Can We Want What We Already Have?

In the famous words of Ariana Grande, “I want it. I got it.” But, what happens afterward? Can you want something you already have? Can you maintain a sense of yearning (or that “I want it” feeling) for your partner after years together? How can you keep that feeling alive and what causes it to go away?

I’ve always been interested in not just the start of a relationship, but looking at its course and factors that contribute to longevity. For most people in a committed relationship, I would assume the goal is long term happiness and satisfaction. If you take time to think on what factors contribute to long term attraction, there are a few things we can do to maintain attraction and that “wanting” mindset.

To start, it is incredibly important that you make a point to take time to be away from your partner. This might be easier said than done in the context of COVID-19. However, the old saying of “distance makes the heart grow fonder” has some merit (Brody, 2013). Take time to be apart from one another and you may be surprised by how quickly you miss your partner. To add, you might be surprised by how much it reinforces your connection and sense of meaningfulness in your relationship.

In addition to taking time apart, you also want to work actively to maintain your sense of individuality. Don’t lose sight of the person you were before you met your partner. If you loved ice skating, reading, and visiting museums, keep doing those things! They are likely aspects that contributed to your partners initial feelings of attraction to you. An enmeshed relationship with no sense of individuality is unhealthy and quite frankly, boring. The things that make you who you are contribute to the uniqueness, balance, and attraction within your relationship.

What qualities or interests did you have when you first started your relationship?

Ask your partner what qualities initially attracted them to you.

What qualities did your partner have that initially attracted you to them?

How much time do you allow apart from your partner? Should you make more time?

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