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Relationships

The Reality of Love

Distinguishing between a romantic Hollywood fantasy and real love


If you have ever been to Disney World you have to admit, the first time is the best. If you become a real fan of Mickey Mouse and decide to get a season pass you may find that the 3rd or 4th visit isn't quite the same.

You start to notice the cracks in the sidewalks, the "Small, Small world" ride is getting smaller and older and once you know all the words to "A pirates life for me,"you might start thinking of moving over to Epcot instead.

Becoming disillusioned with sameness is part of human nature. When we like something, we want more of it and we irrationally assume that our enthusiasm should be able to sustain itself without much effort.

We love to be surprised, aroused, and stimulated because it distracts us from the ordinariness of life. To paraphrase Eckhart Tolle's words in a A New Earth - we are in a chronic state of wanting.

If we believe we should always be happy we will probably be looking for the next fix as soon as something or someone becomes too familiar. Some of us prefer to stay in fantasy believing the joy will reappear. When it doesn't, we have limited options.

We can try to force change in the other person rather than let go and move on or we can stay put if it is an imperfect but good relationship and learn to love more deeply.

The real question is why you want a relationship and what you hope to experience through it on a long term basis. An intimate relationship finds its excitement through honest attachment.

Allowing oneself to be known and at the same time accepting another person "as is" can create a deep meaningful connection. Within that connection there will be conflict, power struggle and growth.

We can learn more about ourselves and our capacity to love and live fully through that struggle than when we are comfortably alone. Both options are ok as long as we are honest with ourselves about our motivation.

The excitement of infatuation feels better than any drug but it can be deceiving. Endorphins and oxytocin flood our brains with euphoria that seduces us and makes us see only what we want to see.

It puts both parties on their best behavior without effort. Depression temporarily lifts, a critical nature goes into the background, and our flaws and mistakes are all in the past.

"This one will be different" we say. But what is that assumption based on? We don't know the other person at all and yet we are certain we can trust our biochemically induced thoughts.

The fact that there is chemistry between two people does not necessarily mean that this is a good relationship. Sometimes what we want and what is good for us are in conflict.

The bad news is that we are capable of having that chemistry with people we could never be with long term. Anyone can do chemistry and you never know when or with whom it is going to occur.

My theory has been that about 1 in 30 meetings will have that special moment of attraction. Many affairs happen because we think there is something magical about it and we must end our ordinary committed relationship because we are now "in love" with another person.

What we love is how we feel in the newness of an encounter. The other person does not know you but thinks you are great. That's not much to build on and there is so much to lose.

The good news is that a coupleship that begins with the excitement of infatuation (not an affair) and continues to thrive as the high begins to fade, will possess a wonderful warm memory to enjoy upon reflection and occasionally re-experience in brief moments through the years.

It cannot be forced and will not be daily or even weekly but when it shows up it is sweet. Regular sexual and emotional intimacy in combination will keep the spark alive.

Maintaining a healthy amount of connection, respect, tenderness, and acceptance will ensure the magic returns from time to time. It isn't the same as chemistry but it is much more valuable and lasting.

The moral of the story is you can have the delight of cotton candy for a few seconds or something not quite as yummy that will last and whose sweetness can linger for a long time.

To learn more about Ann's personal growth and development programs, visit the Breakthrough at Caron website.

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