By Angeline Cheng
Let’s talk about how you’re feeling lately.
There’s this unusual and uncomfortable sensation that’s bothering you, and you can’t quite pinpoint what it is. But you realized that amidst these uncertainties, these things are for sure: You don’t get kilig much upon seeing your partner anymore, you noticed that the hugs and words of affection don't quite make you feel fuzzy like before, and you seem to care less and less about their day for the past couple of weeks.
Are you falling out of love?
But before diving into that conclusion straight away, let’s take a closer look at the stages that you’ll go through, and what you can do about it:
Stage #1: Denial
At this point, you might become too in denial to admit that the fire of love isn’t burning so brightly anymore, especially when you and your significant other have been together for so long and many memories have been made. You might be questioning yourself why you’re feeling this way, that maybe this feeling would drift away eventually, and that you’ll find yourself head over heels again one day as you wake up. But the fact that this thought came across your mind is a red flag enough to reckon that there’s something wrong.
What to do: Accept.
Be matured enough to embrace the reality that things like these really do happen, and you don’t have to deny yourself from the truth. The only way you can truly acknowledge the burden that you’re feeling is to accept it wholeheartedly without any doubts. The more you try to accept it, the easier for you move on to the next steps you have to do regarding this dilemma.
Stage #2: Blaming yourself
When you’ve learned to accept what you’re feeling, the blame fest begins. You start blaming yourself for feeling this and making yourself feel bad because you’re having these kinds of sentiments. You also start to develop pity for your partner knowing that they are trusting you to give your full heart to them when the truth is that you’re thinking that the love you have for your significant other is already vanishing, little by little.
What to do: Be honest with yourself, think things through, and listen to your heart.
Instead of blaming yourself, direct your focus to analyzing deeply why you’re feeling this way. Go back to the start and examine the significant parts of your relationship, piece by piece, to help you in this process. Maybe you’re unconsciously too fed up with the possessiveness of your partner? Or maybe you’re feeling like you’re starting to grow apart from the relationship? No matter what the reasons are, listen closely to what your heart is whispering because there are reasons why you're feeling the way you do, and you really just have to pinpoint the root cause of it. Remember, there’s no use in lying to yourself about this one.
RELATED: In Focus: Why Your Partner Shouldn't Be Your Top Priority
Stage #3: Fear
Once you have determined the cause of your feelings, you’ll begin developing fears: fear that maybe you’re wrong about all of these, fear that you'll hurt your partner, or even fear that you may regret having these feelings at all. Your fear will surely hold you back from addressing the problem, and you may get frozen because of it, unable to move forward.
What to do: Take control.
The best way for you to face your fears is to have the courage to communicate heart-to-heart with your partner. Your significant other doesn’t deserve to be left blinded by what you’re going through, so you better tell them what’s going on. Nothing will ever be resolved if you’ll be trapped by your fears, so control it while you still can. Also, when you and your S.O. talk, make sure to lay out everything and talk in-depth, so as to save yourself from regret later on.
Stage #4: Uncertainty
After talking things through with your partner, you will come to terms with a decision; whether to continue with the relationship and try both of your hardest to ignite the flame once again, or to finalize that the relationship isn’t working anymore and just call it quits. No matter which path you both choose, you’ll end up uncertain about it for a while; uncertain if you chose the right thing, uncertain if what happened is really for the best, uncertain if the other way might be better… and the list goes on.
What to do: Stand your ground.
Don’t be that person who goes back on their decisions because it will leave you more confused than ever. Make it a habit that when you decide on something, you stand up for it no matter what. You and your partner talked, no one made the decision for you but yourself, so be assertive about it. If you two chose to stay in love and work things out, cooperate to achieve that. If you two called it quits, then deal with the heartbreak that comes after.
Stage #5: Comfort
The process of standing up for your decision will be a long and tedious one; some will find comfort in a matter of days, some in months, others even in years. No matter how long it may take for you to reach this step, be patient because you’ll find this, too!
What to do: Look back and learn.
Upon reaching the point of comfort, you will surely have learned a thing or two about yourself and how to deal with relationships. Use these learnings to face the hardships you’ll encounter later in your love life, whether it be from the same partner or to a new one. In relationships, and even in other aspects of life, improvement of oneself never stops.
As far as relationships are concerned, every feeling is important, and it is much more important to communicate every single one with your S.O. thus the word partner. Talk things through and make sure every decision is mutually respected, after all, once the damage has been done, it takes more than band-aids and stitches to heal what’s been hurt.
ALSO READ: In Focus: Things You Understand When You've Learned To Be Friends With Your Ex