In longer term relationships some of the reasons for early attraction can become a significant cause of disharmony and relationship conflict if not properly acknowledged and addressed.
Each person comes to a relationship with their own value system that developed in their family of origin and the wider environment in which they grew up. These learned behaviors lead to expectations of how men ‘should’ relate and behave, and how women ‘should’ relate and behave.
Early in a relationship we are often attracted [consciously or sub-consciously] to character traits in a prospective partner that help balance our own attributes and can compensate for areas where we are less skilled. For example a shy person may be attracted to someone more outgoing, and the outgoing person may be attracted to the others self containment.
Later in relationships these differences can become a source of irritation and frustration leading to conflict and a growing resentment of ‘not being understood’ if not recognised and worked through.
Somehow the language of the relationship has changed and aspects that initially added to relationship harmony now risk being a source of conflict. It can be easy to forget that each person is a separate individual and to expect them to behave in a way that conforms to only one person’s value system.
Attending couple counselling can be an important step in rebuilding long term understanding and recreating trust and safety. Each partner can be an individual and also part of a healthy relationship dynamic that creates its own unique culture and value system using the strengths from both partners.
Among the many factors that contribute to a healthy growing relationship is the willingness to develop an increased self awareness and an increased awareness and understanding of your partner. If there is only self focus, then your partner’s needs are likely to be ignored. Similarly if your focus is on your partners needs to the exclusion of your own, then the relationship risks becoming out of balance.
These and other issues can be explored with you therapist.
If you are worried that different value systems is an issue for you or someone close to you and would like to start to make changes you can contact Talking Therapy.