Monday, June 07, 2010

Why People Grow Apart and End Relationships and Marriage, and What YOU Can Do to Stop It!

Why do people who are in long-term relationships, whether married or not, grow apart? In a nutshell, it is because they have lost interest in each other. That is a preventable and curable condition! The medicine, you ask? ATTRACTION, of course!

I had a call last night from a friend, Bill, with whom I’ve not spoken in a nearly a year. He and I used to work consulting projects together frequently, and we were pretty close. He found this gal that he really meshed well with, and they got married and were happy for a long time, but a major problem had come up that he needed to talk about.

Her father died a few years ago and they moved away to be near her mother, and Bill and I kept in touch for awhile, but our interests started growing in different directions because he changed careers and we lost a lot of common ground that used to give us a lot to talk about. We fell to calling each other at birthdays and major holidays, and as we started finding we had less and less to talk about, quit calling because there just wasn’t enough to talk about to make it interesting.

It’s bad when friends grow apart like that, but I wasn’t the only one from whom he’d grown apart. He and his wife had a great foundation for a good marriage, being extremely compatible in all regards, especially the important ones like personal values and tastes, and having plenty to talk about when romance wasn’t in the air, but over the course of the last year, he and his wife had grown apart to the point of not enjoying each other’s company anymore and frequently getting on each other’s nerves.

Bill called because we were old friends, I had known him and his wife for a long time, and he knew from working with me that I had conducted seminars on getting along with people and was hoping I could help him and his wife figure out what had happened and fix it. He had no idea that I had published “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and he was in for a shock!

Bill’s wife had started spending more and more time with her mother, eventually giving up her job to care for her mother full time, while Bill had sought to enhance his career and make up for the lost household income by taking on extra duty at work and starting a small, part-time home-based business. They had previously averaged about five to six waking hours together per day, and this had fallen to about an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening, much of which wasn’t even “quality time” together.

Their interaction with others increased as their interaction with each other decreased, and they got out of the rhythm of spending time together. As this happened, their interests were influenced by people outside their household, pulling them even further in opposite directions. Bill’s wife had taken up volunteer duty at a local retirement home where his mother volunteered, and Bill’s home-based business was the result of something one of his co-workers was into. By the time they realized what had happened, lack of mutual interests had insidiously reduced them from a happy married couple to a pair of disgruntled and celibate roommates.

In case it’s not obvious, and it probably wouldn’t be to anyone who hasn’t either read "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" or been subscribing to this newsletter for quite awhile, it wasn’t so much that their personal interests had changed as the fact that their interest in each other had failed because they had stopped doing the things that made them interesting to each other, trustful of each other and intimate. When they lived near me, they were constantly challenging each other, playing with each other, picking on each other in a very good-natured and often thinly veiled and obviously sexy way. They were not only spouses; they were playmates, adventure partners, workmates, confidants, etc. They enjoyed each other for long periods every day.

Stress, fatigue and time constraints limited their time and attention, and finally attraction was lost. When attraction goes, boredom sets in, then frustration, anger, resentment, blame, etc., and then the all-too-well-known steps down to the dungeon of affairs and divorce are taken one by one, often rapidly. Bill and his wife had both been married before, and knew what was coming, and wanted to fix it rather than go through giving up what they once had and breaking up a household while in their early fifties.

I sent Bill a copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and he and his wife are going through it. I’ll probably be keeping you posted on their progress. Most of you subscribing to this newsletter are doing so because you’re already where they are or can see yourself getting there at some point. Don’t let this happen to you. It’s far easier to prevent the loss of attraction than it is to get it back, but you can get it back if you want it.

(Update: this lesson was originally published on September 4, 2005. In the few months that followed, Bill and his wife did indeed figure out where they had gone wrong, made corrections, and are now happier than they have ever been. They always had fun together in the years before their problems, but communications had been lacking, and now that they really understand each other because they know how to listen to the opposite gender, they’ve made a connection that would have never been possible otherwise. She tells her girlfriends that “he always just knows what she’s thinking.” He’s not psychic; he just listens to her as a woman instead of as a man! And this second honeymoon has been lasting for nearly five years now.)

The dating gurus say it’s impossible to regain lost attraction, but in their world, you’re dealing with a window of seconds to a few hours at most; in that context, that is quite correct. But in a mature, committed relationship, you have months, maybe even a year or two, because you both have so much invested in the relationship, and anyone can recapture and then go beyond the attraction felt during your first hours and days together if they have the information to (re)develop the skills needed. Indeed, if you started out with enough compatibility to make for a good marriage, success is almost a foregone conclusion…unless…

There is one thing you must realize about attraction: it’s a double-edged sword. A woman who isn’t feeling it is vulnerable to its influence, and she will latch on to whoever makes her feel it, maybe for a night, maybe for years, depending on the guy and whether she eventually sees a future with him. That guy can be you, or it could be any other guy who creates attraction for her; whomever gets it done first wins her whether he wants her or not. If somebody beats you to it, even if she drops him like a hot rock a week later, your task escalates from “not so hard” to “what the hell was I thinking???” Attraction must be nipped in the bud if at all possible because the earlier they’re fixed, the easier it is, and the later you wait, the more the odds of success are diminished while the level of effort is escalated.

Being attractive isn’t difficult, but when you get to that late stage, being able to have her see you being attractive may not happen. A woman can “get her mind made up” and dismiss you for life. You’ll know it because she won’t want to talk about anything but divorce and will arrange all manner of barriers to communication. Women have a “move on” circuit that once activated is all but impossible to deactivate, and if you don’t think that sounds quite right, drop by our forum and read some of the threads concerning mid-life crisis, the most extreme form of this problem, where a woman realizes that she’s bored, wasting her life, and basically panics, going out of her mind in a quest to try to make up for lost time. As the ugly truth goes, mid-life crisis is about as ugly as it gets. You don’t want to go there, and you don’t have to, either.

Everything you need to know to get on the right path this very minute and stay there is contained in “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” so set yourself up for success in your relationship by downloading your copy right now at http://www.makingherhappy.com/.

In the meantime, live well, be well, and have a wonderful day!
David Cunningham

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