Good relationships run smoothly and enable you to enjoy your life, work, and activities beyond the relationship. You’re not always worrying or talking about it. Like a smooth-running car, you don’t have to keep repairing it. You may have disagreements and get angry, but you still have goodwill toward one another, talk things over, resolve conflicts, and return to a loving, enjoyable state.
Cars do need maintenance, however. Take care of it, and it performs better. Relationships also take time and effort to maintain an intimate connection. This happens naturally in the initial romantic stage when you want to get to know your partner, spend time together, have frequent sex, and are more open and flexible. You’re less willing to compromise and may want less intimacy. Even if you don’t actually argue, you may return to the same emotional state you were in before you met — or worse — and wonder where your love went or whether your partner loves you. This is where the “struggle for intimacy” is required in order to maintain that love connection.
Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT, brings a wide range of professional and life experience to her work as a relationship and codependency expert, having treated individuals and couples for 30 years and coaching internationally.