I’m confused as to what our partners are here to provide. I know it’s our responsibility to make sure we are happy in a relationship, because I understand that we shouldn’t expect our partner to be a certain way for us to feel good.
But I remember in my last relationship he would put more effort in beginning like the “honey moon phase” and it lasted a lot shorter than I wanted. For example, for one month he’d text a lot, call me and say sweet things and compliment me, but then it stopped after just a month. After the honeymoon phase there was less texting and less effort in general.
I told him I don’t feel special or important anymore and that made me less happy in the relationship. Looking back I wonder if that was wrong or what I should’ve said?
I know I’m suppose to make myself feel special and important without him regardless of his actions, but at same time I did miss the way he acted before and appreciate more timely txts and quality time on phone etc. So my question is, should I want my partner to change, and if he won’t change, do I leave?
– Wanting More
Dear Wanting More,
I understand how it can seem confusing, like why are we in a relationship if we can’t get our needs met in a relationship?! Let’s break it down.
We are ultimately responsible for getting our needs met. That means, we do what we can so that we can be our own source of fulfillment, peace, romance, and happiness. We don’t base our sense of being okay and our happiness on someone else. People – whether they are our romantic partners or friends, are not here to make us happy, they are bonuses. If your baseline is not joyful, peaceful, etc – it’s inevitable that you’ll be disappointed when someone doesn’t meet your expectation.
In a relationship, there are certain needs that we have that are shared – connection for example. We can communicate like a functioning adult (not a wounded child who is having a tantrum) to express our needs and state our preferences. Ultimately, we cannot force someone to do anything. If someone doesn’t want to, or isn’t capable of meeting you where you want and investing the effort, then that’s your decision to accept, or leave.
The honeymoon phase is the romantic stage where there’s a lot more chemicals at play, such as dopamine. Dopamine is the molecule of more. It’s what motivates people to get more of something. Dopamine drives this romance stage, and yes, eventually it wears off. It then changes to a more calm stage. Different chemicals come into play here (namely oxytocin and vasopressin). This is natural, and one stage is not better or worse, it’s a progression.
It’s futile to wish you said things differently. All you can do now is look at what part of experience of the relationship were you accountable for, what was helpful and what was not, and how can you learn for the next time. There’s a deeper need behind the frequency of texts. Perhaps this is an opportunity for you to dig into what the real issues are. Feeling connected, feeling romantic, feeling self-conscious about their affections, etc
Because if you feel safe and secure in a relationship, you won’t count the hours between texts. So it goes deeper than the symptoms that you’re ruminating about.
Hope this helps with your reflection,