People often say that love fades over time. But that’s not true. Love doesn’t fade because of time; love fades because of complacency.
It fades because we settle for good without trying harder to reach greatness. Love fades because it’s taken for granted.
By being too complacent in a relationship, people are slowly and unintentionally killing it.
They wake up one day and everything they have built, everything they have worked for, is gone and they don’t know why. The simple truth is it’s gone because they stopped building.
They stopped making efforts. They stopped sharing things with their significant other. They stopped showing they still care.
Complacency usually affects long-term relationships and marriages. Sometimes, people are fine with the way things are and have no urge to improve anything.
Sometimes, they get stuck in a rut and accept the lousy situation they are in. In both situations, they have no need to try a bit harder, to put in some effort, to try something new and to actually be present in the relationship.
But it’s not just the lack of effort, even though that’s the main issue. It’s also failing to notice your partner and everything about him. It’s a lack of affection, attention and communication.
It’s an emotional distance that’s getting bigger by the minute, tearing your heart apart, and causing your relationship to break.
The worst part is, more often than not, their behavior is unconscious. People don’t see that their relationship is suffering and what they are inflicting on their partner.
To prevent that from happening, we first have to know how to recognize complacency in a relationship:
Confusing comfort with complacency
There is a thin line between complacency and comfort and it’s easy to mix up the two.
Comfort is a positive feeling. It usually means you feel relaxed with your partner and you can be yourself around him. You don’t have the need to dress up because you know he will think you are also adorable in your PJs with messy hair.
He doesn’t have to shave all the time because you love his three-day beard. And that’s nice and loving.
On the other hand, when you are being too complacent, you won’t notice his beard and he won’t notice how adorable you are when you are being yourself at home.
This is just one simple example and there are a lot more similar ones. The thing here is that you have become too comfortable.
You have stopped seeing one another. You have stopped noticing the little things that matter.
Consequently, when the two of you stop paying attention to one another, you also stop putting effort into seducing each other.
You think that the other person is already yours and that there is no need in trying to win them over since your job is already done.
Lack of communication
A healthy relationship can never exist without healthy communication. You need to be able to trust your partner and to feel like he’s the person you can tell your deepest secrets to, without the fear of being judged, if you plan for things between the two of you to work out.
However, this is no longer the case in your relationship. Somewhere along the road, all of your communication has disappeared and with time, the two of you have started acting like complete strangers.
Your partner is not your confidant anymore. No matter what was happening, good or bad, you use to run to them with the news first but sadly, that is no longer the case.
Their opinion meant the world to you and they were the only one whose advice you always took into consideration.
This was the person you were never ashamed in front of and the person whose opinion you valued above everyone else’s.
You would talk for hours about everything and now you can’t even remember when you guys had a decent conversation.
Yes, you still might talk about everyday things and have some small talk but meaningful communication is out of the picture.
Instead of actually living together as lovers, you started cohabitating more as friends and it’s taking its toll on the entire relationship.
The two of you are no longer lovers or even best friends—you’ve become nothing more than roommates who happen to share a living space. You’ve started seeing them almost as a part of the furniture instead of a part of your life.
Also, there are a lot of couples who go from zero communication to communicating only when they are arguing.
And while fighting can be beneficial and productive for the relationship and help things to change and improve, when complacency kicks in, fights become a series of unaddressed and unresolved issues that only make room for resentment.
The problem is that you don’t resolve your issues one at a time when they’re actually happening.
Instead, you pile up the things that bother you and you brush them under the carpet because you don’t see a way of talking them through with your significant other.
Later on, when a huge fight breaks out, everything you’ve been holding back explodes and you guys end up without ever really resolving anything and without coming to a conclusion.
This is definitely one of the biggest reasons complacency kills marriages and relationships. It’s when people just stop trying.
They are so deep into the relationship that they have just stopped making efforts. They let things be.
They feel no urge to work on things to make some adjustments to improve them.
Even when things are going extremely badly and when the time comes to step up and fix the relationship, they remain passive.
This can happen because with time, you simply become too tired.
Both of you have fought for this relationship to work out up to now and when you’ve finally succeeded in meeting halfway, you just lost all of your energy.
Or maybe you and your partner started taking each other for granted. You’ve become so certain of one another’s love that you don’t see a point in trying to deserve it.
You both think that there is nothing you can do for the other person to stop loving you and that they will always be around, no matter what happens. So, why bother.
Forgetting to have some ‘alone time’
People get preoccupied with their children, family issues, work and all the other daily issues. They forget how important it is to spend time together as a couple.
Remember that besides being career-oriented people or co-parents, the two of you are still lovers and romantic partners and you should always find the time and energy to act that way. However, sadly, this is what most people forget.
They emotionally drift apart and are unable to connect anymore. They don’t go out, don’t cuddle and watch movies, stop hugging and kissing and being affectionate.
They forget anniversaries and birthdays and they are getting more and more distant by the minute.
Living a busy life, they forget to reserve some time for themselves, without anyone or anything bothering them or interfering.
The truth is that sometimes, this seems like mission impossible but it is imperative for a successful partnership.
Slaves of habit
Couples who fall into the trap of becoming too complacent do things by default without putting their emotions into them.
