couple hug landscape of life melbourne

Why is self-compassion fundamental to sustaining a long-term loving relationship?

Categories: Relationships, Wellbeing

Beyond the limerence phase in the early stages of a relationship, couples can struggle to develop and maintain a long-term relationship. 

Falling madly in love with your other half is exciting, set rollicking in motion, drunk on the idea that our “missing piece” has been found, supposedly “set for life.” I must be with them to be we think.

Everyone wants to be comforted, loved, and cared for. The hopped-up dose of the “early infatuation” hormone cocktail is quite truthfully the most habit-forming drug on earth, meaning we ride the wave of joy and wellbeing, ignoring the rocks of our new partner’s less admirable qualities underneath. 

What’s behind the curtain?

Thinking more critically, our partner is really attracted to a projection of us, or an idealised version of who they think we might be. We no longer see each other clearly. Here, the cocktail is wearing off, so now we see the things we don’t like so much. Sometimes, we can feel like we’ve made an error. They might have annoying habits, like leaving the mug next to the dishwasher or putting their clothes on the floor next to the basket. Or maybe they're struggling to navigate bigger stressors in life. Brave faced. 

Suddenly, the focus swings the other way. Now, we only see what we don’t like in our partner. We might try to change them. In time our negativity bias kicks in and we only see their bad qualities, not the good ones that are still there. 

In an ideal world, self compassion kicks in, when we notice these less admirable aspects of our other half. In consoling ourselves, we come to the realisation that we can sooth our disappointment or distress and meet that need by ourselves. 

The Beginning of Self Compassion for Couples

Stemming from our feelings of comfort, a sense of calmness and composure appears, allowing us to see our partner again more clearly. It becomes a science experiment, picking them apart with curiosity to notice everything, from the parts we like or dislike to who this person is and what is meaningful to them.

Now they exist solely for us outside our realm of likes and dislikes, no longer as an extension of ourselves, so we see them as they truly are. We can accept and love them for who they are. The bottom line is, we don’t have to be good to be loved. We all long for unconditional love and understanding.

Let our values be the wheel

Think about what your partner is and who they are. What might be meaningful to them? What is meaningful to you? Be curious and open to understanding in a deeper way what is fundamental and matters to you. The ones that overlap are your “core relational values” that function similar to steering wheel. These values can keep us on course together, but then can also help us back to new discoveries when we have drifted off. 

Connect with Joy

Knowing and supporting our partner’s core values allows us to experience their joy with anything in alignment to those values. We can truly celebrate with them! We can be joyful together. You especially, knowing that our loved one is truly happy. We don’t have to sacrifice connection for freedom. 



Michelle Becker



Still not sure if you are ready for counselling?

Join our mailing list to receive relationship and wellbeing tips and event news from landscape of life.

Your details are kept confidential

Recent Posts

Christmas 2016 landscape of life Connection at Christmas blog

 It’s almost Christmas. That means different things for each of us. For some there is a hankering fo... read more

change Penny Locaso landscape of life Melbourne

Sometimes we notice ourselves feeling bored or disengaged, and we crave change in our work life. So... read more

36 questions lead to love love key

Almost twenty years ago, psychologist Arthur Aron and colleagues conducted research to explore whet... read more

Love mural on a fence

I recently watched a TED talk about how falling in love is the easy part of developing a relationsh... read more