Remember Jeff Goldblum's line from Jurassic Park? "Oh, yeah. Oooh, ahhh, that's how it always starts, but then later there's running, then screaming."
Well, it is more. It's also idealization. University of Iowa researchers concluded the following:1
Then later, things change. Neurochemistry regulates. Infatuation fades. We stop idealizing our partners and start seeing their faults. Many are less sexually attracted, too. We feel like running and screaming. We are disenchanted.
How did we end up here?
Fortunately, there is another direction romantic partners can turn - toward mature love. Mature love has little to do with chronological maturity and everything to do with partners' emotional maturity. The foundation of mature love is self-responsibility. Self-responsible spouses:
The following comments not only show how far these clients have come but also provide real life examples of progress toward emotional maturity:
Client A, in her early 40s, sought counseling after divorcing an abusive husband then quickly establishing another relationship with an emotionally abusive man. The primary focus of her sessions has been increasing her emotional maturity. She ended the second abusive relationship and, currently, is in the first healthy romantic relationship of her life.
This is what she said: "This relationship is just so calm. I mean, there's practically no drama. In the past, I thought that drama, no matter how awful, was proof that the guy actually cared. Now, I think the opposite. The fact that we both stay calm and rational shows how much we care."
Client B, in his mid-30s, sought counseling because he wanted to break his pattern of unfulfilling relationships. The controlling and emotionally distant woman he was dating at the time told him that he was "too needy" and should get psychological help. The primary focus of his sessions has been increasing his emotional maturity. After a few months, he stopped trying to influence his partner's opinion of him and ended the relationship.
This is what he said: "Remember when you said that what one woman sees as needy another one sees as attentive? Well, I realized something recently. I think the women I've thought of as 'too nice' may be the emotionally mature ones. They seem 'too nice' because they aren't out to manipulate me."
For more about how to get to emotional maturity, see previous posts: The One and Only Marital Obligation, How to Train Your Dragon, and Walking the Path Alone: Self-responsible Spouse.