Without even being aware of it, they get stuck in their comfort zone without the courage to step out of it and to make some changes in their life.
This is best seen in the intimate part of a relationship. Sex becomes something you just do and with time, you start seeing it as a duty, without enjoying it to the fullest.
You start seeing it as something you have to do instead of something you should have the desire to do with your loved one. Sex becomes just one of the relationship activities that is expected of you instead of it being an intimate act and physical pleasure.
You get things done, without any special pleasure. It is good but it isn’t great.
You are not entirely pleased but you are unwilling to spice things up. Or in the worst case, sex is non-existent and you feel more like roommates than a couple.
How to avoid complacency in a relationship?
Since you’ve gotten this far, it is more than obvious that your relationship can be related to some or even most of the things mentioned above and that you have a problem.
Well, after recognizing the signs and being aware that you and your partner have fallen into the trap of becoming too complacent in a relationship, it’s about time to take some action to make things better and ultimately save your relationship because the situation you are in now isn’t good.
Neither of you might want to admit this but the way your relationship is now is making you both miserable.
You’re clearly not solving anything and it’s time you bring the spark back into your relationship.
If you’re looking for ways to stop being complacent in a relationship, start by not taking your partner for granted and don’t allow him to take you for granted either.
Remember to compliment him when he changes something about his appearance or he does something around the house.
If he fails to notice something you believe he should, turn his attention to it. Ask him what he thinks and subtly imply how you wish that things like that didn’t go unnoticed.
The key is in noticing the little things and in showing that you really see each other. It is in paying attention to one another just like at the beginning of the relationship.
Talk openly to your partner
The next thing you need to do in the process of not being complacent in a relationship is tell your partner honestly what the issue is.
Tell him how you feel about everything and that you believe that you both have become complacent in the relationship.
Don’t let him deny it and don’t allow him to dismiss your words as unimportant or foolish.
Explain to him that you two really have a problem which needs to be worked on as soon as possible.
If you want to stop being complacent in a relationship, join forces and together see what you can do about it. Set some relationship goals and move toward them.
It may do you good to have some guidelines on how to achieve those goals.
The most important thing here is that you both admit that you have a problem and that you are both willing to snap out of it and work hard to save your relationship because there is no point if you’re the only one fighting and the only trying.
Put some effort into things. Look at all the things you can improve and that both of you as a couple could do differently. Don’t sleepwalk through your relationship. Be present.
Ask things. Support. Talk openly about anything and everything—communication is vital. Show interest.
Try something new and exciting together. In the end, all the small efforts will add up to something great.
It’s never too late to start being better to one another and to start working on the fact that you’ve become complacent in the relationship. Simple acts of kindness should never be underestimated.
You both need to feel appreciated and loved. You both need to work on things because relationships are always about two. One-sided efforts won’t suffice.
Find time for just the two of you
One of the most important things which will help you fall out of the trap of being too complacent in a relationship is finding time that the two of you will spend alone, as a couple, without anyone else.
Yes, time spent apart or with friends and family is also beneficial for your relationship but it’s time you focus on the two of you.
Don’t allow everything else to be more important than the two of you.
Of course, you love your job and you want to get ahead. Naturally, you love your children more than anything and they have your undivided attention.
However, work or money won’t hug you at night. Your children will grow up and have lives of their own and in the end, it’s going to be just the two of you.
And it’s never really ‘either/or’. If you work at it, you can have the best of everything.
It’s important to make time for each other now before it becomes too late, to work on your relationship and make it more satisfying and fulfilling.
Remember to manage your time wisely so you have time for all the people and everything else that’s important in your life but it’s important that you and your partner learn to enjoy each other’s company all over again.
Spice things up a bit
While sex might not be the most important part of the relationship, it’s equally as important as all the other parts.
This is especially the case if the sex is bad or, even worse, non-existent because this is when you feel how crucial it actually is for a healthy relationship.
It’s what distinguishes friendship from love. And it’s important that you have your best friend and lover in one person.
I’m not talking about physical pleasure connected with sex here only—I’m talking about the intimacy connected to it.
Sex brings you closer to your partner. It creates emotional bonds that influence deeply your relationship.
So don’t let the passion die. Spice up your sex life a bit, try new things. Flirt. Send sexts.
Make an effort in this aspect of your relationship, too. Don’t allow sex to be just one more of your daily chores or something you have to get over with. Bring back all the sparks you had when you first started.
The bottom line is relationships need constant work. They need mutual efforts and constant improvements.
That’s what makes them last. That’s why you should never take your partner for granted.
You should never assume that just because you are in a long-term partnership or marriage that you should stop trying and become too complacent in the relationship.
There is a big difference between feeling comfortable around each other and acting like you don’t care. If you act like you don’t care, your partner will start to believe that.
Actions speak louder than words. And if there are no actions, there is nothing that’s going to prove to your partner that you genuinely care. It will push them away. That’s why you should never risk making somebody you truly love feel like they are not important anymore.
React immediately, don’t let things get too far. When there is love, understanding and the enormous wish of both partners for something to last, they will make it work.
They will make all the necessary changes. They will make the effort and go above and beyond to make things work.
If that’s the case, complacency will be just a rough patch they managed to overcome and their relationship will grow stronger because of it.