If you google what a healthy relationship looks like, you are most likely to come across 3 C's – communication, compromise, and commitment. These are the most crucial factors that come into play among the myriad of other things needed to keep the flames of a relationship burning. But sometimes it's not the flame that you focus on – rather the wax that's been melting away with time.
Feeling stuck or dwelling on the negatives doesn't necessarily mean that you have started to despise your partner. Maybe there was a spark once, however, with the smallest things your partner does, it burns down in resentment. Realistically speaking, burnout can not only happen from regular arguments or mere disputes, but also due to loveless bonds where you're tired of pretending things are okay. When you mask your feelings or strive hard to portray a version of yourself that looks good in someone else's books, you face inner turmoil that exhausts you. The proper term for this is "surface acting" which loosely refers to faking emotions in order to keep up with what's going on around you whereas "deep acting" is when one starts to believe that these fake emotions are actually real and positive. Acts like this require a lot of emotional labour and it sure can leave a person feeling drained.
Burnouts are like slow poison. Unlike an abrupt breakup, it kills a relationship slowly. Although you feel the pain, you can't get out of the cycle easily. For many, it comes down to spending sleeping nights trying to melt that emotional frost with their partners. However, hyper-focusing on a single topic or person can also make someone lose interest in all the other important things around them. Things that once provided you joy don't seem interesting anymore. You feel stuck and render yourself disoriented.
A relationship is not a one-person job. It requires time and effort from both sides to make an alliance successful. A hurting relationship can be healed. Even if you feel silly talking about the things causing you problems, there is no way of fixing things other than having a sincere conversation with your partner. Setting up boundaries is important, and both parties decide together on what works best for them.
It is equally crucial to portion some time to yourself where you can work on your goals and desires. Sometimes a little space can bridge the distance. Do things that make each other feel valued. Words of affirmation, gift-giving, acts of service, or any other love language may rekindle the spark that you lost on the way.
A loving relationship is where you grow, it's a safe place where you don't need to wear your mask of pretence. It shouldn't wear you down and make you feel miserable. And if you see no end to the daily fights and emotional burnouts, it sometimes is better to let the person go instead of playing the crippling blame game.
Farnaz Fawad Hasan spends most of her time dreaming about chicken nugget castles. Tell her to snap back to reality at firstname.lastname@example.org