3 Signs Your Past is Negatively Affecting Your Current RelationshipBy Homaira Kabir
It's Valentine's Day. Your partner walks in the door with a bouquet of long-stemmed red roses. They then tell you they've booked a table for two at your favorite restaurant. At dinner, they gift you that very thing you'd been eyeing for months. As you look at this perfect person sitting across from you, your eyes tear up and your heart oozes with love.
And then the next day arrives.
Suddenly, this same partner for whom you felt so much ardor only yesterday has forgotten to take out the garbage, walk the dog, or pick your child up from the party. They have little patience for your daily challenges, they barely ever compliment you, and, boy, do they have to win every argument! You look at them with frustration, sometimes disdain, and wonder whatever happened to the person with whom you fell in love?
Love researchers Ellen Berscheid and Elaine Walster distinguish two kinds of love in an intimate relationship, each involving a separate process and timeline. Passionate love gets all the headlines—it’s dramatic and flashy and what makes us fall in love in the first place. It often reignites on romantic occasions like Valentine's Day, birthdays, and anniversaries. But it is companionate love that binds people together and becomes the fabric of a lasting relationship. The researchers describe it as “the affection we feel for those with whom our lives are deeply intertwined”. In his book The Happiness Hypothesis, psychologist Jonathan Haidt discusses how companionate love grows over time as partners apply their attachment system—the bond that once tied them to their caregiver—to care for and trust each other.
Jennifer Gill Rosier, Ph.D., associate professor of communication studies at James Madison University, has found that when an attachment style is based on fear, and thus “insecure,” which psychiatrist and researcher Dan Siegel, M.D., posits in his book