After the infatuation phase, a struggle for boundaries usually begins.
Suddenly you realize that the other person is not perfect after all. The limited view dissolves. One realizes that the idealization of the partner does not correspond to reality. The partners now have to decide whether or not they can cope with the other’s “faults”.
With the help of the strong emotional foundation from the infatuation phase, we are now enabled to go through this crisis and build a lasting relationship. Alternatively, we may discover that this is not the right partner after all.
The crisis is primarily about setting boundaries. Whereas in the infatuation phase both stood there with open arms and read every wish from the other’s eyes, now both try to secure their territory.
In the crisis I have the opportunity to weigh up:
Can I spend my whole life with this partner or not? Do the difficulties outweigh the joy of being together? Scientists have found out that one of the elementary basic requirements for a lasting relationship is humor. Especially in a crisis, humor is an elixir of survival. Recently, a friend told me that she would have been happy if someone had told her that before she got married. Then she would never have gotten married, because she could never laugh together with her ex-husband.
A healthy passage through the crisis needs time and good discussion suggestions as well as discussion rules.
Basically, these rules for a fair argument help enormously. If you try to take them to heart, then you have already taken a big step towards overcoming the crisis:
We let each other finish
We do not shout
We do not get sarcastic
We remain respectful
We refrain from swearing
We never become physically aggressive
We refrain from generalizations like “You never do …! You always do …! You are like your mother, etc.”
Always assume the good intentions of your partner
The end of a quarrel should be reconciliation
Looking for more in-depth help and online courses? The free Lifelongapp was designed for just that, so couples can get helpful tips and videos along the way to have a happy and fulfilling relationship.