If You Want a Long-lasting Relationship, You Can’t Be Lazy

Disney and its slew of romantic cartoons did a number on us growing up, especially women — ‘And they all lived happily ever after.’ Who could forget that one? And Hollywood with its stereotypes and romanticization of toxic relationships — cue Mr. Big and Carrey Bradshaw in Sex and the city.

Add Scenes from raunchy music videos of rappers and musicians that subconsciously told us that women are for the sexual gratification of men also played a role in our current predicament.

Pop culture has a huge influence on how we view the world. It has the power to shape how we interpret expectations for relationships, friendships, family, and life issues.

While we were being indoctrinated with scenes from Cinderella, The notebook, Sex and the city, Gossip girl, or the flashing scenes of musicians surrounded by many beautiful women in our childhood and teenage years— our momentary viewing pleasure has left us with the end product.

Here is an adult generation who walk around wanting the exciting rush of falling in love but are not willing to do what it takes to keep that rush sustained for the long term. Our naivete and pure laziness have left a trail of broken relationships in our paths, creating broken people.

If we are told to work hard to achieve academic and career success, why don’t we put the same effort into nurturing our relationships?

Lazy lovers live for the honeymoon phase.

Boy meets girl and asks her out on a date. The girl is flattered and accepts the invitation. By the end of the date, both of them can feel heavy sparks fly. A few months later, they become official and take ‘aww inspiring pictures for the gram. They go out on regular dates, have passionate sex, and arguments are at the barest minimum. I love you is uttered after each phone call that occurs at least five times a day, and both think they have found the love of their lives. All is right with the world.

The problem is once the honeymoon starts to fade, a person who has unrealistic expectations that love equals a constant high will begin to question the validity of their relationship. Then the fights become frequent, their partner’s bad habits become more exposed, and they think that it is antithetical to what love is. As a result, they pull up the white flag and surrender themselves back into the arms of the dating market.

In his book, Principia Amoris: The new science of love, John Gottman reveals the three phases of love that a couple needs to pass through. If a couple can successfully pass these phases, they have a higher success rate of staying together. The stages are; 1)The falling in love: Limerence phase (2)Building trust, and (3)Building commitment and Loyalty.

Guess who didn’t make it past the Limerence phase?

Love is more than the flickering of your heart or the lustful heat you feel when your bodies are pressed together. Love is a decision and a commitment, even when it’s not convenient. But some people don’t get that.

Lazy lovers become too familiar with their partners.

I wish I could find the person who came up with the words Familiarity breeds contempt and give them a high five. In many contexts, this couldn’t be more true. Long-term relationships indeed run the risk of partners becoming used to the routines and patterns of each other — the element of surprise is replaced with predictability, which could then lead to lethargy and monotony.

Leading relationship psychologist Esther Perel says that the very things needed to create long-lasting relationships, such as stability, mutuality, protection, safety, predictability — are also the things that can smother the desire in a relationship. But the difference between someone proactive and a lazy lover is that the latter sits in this phase and takes their partners for granted. An apathetic lover will ignore their partner’s needs, treat them with less respect than they did in the earlier days of the relationship, and give a lesser quality relationship experience.

Lazy lovers, stop being romantic.

Romance is the oil that keeps the wheels spinning in a relationship, and contrary to what some believe, it doesn’t just happen. Romance in a relationship takes planning and intentionality.

Other species have a mating ritual to which grand gestures or displays are shown to attract a mate. Humans are no different, except we take it one step further by forming long-term monogamous relationships. Some people get relaxed and throw in the towel to the game of romance. They relax on date night, giving compliments, buying gifts, spending quality time, etc. They feel that they’ve gotten their partner and don’t need to do anything romantic to win them anymore.

This sort of attitude makes a relationship redundant and can lead to familiarity, as I talked about prior. Romance plays a role in your partner’s feeling loved and improves the health of a dying relationship. An uncaring lover may realize this but choose to do nothing about it.

Lazy lovers are defensive when corrected.

Research has shown that defensive communication can affect the long-term stability of a relationship and may lead to more intense conflict.

When our partners bring up an issue about certain things they perceive we’ve done that hurts them, our natural reaction is to get defensive because we feel attacked. We feel like our integrity and efforts in the relationship don’t mean much to our partner. Or we feel like they misunderstood our genuine intentions. Many of us are guilty of getting defensive. However, it’s no excuse to constantly shut down your partner’s concerns whenever they bring up an issue.

It can be difficult taming our tongues to defend ourselves when we believe we are judged unfairly by our partner. Still, a proactive lover will recognize the dangers of constantly being defensive and will strive to be a better listener. In contrast, a lazy partner will not care to improve their communication and listening skills during conflicts. And it can only get worse from there.

Lazy lovers have unrealistic expectations about love.

An entitled person thinks love is like the movies where chance and good timing create the perfect love scenes. They lack self-awareness and are detached from the realities of life. They fail to realize that love needs to be worked on, just like every other thing. Such people have no backbone, and at the slightest inconvenience, they throw in the towel. They expect perfection from their partners but fail to hold themselves to the same standard. They constantly make excuses for their bad behaviors — ‘I’m not perfect, ‘I’m only human’ — they resist change.

They are addicted to the game of dating, and once they see that their current relationship is getting steady and familiar, they run away to seek the high of serial dating. You find them on apps going on more than 10 dates in one week, leading countless people on. Such lazy people have no concept of what it means to be faithful and content in a long-term, healthy and steady relationship. In other words, such people are toxic.

Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says ‘I need you because I love you.’

~ Eric Fromm

As the german social psychologist Eric Fromm said, an immature love only loves because it needs to take and take and take — hence making it self-centered. Perhaps we can self-reflect and identify the lazy lover inside each of us and seek ways to be better. Sadly we live in a world that glorifies individualism and the ‘I don’t need anybody to make me happy’ mentality. But if we are honest, we need people and cannot live a fulfilled life alone.

Relationships are messy, but with hard work, it can be worked to be something beautiful. And we can only achieve this when we start making changes and stop being lazy.

Adaeze Sherleen Ilo

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