There is an old saying: “Familiarity breeds contempt.” 

It’s true, familiarity can breed contempt, but it’s a longer route than most people think.

My friend, Debbi (a pseudonym), made me stop at the donut shop with her every day as we walked to high school. And every day, I would joke, “You should just get a job here, then you could have all the donuts you want.”

She did get a job there, and within two weeks she never wanted to eat another donut — let alone see or smell one! I guess it was too much of a good thing; her expectations didn’t match her reality. To this day, she doesn’t eat donuts. That I would call contempt.

However, in my experience, familiarity doesn’t usually breed contempt so quickly, if at all.

Years ago, I met a great guy, and I fell in love — hard and fast. It was wonderful. I was captivated by his smile, laugh, and very presence. All I could think about was being in love. Those early days of love are intoxicating.

At first, the more time we spent together, the more exciting it was. Then one day, something changed. It was no longer exciting. It just “was.” The change was subtle at first. It’s not that I was upset. I didn’t feel hurt, or angry, or even frustrated.

What happened?

I no longer felt twitterpated. Being around that once special person just felt…different. The thrill, the zip, that unique spice was gone. His quirks were no longer fun. My “love” went from a new adventure to “It’s just him.” The excitement of love was now just an expected love and I was too young and too naive to know the difference.

When it’s familiar and expected, it’s not that the familiarity bred contempt; it bred indifference. I’d confused the expectations of newness and adventure with love.

Oh, the things we see in hindsight…

We rarely remember what we expect until we don’t receive what we expected. 

Be honest with yourself. Has the “no longer special” attitude crept in? That’s the beginning of indifference. If allowed to fester, it often breeds contempt.

Those times when it becomes a bit too expected or predictable, think out of the box and change the routine in a way that both of you will enjoy. A simple way to start is to say “thank you” again for the unique little things and see what happens.

If you’d love to know how your body language is being judged, I have a gift for you: The 5 Little-Known Things That Affect How Others See You… body language e-book (outside Medium link). Some might surprise you! What fun!