People often come to therapy disheartened, usually after 9 to 15 months of being in a relationship, saying, “I don’t think he/she loves me anymore—they don’t do the things they did for me in the beginning of the relationship.” Then they add, “I know they are really giving, devoted, and romantic because they were that way in the beginning—what happened?” The truth is that although they may have been that way in the beginning, people are more their true selves 9 to15 months after a relationship has started, when the endorphin level goes down to a person’s natural level.It is characterized by great emotional and physical intimacy in a chosen committed partnership.When we face relationship challenges, we have a choice to end the relationship or try to take it to the next level.In the beginning, most people have their best foot forward and have a tendency to overlook any problems with their partner.It can be said that the infatuation stage is the anesthetic that prevents us from seeing the character defects in our partners. Of course it’s not this way for everyone, but this pattern does tend to ring true for many of us. That is why it’s a very good thing that things change.We can hear someone out respectfully without necessarily having to agree with them.
Relationships often start with the infatuation stage. Stevie Nicks describes it as being “in the sea of love where everybody wants to drown.” Infatuation is about seeing similarities and feeling understood by someone who is completely focused on you.The four predictors of divorce are criticism, defensiveness, withdrawal, and contempt.We can choose these destructive defense mechanisms or make healthier choices to try and break through to a deeper understanding.What a great time to look at these issues and work through anything that sabotages us from having the healthy and loving relationship we deserve.