When love begin to erode, what is missing is attunement
and the emotional responsiveness that goes with it.
As responsiveness declines, partners become more vulnerable, and their need for emotional connection becomes more urgent.
The potential for conflict increases as partners are filled with unruly emotions they do not understand, and find themselves out of sync with each other.
Angry protests at the loss of connection escalate. The repair of specific hurts becomes more and more challenging. A slow unwinding of the tie begins. Lack of comfort and closeness feeds distrust and disagreement, and each failed attempt at reconnection and repair breeds more distance.
As any sense of a safe haven is lost, the old cliche that we build walls when we need bridges come true.
When emotional starvation becomes the norm, and negative patterns of outraged criticism and obstinate defensiveness take over, our perspective changes. Our love slowly begins to feel like an enemy; our most familiar friend turns into a stranger. Trust dies, and grief begins in earnest.
Research confirms that the erosion of a bond begins with the absence of emotional support. Research confirms that unsupportive behavior--minimizing the scope of the problem, discouraging the expression of feelings, offering offhand or unhelpful advice, insisting that their partner follow recommendations was especially predictive of relationship distress.
Researchers, Psychologists L. Pasch and T. Bradbury of the University of California, also concluded that the quality of positive support---reassurance that a partner is loved and esteemed and is capable of taking control of his or her life--is the most crucial factor int he health of any relationship.
Love Sense - Sue Johnson