Have you ever noticed that you spend a little more time thinking about the flaws (as opposed to the strengths) in your partner or in your relationship? It’s no secret that many people tend to hold their partner to some standard that they would not hold their friends or other close people in their lives. Whether or not this is verbalized or just tucked deep away to slowly negatively influence your relationship, it can have a big impact. For some, this tendency to focus on the negative occurs most frequently in the early phases of the relationship, when trust is being established. For others, it only creeps up after trust is established and things are going well.
A similar type of mind trick that can be equally harmful to your well-being is the tendency to bring focused attention to the “good memories” of a relationship that no longer exists. For example, a relationship is over (that you felt disappointed about) and your memories of your ex become further and further from the truth. Your tendency to dwell on memories of the things you miss about your ex become more and more false. This new image of your ex basically becomes one of your mental creation. The mind is a powerful tool! This seems illogical and can be difficult to spot in yourself.
REMEMBER WHEN WE FIRST GOT TOGETHER?
If you have been in a relationship for awhile you may be torturing yourself with a similar type of selective attention. You may remember all the good memories that occurred at some time in the distant (or even not so distant) past. This search for the contrast between how things were and how things are can be pretty detrimental but it can be useful if you really address these questions. Ask yourself: Are my needs the same as they were then (whenever that was)? What were instances where this (these wonderful memories) did not occur? These are two important questions because they help you look at your relationship (or past relationship) as a whole. Something a little closer to reality, something you can work with!