7 Seemingly Alarming Things That Actually Mean Your Relationship Is Evolving
Your relationship likely will change from how it was in the beginning. Although many of us would love to stay in the honeymoon period forever, change is necessary for growth. If you want your relationship to last, you need to keep nurturing it in order for that to happen. For many, change can be scary. But according to experts, it doesn't have to be. There may be some changes that occur in your relationship that can seem alarming, but actually mean that your relationship is evolving.
"A relationship evolves as it gets deeper and two people get closer," Dr. Paulette Sherman, psychologist and author of Dating from the Inside Out, tells Bustle. This generally involves having more history together, seeing both the good and not so good aspects of each other, and having the ability to overcome challenges together.
Making the transition from the more carefree early days to something more stable can seem like your relationship is losing its fire. But that's not always the case.
"In the first year or two of dating your brain secretes different levels of neurotransmitters and hormones," couples therapist Amy Bishop, M.S., tells Bustle. "As your relationship progresses, you may notice you and your partner act differently. But this isn’t a reason to be alarmed."
Relationships are meant to change over time. So here are some seemingly alarming things that actually mean your relationship is evolving, according to experts.
1. You Find Yourself Thinking That Your Partner Is "Boring" Every Now And Then
The newness of your relationship will likely wear off at some point. When that happens, it's not uncommon to feel a little bored with your partner or relationship. "This is likely due to the increase in neurotransmitters such as dopamine that make your partner seem exciting and novel when you begin dating," Bishop says. "As dopamine levels even out, we move into a more stable connection with our partner that makes us want to imagine our futures together and plan for them." Although stability is great, it may not be the most exciting thing. But try not to worry, this typically isn't a bad thing.
2. You're Arguing More
When your connection with your partner evolves into something more stable, you may notice that you have no problem speaking your mind. You become less worried about rocking the boat because you know that arguments are inevitable and compromise is key. As Bishop says, "Just make sure you argue well and quickly repair, and this doesn’t have to be a cause for concern."
3. You're Having Less Sex
A decrease in the amount of sex you and you partner are having can seem like your relationship is going south. But the truth is, it's completely common to have less sex than you did initially, and for your sex life to ebb and flow. According to Bishop, it doesn't necessarily mean that you find each other less attractive or that the desire is gone. "It's likely a decrease in the elevated hormone levels present in the early stages of relationships that are responsible for higher libido and lust," she says. But that spark can stay lit, as long as you put a little work in.
4. You Don't Think Twice About Doing "Gross" Human Things Around Them
As you become more comfortable with each other, you start revealing the more authentic parts of yourself. According to Bishop, this may mean not dressing up for each other when you're just hanging out at home, not going to great lengths to hide "embarrassing" smells or sounds, and openly revealing your less appealing habits or traits when you're around each other. "This doesn't mean you're getting 'too comfortable,'" she says. "It’s a sign that you feel safe with the other person and don’t feel you have to audition for one another anymore."
5. You See Your Partner In A Different Way
When you begin to "see the underbelly of your partner," Dr. Sherman says, this means that your relationship is evolving. You're likely going to learn more about their fears, their defensive styles, their limitations, and possibly even some past traumas. When someone unloads their baggage on you, it can get pretty complicated. "But when you love deeply, you accept the good and challenging parts of your partner and support one another’s growth and healing," she says. So when your relationship is evolving, you'll see your partner for who they truly are and will love them the same.
6. You Spend Less Time Together
In the early stages, it's common to spend a lot of time together. You're eager to text each other all day or plan dates and actually follow through with them. But as your relationship evolves, that can start to fade. When you know you're in a committed partnership, Dr. Caroline Madden, author and relationship therapist, tells Bustle, security might make you want to go back to your "old life" of working late or hanging out with your friends. Although you should never take the security of your relationship for granted, spending less time together is nothing to really worry about. In fact, it's pretty healthy to spend some time apart doing your own thing. As long as you keep the lines of communication open and you keep nurturing the relationship together, your relationship can keep evolving.
7. You Cry In Front Of Each Other A Lot More
Laughter is known to bond people together, but so can sadness. At the beginning of a relationship, you want to keep things light. It's easy to pretend that everything is OK even when it's not. But as licensed therapist Heidi McBain, tells Bustle, "If you’re at a place where you can be vulnerable with each other, it can help you feel more connected within your relationship." Being able to cry in front of your partner or share your low points with them means that you have no problem being vulnerable with them. When you're vulnerable, McBain says, "This is where growth happens."
Change can be scary, especially if it's happening in your relationship. While the honeymoon period is fun, these changes will take your relationship to another level.