Close your eyes. Drift back to the first few days, weeks, months with your partner, when you simply couldn’t get enough of each other. When you were apart you were still thinking about them. The way they smell, the electricity when you touched, those enticing lips… You were The Loving Couple.

Falling in love is intoxicating, but the hangover can be a rough ride. 

What hangover? When your partner’s adorable quirks become annoying habits. When he’d rather be watching the game with his friends. When she’s out drinking wine with hers, maybe a happy hour turned into late night, instead of home hanging with you.

There’s a reason couples need space after the falling-in-love head-over-heels phase. Without it, the relationship grows stale, and one or both feel trapped, caged by unreasonable expectations. Shared experiences are key to intimacy, but so is living your own life and coming back together to share those outside experiences. 

The real friction happens when partners define space in ways that are miles apart.

The book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus may be so last century but it’s a classic guide to communication that’s helped millions of couples reignite the passion and rescue their relationships from the point of no return. 

Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. Not all men need time in their cave, but many do, and many women do exactly the opposite of what they should do…allow him to go in, and shut the door. Instead, they wedge the door open, barging in with snacks and pillows and asking “are you sure you’re okay?” when the real cure may just be some peace and quiet, no talking allowed.

Women can be like waves (and not just certain times of the month). One minute they are riding high, the next crashing into the sand, sometimes for no apparent reason. The changeability can scare the crap out of a guy, and they back away, maybe into their cave, when what a woman truly needs is reassurance. A hug, held close, melting into their partner with the secure feeling that their partner has their back. That they feel heard.

There is magic in the spaces between, and it’s every couple’s challenge to find the right ebb and flow of coming together after time apart. The key is talking about it, being vulnerable, and being honest with yourself and your partner about what you really need.

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