[lions]Falling in love can be a scary time for some people. While the heart feels like it could burst with joy, the mind becomes aware this jubilation may not last forever. People want to feel the initial head-over-heels feeling forever, but what about “the itch,” when couples get bored with one another? What about the painful break-up? How can a relationship stay happy and healthy forever?
Certified advanced relationship therapist Marilyn Sylvan Thompson of East Lansing, explains the itch: “Sometime in the first year or year and a half, chemicals in the brain shift from a euphoric phase into a realistic phase. Passion dwindles and people begin to see negative things. People aren’t prepared and need to learn to deal with struggles.”
So while it appears it is only natural to lose that initial euphoria for a significant other, there are ways to keep a relationship happy, as Minda Orina, assistant communications professor, said.
“Don’t think of conflict as being a bad thing,” Orina said. “It’s natural and typical. It’s how you deal with it.” Staying positive about your significant other is one of the key factors in a healthy relationship, Orina said.
“Typically happy couples have five positive behaviors for every negative behavior,” Orina said. “They might get angry, but they tend to buffer that. Unhappy couples have more negative behaviors or a 1-to-1 ratio. People heading towards break-up are very negative to each other.”[itch]
Adam Dorr, preveterinary junior, agrees couples become more negative toward one another right before breaking up. “The [significant other] starts acting distant and weird,” he said. “Communication goes down and the [significant other] stops telling you as much because they don’t trust you anymore.”
In order to stray from this common trend and avoid breaking up, it is important to be open with one another, Thompson said. “If people aren’t talking about an issue, then they are internally struggling,” she said. “Talking is a big part of what a lot of people don’t do. They want to believe hunches and then conflicts never get resolved.”
Megan Kendall, criminal justice junior, also agrees that communication is very important.
“Honesty, talking and being open with one another are very important,” she said. “Just be there for each other.”
When talking about conflicts, there are several communication strategies people should take, Orina said. “In times of conflict, talk about ‘we’ and ‘our.’ When you’re fighting and one person gets angry, use humor or don’t reflect the negative emotions back at them.”
Furthermore, you should be open, approach conflict in constructive ways and put yourself in your partner’s shoes, Orina added. Other than working through problems, it is important to understand that relationships are not easy. “People’s expectations are unrealistically high,” Orina said. “People expect for everything to be good and for all the work to be over. You’ve found your love, now start investing in it. That’s when the work begins.”
So if you’re feeling the itch, scratch it before it starts to spread, or work to keep your relationship in good shape.

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