I really like the concept of the Love tank (http://www.5lovelanguages.com/2008/10/keeping-the-love-tank-full/ and /http://marriage.about.com/cs/communicationkeys/a/lovelanguage.htm
The idea is that we need to keep replenishing ourselves with love as much as we give it out. And that if we don't do this, and our tank 'runs dry', we are not really in a position to sustain healthy relationships.
There's no doubt about it. Relationships take energy, and plenty of it. And those of the romantic kind somehow seem to take more than most.
I wonder is it because, especially to start with, we are wanting our beloved to see our very best side? Which takes a fair amount of energy over and above the usual day to day.
As things become established I think relationships start to get emotional momentum. We find we are able to both get, and give energy to the other. It's a kind of mutual nourishment. It's fun and exciting getting to know another person. We find synergies and similarities. We spark off each other. We genuinely have the other person's best interests at heart. In fact there's little issue with giving out -we enjoy putting all care, attention, energy, into this exciting new thing. In an ideal world this is invigorating and energising - maybe not all the time, but the overall feeling is one of positivity.
But as the people reading this will know, sometimes the relationship matures, and the cracks begin to show. That's when putting emotional energy in can become less enjoyable and it can feel like the 'love tank'' is not being replenished. I accept that all relationships go through the ebbs and flows of give/take/share. The healthy relationships survive it and come out the stronger for it. The rest falter, founder or end.
Sometimes it can feel a bit one sided. The fact is that some people are simply energy suckers. No matter how well meaning they are, they simply require more energy to fill their tank than they have to give back. Sometimes they want to, sometimes they don't, sometimes they don't even know what is going on!
Perhaps one of the upsides of new found singleness is that there is not another person to take into consideration all the time. Sounds selfish perhaps, but more than one person has said to me that it is only when a relationship is over that they have realised just how much emotional energy had been expended.
As things start to fall into decline, no matter how hard both people might be working toward keeping the relationship strong (or even just together!), things just somehow get harder. It takes more work. We feeling like our emotional tanks aren't being refilled.
And so, the post-coupled person is in the often enviable position of being able to put that energy into other things - work, family, interests, sport, well being. With some time and distance from the now-ended relationship they can identify what went wrong - where the energy was being expended. Hopefully, we learn from this. And next time, if there is one, we will seek a relationship that is emotionally rewarding, sustaining and complimentary to our own giving and receiving.