How many of us (well, maybe it would be better to say how many women) did not grow up dreaming of the overwhelming vibe of romantic love and we did not wait impatiently to fall in love! Not that it cannot also happen to men, but it is hard to believe that they spend precious time dreaming obsessively about such things. The movies and love music have an extraordinary ability to stir up in women the thrill of “butterflies in the stomach”. Lovers seem so fulfilled and teaming with life that for any female “dreamer” is normal to want at least a bit (no matter how small) of happiness.
And yet, contrary to the stories seen and heard, love is not just a simple and unique feeling. Things are a little more complicated...
What is love? First of all, it would be advisable to think a little about our own experiences related to this aspect. All of us (at least once in our lifetime) have been embraced by the effervescence of magnetism toward a certain person. Everything was unceasingly fluctuating like an ocean on a stormy weather. Now it was a huge, overwhelming wave, then it disappeared as it came, leaving behind only the breeze of unclear memories! It is disturbing and, sometimes, extremely painful, right?
-“Is that what I wanted?”
-“How could I love someone I do not know too well?”
-“Why can’t I feel any more chills, no emotions like on the first days?”
-“Are we no longer in love?”
There are many questions and the answers can be terrible, as we sometimes have the tendency to get rid of such thoughts, hoping that eventually everything will change for the better. But even if we do that, it always remains some sort of dallying sadness, like when something is missing and we do not know what. That something can be caused precisely by inappropriate understanding.
Certainly, the “hunger” for someone is temporary, and what ultimately remains (if left) is that special mood of “feeling good”, which should be more than just a momentary feeling (even if that “moment” could also mean even several months). Psychologists say that the perfect “match” between two people is in fact a sophisticated cocktail of emotions, cognitions (acquainting) and compatible, or at least promisingly matching, behaviors over time.
In order to understand even better what is hiding behind this “magical licorice”, let’s take a look at real life and walk away from fairy tales.
The difference between passionate and affectionate love... We venture into relationships when we “feel the love” in the air or acknowledge the premises of a possible fulfillment of our soul. “Love” usually involves a hazardous and unrealistic inner reaction toward another person. It is what specialists call passionate attraction. At such moments, we can see those who we are fascinated with in an inaccurate way, that is, we may consider them “perfect” in all aspects, exacerbating their virtues and considering their defects to be of no importance. However, the passion is far too feverish and unrealistic to place it at the foundation of a stable relationship. It's like a candle burning at both ends...
Instead, there are other types of human interactions with considerable chances of sustainability when it comes to their durability. Affectionate love is described as being based on friendship, mutual attraction, common interests and unconditional care for the other. Perhaps it is not as exciting as the passionate debuts, but it certainly represents an essential detail in the recipe of long-lasting success.
Given that many of us mistakenly place the sign of equality between romance and love, long-term relationships, such as marriage, can raise questions over time about what happened to that “old chemistry” (that is, in the beginning). Common living involves many activities related to household management, bill payment, to-do lists, going to work, maybe even children... None of them are known to generate exaltation or amazing sex! And yet, precisely these “chores” performed together are the ones that tie and give birth to what could be called a mature relationship.
How does love “grow” in marriage? That is the “sweet poison” of serious relationships. Harmony evolves from the knowledge and fellowship of the partners. For example, if a married couple goes out to coffee, they may not have such intense mutual reactions as when they were in love or during the initial “discovery” phase. Instead, they can enjoy the quality time spent together and develop a much deeper emotional or intellectual intimacy by getting to know each other better through conversation or gestures. Thus, daily efforts to discover and share with the partner various things lead to greater physical, spiritual, financial and recreational synchronization.
For someone to enjoy emotional “dependency” in marriage, one has to overcome the disappointment that often arises from the wrong and unrealistic perceptions of what we expect “to come”. Strengthening the marriage can take time and quite a lot of effort (including sacrifices). If the partners are willing to explore their own ideas and how these affect the relationship that they are developing, if they want to understand and identify superior ways to consolidate the assumed pact “till death do them part”, they can turn to a qualified guide (psychologist or marriage counselor).