What drives a stake through the heart of love? Bad habits of relating, says Michele Wiener-Davis, a therapist who runs the Divorce Busting Center in Woodstock, Illinois (www.divorcebusting.com). If you feel you’ve fallen out of love with your partner, don’t panic. Those feelings can be resuscitated, says Weiner-Davis, because your mate is the same person, though you have begun to see him differently. Take these steps to turn your love around.
Do unto others
We all want our partners to change. With what Weiner-Davis calls the butterfly effect, you set that metamorphosis in motion. For example, one sister complained that her honey wasn’t nice to her anymore. Wiener-Davis suggested that she go home and act as if her husband were being nicer and do what she used to do in return — make his lunches, stop by his job to say hi. In two weeks the sister reported that her husband was coming home earlier and helping out more with their baby.
Try the unexpected
Another woman was married to a brother who became frustrated and flew off the handle easily. She would try to calm him down, saying, “It’s going to be okay. Don’t worry.” But one day when his boss really upset him, the sister tried something different. She flew off the handle, too, pounding her fist on the table and shouting, “I can’t believe your boss is doing this! Now you’re going to get furious and our day will be ruined! I can’t believe this!” Taken aback, the husband rushed to comfort his wife, telling her it would be all right.
Ask for what you want
Instead of wishing for a vague improvement, such as “I want our relationship to be more loving,” Wiener-Davis advises that you determine what will make it feel more loving. Set goals such as “telling me you love me at least once a week” or “making love twice a week.”
Be too proud to beg
If things are sliding downhill fast in your relationship and it looks as if your mate is out the door, don’t beg and plead for his return. Act as if you’re going on with your life. Keep your hair and nail appointments; take that continuing-education class. Not seeming desperate to keep your mate gives him a chance to miss you. And if he’s gone for good, the positive energy you invest in yourself will help you move on.