We all know about falling out of love with a partner, the slow deterioration of something that was once all consuming, beautiful, cherished. Or, the sudden breakdown that although seemingly inevitable at the finish line, no one was awake enough to see coming. What we rarely hear about however, is falling out of sync. In my personal experience it’s always been a temporary phase but it’s clear, that if left unchecked, it has the very real potential of permanence.
Falling out of sync occurs when one or both of you changes a pattern that has previously worked for you both. The catalyst can be hormonal, it can be stress induced or an unexpected reaction to your environment. For me, whatever the cause, falling out of sync manifests in plummeting patience levels and near zero tolerance. My need for clarity in all situations is also brutally heightened. As my system desperately tries to recalibrate itself and keep normal daily activities moving, if I ask a question I need a straight answer. My capacity for guess work and deciphering is severely restricted.
The reason I’m sharing this is because I am self aware enough to know my own signs and how they must be handled. I’m self aware enough to know that when I spend all day bumping into people in the street, it’s not them that are being stupid, it’s my own rhythms briefly out of sync. I’m self aware enough to know that when my partner does something that usually makes me laugh but which now pisses me off – but probably won’t tomorrow – it’s because I have veered off the frequency we’re used to.
I know when there is maintenance or new work happening in my psyche, and this is what saves me from confusing my own shit with any ‘relationship shit.’
If you have a deep, connected relationship with your partner, they will be equally aware of your change in frequency and understand that you, for whatever reason, are in this moment in need of something different. Something more, or something less.
When you fall out of love there is a futility to the ‘trying’ involved in smiling, a subtle rationale behind why X is annoying you, or Y is no longer satisfying. When you fall out of sync there is no trying and rationale is not sought. There is only acceptance for the present moment as it is.
The key to the situation not becoming permanent is not only the self awareness needed, but also the presence of the other person. As mentioned, your partner must also be bonded to you enough to know how to hold the new space that is currently between you. They must be aware enough to bear witness to its phenomena, without taking it personally, without succumbing to reaction or retaliation. In this way it can be managed, but yes, it can be hard work.
Falling out of sync, if it is not consciously acknowledged, has the real possibility of spiralling into more than it need be. When benign habits irritate you, when the way they talk, breathe, stand, suddenly drives you insane, you must breathe in compassion and they must exhale enough patience for the two of you. Both of you must be fully aware of the dynamics in your relationship and be able to sense that something is amiss, not lost.