If you have ever fallen in love you will know; something seemingly inexplicable happens. In a crowd full of people you notice this one person and find that you have sweaty palms or butterflies in your stomach. Without having spoken a word to them, you feel yourself blushing, hoping and praying they will notice you and also terrified that they might notice you. You may have dated many people before, but you just feel that this is “the one”.
Love is a drug
Falling in love does not happen in the conscious, frontal lobe in our brains. We have no control over who we will fall in love with — it happens unconsciously. A quick reminder about this unconscious agenda from last week's post. We tend to be drawn to someone who:
displays the positive and negative personality traits of our initial caregivers
resembles our initial experience of care and love
will find it hard to address our needs and who will struggle to help us heal and grow.
Your brain tricks you into committing full-time to somebody who is probably going to push all of your buttons.
If you are curious, Helen Fisher has extensively researched this intense attraction of romantic love (watch one of her many TED talks such as The Brain in Love or Biology of the Mind for more). Something happens in our bodies when we fall in love, producing a similar biological effect on our brains as using drugs!
Remember though, despite this devious plot to get you to fall in love with someone who will invariably cause you intense frustration as they struggle to address your needs, the main goal is to help you feel cared for and loved on a much deeper level than the infatuation of romance can offer.
Romantic love doesn't last
Hollywood has made countless movies of this uncontrollable, unconscious, head-over-heels phase of being in love, many of them end with the couple saying, “I do”. But even if this is where the movies end, it is usually exactly where the story really starts.
As you commit to a long-term relationship (getting married, moving in together, or getting a dog together) your pituitary gland in your brain stops “drugging” you, and the romantic love phase starts to fade over the next 18 months.
If "Mr Right" starts feeling like "Mr Yikes" around this time it's totally normal, and more importantly, a sign that you might be in a good relationship for you.
A good match
Before I go on, a quick caveat. If your relationship is abusive or clearly toxic, don't hang around because "they might still help me heal." Conflict is normal in a healthy relationship, but how that conflict plays out is very important.
Romantic love at the start of your relationship indicates that you have found a good match — your subconscious agenda has identified a person who could be incredibly healthy for you. But a good match doesn't necessarily mean an easy match.
A good match for you will challenge you to grow and heal, but they also might wound you in the same places you have been damaged before.
As we examine the predictable stages that all relationships go through over the next few weeks you'll notice familiar patterns in your own relationships and where you are in the cycle. With that knowledge, we'll also look at how you can experience the deep connection and joyful aliveness that comes from being in an intentional love relationship.
CONSIDER / TAKE ACTION
Did you feel a strong romantic connection with your partner initially? Is there conflict in your relationship? Is it always about the same things?
If you want to dig deeper into this topic and get a better understanding of your relationship, you can buy access to the recordings of the Relationship Masterclass series that covers this content in more depth.