Neglect can become a habit if you allow it

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Do you know how easy it is to neglect your partner in a long-term love relationship?

The answer is it is much too easy.

In the vast majority of situations, the neglect is unintentional.

We get so caught up in our daily lives that we forget about what is important.

Neglect is a lot like procrastination, lying or skipping school – doing it once makes it much easier to do again.

Pretty soon you are neglecting important things over and over to the point that you forget that you are neglecting anything. Neglect quickly becomes a way of life

The natural result of neglect is for couples to grow further and further apart until someone walks out the door.

Because neglect is unintentional, it usually creeps up on you without you really noticing.

If you notice that these words apply to you and your relationship, you can turn it around. While the drifting apart of neglect is unintentional, turning it around is very intentional.

Here are the two main steps to making the trip back from neglect:

• Have a conversation with your partner about how the relationship is getting neglected. If your partner does not notice it, one way to start the conversation is to say:

“Can you help me with something?”

Talk about the neglect, and each of you take responsibility for your own part.

• Make a commitment to pay attention to each other. Create a list of things you used to do before the neglect set in. Then create a list of new things you can do to treat each other well. Then you commit to doing these things on a regular basis.

You can find more tips like these at www.secretsofgreatrelationships.com

Jeff Herring, MS, LMFT, is a marriage and family therapist.

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