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Staying power

Suzanne Loubris cautions against the temptation to stray from a solid relationship in the hope a new person will make you happy.

They really get me!  You know how you can meet that new and interesting person in your workplace? You get caught up in one of those lovely chats in the staffroom, work canteen, on the train going home. After years of being in a relationship that has become stale and unengaging, you become unconsciously available for a little sizzle in your life. It’s possible that meeting someone who really listens and who understands how you feel and think, and sees the world from your perspective, is like finding an oasis when you live in a desert.

When your partner is too preoccupied with screen time, doesn’t really listen to you, doesn’t find you fascinating anymore, possibly burps, farts and cuts their toenails in the bedroom, they’re not going to have the ability to compete with a charming new person.

The danger here is that people fail to be vigilant and they fail to contribute to the relationship. Partners become complacent, they stop making an effort. Well, don’t take that risk. Keep hunting. Hunt for happiness, hunt to spend time with your partner. Hunt their affection. Otherwise why wouldn’t your partner’s heart soar when they meet someone who is completely absorbed in their every word and wants to send them text messages all day and discuss important life issues with them?

In the beginning stages of a relationship people are at their most charming. Men develop amazing listening skills and women wear sexy outfits and might just be a little extra energetic in the bedroom. It’s intoxicating. People become obsessed with this possibly fake version of the person they have met. The impact is too great but the reward may be a hologram and not reality.

People who fall for the exciting stimulation of meeting a new person may often lose a great deal. A marriage or life partnership collapses. Lives are split apart, children are impacted and hearts are broken. And we never stop to question whether the new person is worth all the heartache.

Sometimes new relationships with wonderful people turn into neverending  love stories, but how often do those people become disengaged once the two of you form a relationship? After a while, they stop listening to you with fascination; they stop thinking you are incredible, because now you’re becoming irritating, telling them the same boring story. The gloss goes out of the relationship  and you are potentially no better off.  We fall for a facade and excellent acting skills. After a while, we discover the true nature of the person and the disappointments start to occur.

So it might be advisable to think carefully about being seduced over a casual coffee. Enjoy the seduction for what it is. At the same time, try to imagine what it would be like in a few years when the gloss has fallen off – maybe its better to stay with the devil you know than the devil you don’t.

Suzanne Loubris is a relationships counsellor and organisational psychologist. You’ll find her at Leah Dique & Associates in Nambour, or visit behaviourthatworks.com.

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