Relationships devoid of conflict are deadlier and unhealthier than the ones with obvious conflict. Truth is relationships without conflict are very rare. What are more common are relationships where there is the avoidance of conflict and apathy has set in.
Apathy in a relationship is a state of indifference towards your partner. You suddenly realize you have become roommates instead of intimate partners. You know the distance between you is growing, but you lack the desire or the energy to do something about it.
Apathy, like cancer can sneak up slowly and silently, and has the potential to destroy relationships.
The 3 Warning Signs of a Relationship in Apathy
1. Taking each other for granted
When you take each other for granted, there is a lack of acknowledgment and consideration for the other person. You’ve stopped thanking them when they do something for you, because now you just expect it. You don’t acknowledge your partner verbally or with eye contact when they are speaking. You start to see them as the roles they play in the relationship, the housekeeper, the breadwinner, mother, father. You have expectations around what they should and shouldn’t do.
2. Avoiding conflict
You have become so leery of bringing up any issue where there might be conflict you disengage all together because you are afraid of rocking the boat. You suppress other emotions such as sadness, excitement, anger and passion because you’re afraid of not being accepted. You put your time and energy into other activities or interests such as school, work, children, or hobbies and avoid putting any energy to the relationship. You try to keep the peace at all cost. Here you make compromises, and wherever there is compromise, there is resentment.
3. No physical or sexual contact
Coldness and deadly quietness becomes the order of the day, you now live as strangers, always avoiding each other even though you are living in the same house. One of you may have relocated to the spare or guestroom just to ensure there is no room for physical or sexual contact.
Anger and passion are closely related in terms of both being very strong energies and sensations in the body. So it makes sense then that if you are avoiding conflict and anger, the passion would also diminish, not just in the relationship, but in your life!
What to do instead:
If you are aware of these symptoms in your relationship, you need to act fast before things get out of hand, especially if the relationship is important to you. Start to share appreciations with your partner for even the little things they do no matter how vulnerable you may feel doing it. Acknowledge things have gone off and make a date to sit down and start talking.
Speak up! If you disagree with your partner, say so! It Find a relationship coach or a relationship counsellor to help you deal with the issues that you haven’t been able to talk about on your own. The good news is that any relationship can come back from the dead no matter how bad things appear.