After talking to many people in relationships, I am noticing something of an epidemic. We think that once we find "the one" or, in some cases anyone, we are done with rejection. We're done with uncertainty. We're done with the phone games. We're done with the heartbreak of getting attached to someone who isn't so attached to you.
Then, we get into these relationships and everything is great for a time. We're getting consistent attention and validation that we are lovable. Rejection is far from our reality. Then things shift. The honeymoon stage ends and things change. One person (let's call them Sam) seemingly puts less energy into the relationship while the other (let's call them Pat) begins to panic. Sam stops calling as often or gets preoccupied with work or school. Maybe they find more time with friends and family. (which is all well and good if they were still giving Pat the attention they want)
Meanwhile, Pat gets told things like "if they don't make time for you, cut them out" and "if you're not their number one, they don't deserve you." They are reinforced with the idea that something is wrong with the relationship and they are not loved anymore. So what do they do? They cling. They try to make it work. Pat probably even get angry and defensive when it doesn't go the way they wanted it to. This causes Sam to recoil and hide. When Sam hides, Pat feels further rejection, causing them to hold on tighter, and thus a vicious cycle is born.
So how can you avoid this kind of rejection in your relationship? It's so simple, and all it requires is frequent compassion for your partner. As you come out of the honeymoon stage, things have the potential to settle into a more mature kind of love if you can overcome this power struggle of avoiding rejection vs. gaining freedom.
If you're a Sam, you have to realize that in this scenario your personality naturally rejecting, whether that's your intention or not. Part of it is realizing your partners needs and negating the rejection with small gestures when your attention is being held elsewhere. A short "Just thinking of you" text can go a long way in assuring them you still care.
If you're a Pat, you have to be able to give your partner space and trust that they will give you attention and affection if you let them come to you. Notice when they need space and respect that as a part of who they are. Meanwhile, find enjoyment in a hobby or friends and family. Keep the spark alive by continuing to be a person outside of your relationship.
So are you a Sam or a Pat? Answer the poll and tell me why in the comments below!