Being at the end of a relationship is much like using up the last of a toiletry product you enjoyed or finding that great ingredient or product in your drawer or cabinet that is simply past its expiration date! Like the goods and products you enjoy as a consumer, love if left to sit on the shelf can also elapse. The saying use it or lose it is more applicable then we may realize!
Think about it. There are not many things in life that left unused continue to perform the same way that they did when they were fresh and new. Marriage and relationships are no different! Interaction, communication, engagement, respect and appreciation are all required to not only keep love alive, but to make you eligible for a lifetime of refills and renewals. Otherwise love’s expiration date can be very real and painful.
I have seen so many clients who are “functioning” in a stale relationship blame, and judge, and accuse their partner of emotionally abandoning them or simply not caring enough to actively participate. Here is the question I like to ask. Did your marriage expire like an old, forgotten product on the bathroom shelf, or is there a possibility for a new and updated version of that love? Did it simply change?
There are several ways to interpret what I mean by new and updated! It could mean that the marriage or relationship itself has run its course and is no longer appealing to either party. Or it could mean that their relationship is still in tact yet the love or heartbeat of that relationship has simply exhausted itself in its current state. It has changed. Perhaps in the later, one or both have changed (as we all do) and no one bothered to update just what love means now. The difference between love’s expiration date being an ending or a new beginning is based on the participant’s involved being willing to expand upon their definition of love and expectation. Is it a natural exploration of the next chapter of their existence together or an all out need to simply purge this expired love?
Here are 3 things to do now to challenge love’s expiration date:
Accept and let go. Nothing stays the same in life. Love grows and wanes as we do. Sometimes we need more and sometimes we give more. The question to ask now is does it still exist? If you and your partner determine that you do in fact still love one another how can you change your day to day to reflect the differences in your relationship? This is common over the course of long marriages, at the juncture of an empty nest, and when one or both partners have major changes in their professional lives. Our needs shift and our love needs to shift along with that. Once you accept this, you can take forward action in identifying ways to reintroduce a refreshed version of your relationship and your love. Why? Acceptance takes the anger and judgment out of the equation and leaves you with resourceful ways to reinvent. Letting go of expectations lets in new and interesting opportunities and possibilities—even within existing relationships and commitments.
Grab hold of your own identity. Often, we lose ourselves in our relationships. Grabbing hold of who you are is important from the start. Yet often, we get caught up in family life and then our children get older what is left behind is unfamiliar. Great time to step into all the things you always wanted to do yet never did. You will become more fascinating to your spouse, have more to talk about and share, and be more energized in your own existence. Fine-tuning your own self is a sure fire way to fine-tune your heart.
Meet people where they are today. When we always do what we always did…we always get the same results. What worked in your 20’s may not be actionable in middle age in your 2-decade-old marriage.
What works now:
What do you need and what does your spouse seek?
Your relationship to your world changes as you age. Therefore, your relationship to your relationship needs to shift as well.
Discuss this with your partner.
Decide what activities you can do together that will bust love’s expiration date!
Spend time together with a new twist.
Instead of seeing your mate as you have always viewed him or her…try seeing them for whom they actually are TODAY! We all change, yet we continue to view people, as we have always known them.
If you were to meet your husband, or wife, or boyfriend, or girlfriend for the first time without any history…what would you see, experience, and embrace about them?
Did love expire or simply transform?
Randi Levin CPC, founder & CEO, Randi Levin Coaching – is a nationally recognized transitional life strategist, Fortune 500 keynote, author, and reinvention expert. Randi supports women in becoming legends in their own lives! She works with emerging entrepreneurs and women in transition to redefine their legacy so that they can move from wanting success to living successfully. Randi is a legacy catalyst employing the power of today to curate, design, and drive choice and limitless growth. She is a relatable resource and an action-oriented coach building upon her 15 years in Corporate America, her tenure as a stay-at-home super mom, and her successful reinvent and pivot as an entrepreneur and sought-after life strategist. Randi Levin Coaching is widely quoted and featured in top media outlets and she is regularly a featured guest expert on podcasts, radio, and women’s panels. You may have seen her quoted or as a contributor in Thrive Global, HuffPost, Reader’s Digest, Business Insider, American Express OPEN Forum, Working Mother Magazine, Better After 50, or Covey Club. Her workshops have been featured in The Wall Street Journal and Randi is the creator of The Personal Success Accelerator System and a contributing author in the anthology series Get RESULTS!