your perception of them has.
When we first start dating or fall in love, we tend to romanticise the object of our affection. However, that initial shine inevitably starts to wear off.
Everyone loves a bad boy
From a physiological perspective, falling in love is a bit of a roller-coaster – the signals that your body is receiving and sending can be a bit all over the place and often quite confusing.
Research indicates that the body reacts in a similar way to sexual arousal and fear – the heightened sensations and increased heart-rate that you experience when you meet a new guy could be because you want to have sex with him or you’re worried he’s going to steal your phone.
This could be an explanation of why we overlook some of a guy’s negative traits in the early days of a relationship. We’re so caught up in the rush of being aroused by someone new that we don’t see the red flags for what they really are.
It takes time to get to know a guy
An added complication in the early stages of a relationship is that it can take some time to get to know a guy. The things that you initially thought were interesting personality quirks might start to emerge as a pattern of behaviour that could turn a bit toxic.
The more you see of someone and the more time you spend with them, the easier it is to build a more complete understanding of who they are and whether they’re a good match for you.
Many of us make the mistake of thinking that it’s our job to fix whatever issues we think we’ve identified with our partner.
If your guy has some aspects of his personality which are damaging your relationship, it’s tempting to think that it’s your job to change him.
The reality is, guys don’t really change. You might be able to agree some compromises, or develop some strategies that help you both navigate the challenges, but any expectation that you’re going to ‘fix’ him will just set you up for heartache.
How to cope when your relationship hits a rough patch?
It’s pretty common for all relationships to go through some ups and downs. The key thing is to be ready for the tough times, and to find a way to work through them together.
Communication is key. If you’re having trouble communicating effectively with each other, find ways to get some help early on – don’t wait until it’s crisis-point.
Relationship counselling is a good way to help build some communication strategies with each other. Other options could include setting some time aside to talk about your relationship and to share with each other how you’re feeling.