When we visit a new place, everything looks sparkling and bright. As we zip through the streets, the sign boards look shinier. The way side eateries appear to be serving items which smell much better than the ones in the place where we live.
Likewise, when we meet a new person whom we have liked at first sight, we get swayed. We look for matching vibrations. We look for a resonance in our thoughts. We try to find common interests. Everything about that person just sounds perfect at that point in time.
For most of us, the appetite for novelty is virtually inexhaustible. We are always seeking something new. Whether it is career or home, books or movies, clothes or food, we are eagerly looking forward to a change of scene. When our routine lives bog us down, we go off on a vacation. The wanderers and explorers within us ensure that our interest in our own lives is always alive and kicking.
In most relationships, we soon reach a pleateu of sorts. We start noticing warts. We start discovering the other person’s weaknesses. Much like the new place which starts looking jaded, the new relationship no longer holds us enamoured.
Boredom soon follows. The sheen of novelty gets completely worn off. It gets replaced by contempt. We start detesting the person. Traits which appealed to us some time back assume a negative hue. At times, one has to take a call whether to continue with the relationship. This is the time when we are likely to take a more balanced view of the relationship.
Life continues throwing challenges. These test the strength and the tenacity of the relationship. If we find that the other person has been faithful, frank and sacrificing, we realize his/her real value in our lives. If the overall contribution of the other person has been significant, we continue with the relationship.
We could also continue with a relationship based on either necessity or fear. But such bonds become vitiated over a period of time and the real joy of togetherness is lost. Love is not about keeping someone chained to us; it is more about letting go.
For any relationship to be truly healthy and sustainable, a degree of freedom for each one is a must. The bond might imply exclusivity, but not of a kind which becomes suffocating for the other person. The respect we have for the wishes and likes of the other person needs to get reciprocated.
Relationships happen to be like tender saplings. Given the right soil conditions of our own character, regular exposure to the sunlit warmth of care, routine watering by the elixir of affection, and occasional nourishment by pleasant surprises, the plant grows. Its roots become stronger. Its branches and leaves provide the perfect shelter. A relationship which is not nurtured thus tends to wither away over a period of time.
How does one tackle relationships which have gone stale over a period of time? How does one reinvigorate them?
A brief period of separation helps. A surprise helps. Getting back spontaneity helps. Imagining the absence of the other person helps. A frank dialogue helps. A warm hug, or even a touch, helps. Putting ourselves in the shoes of the other person helps. Doing something together of mutual interest helps. Even enquiring about the progress of the other person’s pet project helps. Cutting down on cynicism helps.
The main challenge in keeping relationships healthy and vibrant is posed by the novelty we are always seeking. The good news is that novelty has many facets. An innovative approach can put the pep back into most of our relationships.
How do you overcome the challenge of novelty to keep your relationships charged? Would you like to share your recipe for attaining everlasting happiness in a relationship?