Love Living, Quit Hating, Everyone Relating

Complacency

In Communication, Relationships on October 5, 2010 at 8:00 am

written by Swag  

Lazy Smurf and Gargamel

Don't get lazy in your relationship. Something might creep up on you.

 

 

It’s far to easy to become complacent in a relationship and complacency goes hand in hand with entitlement. When an individual takes their partner for granted, essentially, they believe they are entitled to the benefits they have been receiving. They expect some mandatory level of service. This expectation occurs on a subconscious level so I am not saying anyone is acting maliciously, but there are harmful side effects to believing your partner is supposed to do anything. Love isn’t based on obligation. It’s based on mutual, empathetic consideration.  

As relationships progress, habits form and little by little, the generosity and consideration that was once appreciated and celebrated becomes routine and expected.

Like a cancer, once it has crept into the relationship, complacency is very hard to shake and when it sets in, you may have to put your relationship through chemo just to expunge it. You may have to journey through an uncomfortable, transitional period in order to promote long-term growth.

Dealing With Complacency In Others – Be Honest

The worst thing you can do when you feel like your partner is becoming complacent, is to not say anything, at all. Every habit, that is ever formed, is reinforced both positively and negatively. When you are not communicating to your partner, you allow them to develop their own balance of reinforcement. Imagine a habit your partner has that is beginning to wear on you. Rather than bring it up, you decide to just deal with it. You figure, if things stay the same, it’s not a deal breaker. You believe this is the better route, despite knowing that if things were to change, you would probably be more satisfied with the relationship overall. Not only are you learning the unhealthy habit of appeasement, you are also eliminating an opportunity for your partner to improve themselves. In essence, you are stunting their emotional growth. You aren’t allowing them the chance to love you more fully.

When you communicate your dislike of anything, you alter how your partner perceives it. But if you want them to change you can not approach them with 100% negative reinforcement (i.e. “I don’t like it when you let the trash overflow”). There must also be some positive reinforcement that works in tandem (i.e. “Thank you so much for taking out the trash). Granted, if the reversal of the bad habit has not yet happened or even started, you may need to generalize your positive reinforcement so they get the hint (i.e. “I love it when you help out around the house”).

Dealing With Being Complacent – Don’t be Disingenuous

The best medicine is always preventative medicine (healthy lifestyle/diet) as opposed to reactive medicine (surgery/antibiotics/chemo). When you begin a relationship, it’s always best to start out as honestly as possible. When I was younger, I believed I would have better chances with girls, if I was romantic, so I catered to those beliefs. I wanted to be prince charming. I wanted to make girls swoon with overwhelming emotion.  Soon, however, I realized that I was being dishonest and when those girls fell in love, they fell hard. I couldn’t keep up the charades and slowly, over time, I stopped most of the romantic activity that had gotten me the girl in the first place.  I am not saying that I am no longer romantic, it just means I am no longer being romantic for the sake of getting someone to react. It reduced the chances of me losing the motivation to continue those acts later on in the relationship.

Complacency occurs when you inadvertently decrease the amount of energy and emotion you are investing in a relationship. It’s possible to set yourself up for complacent failure when you start off a relationship doing things that don’t come naturally just to seal the deal. Once the dotted line is wet with ink, all your contrived actions will slowly dissipate like exhaled breath on a mirror. Soon you begin seeing yourself for who you really are. A romantic fool at best and manipulative at worst. Integrity involves being honest with yourself and it’s important to know how you really feel before communicating those feelings to someone else. Otherwise, you run the risk of falsifying your emotions and relationships are hard enough as it is. You don’t want to have to maintain one while living an emotional lie. Stay true to yourself so that you avoid ending up in a complacent rut.

“If we probed deeper, we might lay witness to pools of disappointments, rippling from stones thrown by our own selfishness.”

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