Do you feel like you have to perform to keep someone's love?
During the romance phase of a relationship, most people are on their best behavior. But there comes a time when a person can’t be on their best behavior. Maybe they are sick. Or in a bad mood. Maybe they just can’t maintain best behavior because it isn’t really them. Maybe they are workaholic, and can’t take as much time for you. Maybe they become too high maintenance.
During a later phase of a relationship—say you’ve been married for a number of years—you might change how you are. You may stop paying much attention to your spouse. You might stop having sex with them. You might never have a kind word for them.
It seems to me that we earn love by being good to someone else. We meet many of their needs. We are fun to be with. We take care of them, emotionally and physically.
Then we might stop taking care. How long before you say, I can’t take this and don’t want to be in this relationship any more? What is the minimum you must have in order to be willing to keep on working in a relationship? How does that time change depending on whether you are in the initial stages or after you’ve been together for 20 years or more? In other words, does a partner earn a kind of credit over time—earning them more time they would be willing to put up with you?
Is there a point beyond which they have earned enough credit so you would never bail on them, no matter what? Or do they always have to be on their toes in order to make you want to stay?