The story of the path to coldness in love is well known:
we start off full of affection for one another
然而 随着时间的流逝 这种感觉逐渐消失
and then, with time, feelings fade.
We start prioritizing work,
we check our phones while they’re speaking,
we don’t especially want to hear how their day went.
There’s a popular surface explanation for this kind of emotional frost:
that people naturally get bored of one another
in the same way as they get bored with everything else:
the gadget that once seemed so amazing,
the film they used to love.
Going cold is, in this story, simply the unavoidable consequence of familiarity.
But there’s another explanation, dark at first,
but in the end, more hopeful.
The loss of interest isn’t either natural, or inevitable.
The boredom is something at once more complicated and more active –
It exists, because we feel hurt by, angry with or scared of our partner
and because we haven’t found a cathartic way to tell ourselves, or them, about it.
Tuning out isn’t inevitable, it’s a symptom of disavowed emotional distress,
it’s a way of coping.
We’re internally numbed, not just a touch bored.
This can sound strange, after all we might have no active sense
爱人让我们感到受伤 生气 或是害怕
that our partner has been hurting, angrying or frightening us.
The idea appears laughable or extreme
It makes our partners sound like monsters or ourselves like weaklings,
neither of which is true.
But the self that loves within a relationship
is not the normal adult self we know from other zones of our lives.
We may mostly be hugely resourceful and resilient, but the person who loves is an infinitely more vulnerable being.
我们可以将恋爱中的自我想象成一个更弱小 更年幼 更无助的版本的自我
We should imagine it like a smaller, younger, more defenceless version of ourselves
that lives in our heads and is no tougher and not much wiser than we were as babies,
which is when so many of our needs for and ideas about love were formed
It’s this vulnerable self that continues to direct our hearts even if we’re 6’2″ with a pointy beard.
The loving self has a gossamer thin ego.
It gets hurt, frightened and upset with desperate ease.
You can deeply distress it by interrupting it during the story it’s telling you about the sandwich it had for lunch,
by not asking it enough about the little spot it got on it’s arm yesterday,
by preferring a book to cuddling,
or being a bit tricky about which channel it should watch on TV.
Of course, these are, by ordinary adult standards, tiny slights
but we don’t love by adult standards.
These small arrows are enough to wound the self that loves to it’s tender, emotional core.
Ideally, of course, the small self would at once point out what’s happenned,
它会小心翼翼地告诉你 它有点受伤 有点沮丧
It would carefully explain that it’d been frustrated and hurt,
它的话语都经过精心考量 没有隔阂 甚至充满魅力
it’s voice would be measured, undefensive and charming,
but mostly it just stays silent.
That’s forgiveable – it doesn’t properly understand what’s wrong,
it just knows it’s in pain
and it’s driven by an instinct to withdraw and protect itself
which translates into behaviour that looks pretty cold.
毕竟若 成年的自我 对 恋爱的自我 表现出不满这反而会显得荒诞可笑
If the adult self had to give voice to the loving self’s upset, it could sound and feel absurd,
which is partly why it doesn’t.
There can be something especially humiliating in having to say:
‘I don’t feel you took enough interest in the details of my lunch break.’
or ‘I’m 45 years old but not capable of sharing a TV remote control’.
These truly are small issues for an adult to dwell on,
but the parts of us that make themselves vulnerable in love don’t obey the ordinary adult rules
The consequence is that the loving self dries up, it doesn’t want to have sex,
it gets sarcastic and irritable,
but it doesn’t even know why it’s like this.
It isn’t putting on an act, it’s confused.
为了学会应对这种情况 我们必须得要换位思考 要互相原谅
To learn to cope, we need a prominent mutual awareness and forgiveness
of this dynamic of sensitivity and distress
and a commitment to decode it when disengagement and indifference descend.
我们需要进行一次心灵的沟通 让所谓的不成熟 因爱而生的痛苦都能在此暴露出来然后解决
We have to create a forum in which so-called minor, love-sucking hurts can safely be aired
without the other dismissing, as they always so easily can, the issues at stake as childish or imagined.
The touchiness of the loving self is ridiculous, if judged by the more robust standards of the rest of life,
but this is not the rest of life
When we’ve gone cold, we may not truly have lost interest in our partners,
we might just need an opportunity to imagine that we are quietely really rather hurt and furious with them
and we should have access to a safe forum
in which our tender but critical feelings can be aired, purged and understood without risk of humiliation