When relationship newness wears off, is the Gotcha game inevitable?

gotcha gameWe all love the “newness” of a relationship when you’re mesmerized by each other and you crave each others’ company.

But what happens when that fades away and you find that you have trouble even talking with one another and unwittingly start playing a very destructive game?

Does fascination for each other have to die as the relationship matures?

Here’s a question from one of our readers and our answer that speaks to this and much more…

“My hubby once seemed mesmerized by me and my love, my very person, fascinated by my tiny quacks that determine the person that I am. Now he seems threatened, insecure, out to compete with me, or rather what is it that took away my power. I don’t seem to get through to him, to tell him about my wants, or how his behavior of inconsideration makes me feel. And yet he still seems in want of my love and acceptance.”

Here are our comments…

Here’s our take on what this woman is experiencing and you may be also…

At the beginning of a relationship, you are usually fascinated with each other and you either don’t notice the quarks and warts or you ignore them because you’re so much in love.

You are literally “blinded by the light” as Bruce Springstein sang about.

But as life gets in the way, you sometimes marry or deepen your relationship commitment, have children, go on with your careers–and irritations and differences come up.

You might even wonder whatever happened to the woman or man I married or decided to commit to.

Women, especially, can start growing more confident and competent in their lives and as they do so, they can lose some of that fascination they had for their man.

Their attention is also usually pulled in many directions, especially if they have children, and the man can wonder what happened.

Am I blaming women?

Of course not.

Men have their own challenges with maintaining the intense focus that kept the relationship growing and exciting during dating.

Men can start getting “comfortable” in the relationship and forget how to make his partner feel special.

In other words, they start taking each other for granted.

So here’s a question for the woman who wrote in to us (as well as anyone else who has felt this way)…

Are you mesmerized and fascinated by your partner?

If you’ve been together for very long, chances are the answer is no.

We’re guessing that this couple is playing a game that many of us like to play when we feel hurt or frustrated by the other person and trying to get back at him or her.

It’s called the “Gotcha” game.

“Gotcha” is typically what many of us automatically do in response when we feel that someone else has inflicted pain on us.

It’s a pay-back. Although “Gotcha” is usually an unconscious protective device, it ends up being an intentional act to make someone else pay.

The Gotcha game can come in many different shapes and sizes…

1. Withholding love, affection, or sex

2. Cutting, satirical remarks

3. Physically walking out or refusing to talk

4. Physical and emotional abuse

5. Superiority

6. Busyness and avoidance

(and many other ways)

Most people don’t make the connection that when they are trying to pay someone back because of a perceived wrong, they are acting from their pain, fear and from past patterns.

Here are some suggestions to help you quit playing the Gotcha game when that “specialness” wears off…

1.Come into an awareness about your part in the “gotcha” game. Ask yourself when you first started playing it.

2. Recognize your destructive patterns. Which of the behaviors that are listed in this article do you fall into when you start playing this destructive game?

3. Make the choice to not run away when you figure out you’re doing it.

4. Ask yourself what types of situations and behaviors trigger you to react from the gotcha position.

5. When you have this information and you feel safe enough, talk with your partner about what you’ve learned. Choose a time when you aren’t playing the game.

6. Talk about your part in the game and ask if your partner sees the dynamic and if they see their part.

7. Listen to each other, no matter how difficult it might be at the time. Stay with the process by remembering that you love your partner until you understand one another.

8. If your partner refuses to talk about it or take responsibility for their part in the game, you have the choice to keep playing the game or to withdraw yourself from it by calmly speaking what is true for you and not from your pain and pattern.

“Gotcha” can be a very destructive game that many couples play when the newness wears off the relationship.

We suggest that you stop when you find yourself playing it and choose love instead.

Recognize when you go into your pattern of “gotcha” and choose healthier ways of expressing yourself.

Instead of moving away, take a step toward one another with an open heart–even if you have to take the first step yourself.

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