Following an mutually acceptable, although the duration is seldom agreed upon, probationary period, the protecting walls of cat and mouse and the fear of emotional hurt will make way for general acceptance, trust, and love’s lines of connection and the birth of a love relationship. I believe there are three types of love relationships: True love relationships, adequate love relationships, and harmful love relationships. Additionally, I believe that each type of love relationship has three distinct phases: the infatuation phase, the negotiation phase, and the maintenance phase. Unfortunately, the path oftrue love is the path less traveled for most of us.
The infatuation phase of a love relationship is about exploring the physical and instinctual, although we conceptualize it by using the same words we employ to describe emotions; joy, love, happiness, head over heels, etc., and all work as emotional metaphors to describe a physical infatuation. Confusing emotional connections with physical infatuation is also very common. Infatuation is nature’s way of ensuring the propagation of the species. Even the duration of the typical infatuation phase, three to nine months, coincides with the average needed female menstrual cycles to conception. Our nature, via our instinctual intelligence, enables us to stay infatuated long enough to promote pregnancy so the child rearing neurotransmitters can be released into our brains that chemically initiate another set of instinctual connections and help keep us together much longer. Infatuation is often confused with true love.
The infatuation phase of a love relationship typically winds down at a fork in the road when, what I term, the negotiation phase of the relationship begins. There are several potential relationship paths of negotiation that depend on the level of achieved partner connection during infatuation. Many couples will continue the relationship with the blind hope that differences will magically dissolve. Some may choose to terminate the relationship if too many large gaps remain unresolved. A long-term agreement or commitment may be reached through the legal channel of marriage or the natural channel of pregnancy, regardless of connection gaps. The least chosen at the fork in the relationship formation road is the path leading directly to true love.
Harmful Love Relationships
Obvious harmful love relationships can develop when the frustration of connection gaps reach a boiling point. These couples are easy to spot; they are emotionally cruel and brutal to each other both privately and publically. Hurting their partner has become their life’s mission. Contempt is abundant and forgiveness is absent. Arguments are held in terms of absolutes and, again, aimed at hurting the other partner. It is only a matter of time before they split up, which may become an equally brutal affair.
Some people have a high predisposition or tolerance for emotional pain that can bind them in a harmful relationship for life. They have learned to deal with their pain by adopting a passive-aggressive nature. This can be most hurtful for their partner. If you believe you are in an adequate relationship and want to make it better but your partner absolutely refuses to take any steps with you, please reconsider. If your partner honestly doesn’t want you to feel better about the relationship or it doesn’t bother them that you are in pain, you may be in a passive-aggressive harmful relationship. This type of harmful relationship can be difficult to identify because it is usually devoid of the epic arguments and battles typically associated with obvious harmful relationships. There are two tests presented in the Artful Science of True Love that can help you identify if your relationship fits into this category.
Adequate Love Relationships
Prozac prescriptions may help ease the emotional symptoms of an unbalanced relationship but do little to close the connection gaps. Couples on this path find themselves lost in the confusion of an adequate love relationship. The relationship is rife with high and lows and ups and downs and the only thing consistent is the inconsistencies. This type of love relationship is most common and can range from the upper boundary of true love to the lower boundary of the contempt found in harmful relationships. Couples may wonder the desert of an adequate relationship for their entire lives, thirsty for true love but never finding the oasis of equilibrium on all continuums.
When things are going well, they will cling to the lines of connection without gaps and enjoy each other for a while. When things are going poorly, they will fight like cats and dogs. They can be difficult to spot and, to the outside world, they may appear to be happy together. Privately, they both know something is amiss. If you listen carefully, you can recognize these couples because every third thing they say to each other is part of their life-long negotiation. They are mad at each but no longer know why. They need to win arguments over resolving differences. They are very competitive.
Real forgiveness is difficult for them and often replaced with avoidance. They have a tendency to lose themselves in career, kids, friends, and extended family in order to further avoid their relationship issues. They often have affairs to fill their connection gaps. Eventually, half of these couples will grow tired of negotiating and avoiding and split. The other half will enter the maintenance phase of an adequate relationship and reluctantly accept their unbalanced love plight, forever. There is good news for couples in adequate love relationships as they can take a few simple steps and get on the path to true love.
True Love Relationships
True love is definitely the road less traveled into negotiation; however, can be chosen if safe and open emotional communication and meaningful migration is rooted during mutual infatuation. By the way, you probably won’t notice that infatuation is gone if you are among the lucky couples to travel this path because it isn’t. If you read this prior to a new relationship or during the infatuation phase of your relationship and identified connection gaps before they caused real problems or just got lucky, congratulations. Kiss a lot and enjoy each other. What has taken place for you on the path to true love is a natural real migration to equilibrium as your expanded comfort zones become a permanent part of your mentality.
The gentle negotiation phase of your relationship will involve refining the methodologies and strategies for migration and your connections will grow stronger with each refinement. During the negotiation phase, you will imprint on each other and your differences will become a source of strength and reassurance of your love. You will incorporate those instinctual, emotional, and intellectual differences and grow to become more complete mental individuals. You will learn how to argue with each other, as arguments will revolve around efficient issue resolution, not winning or losing. Forgiveness will become increasingly easier as both of you will experience tremendous pain if you come out of equilibrium. Your partner may even teach you how to forgive yourself. As the negotiation phase winds down, gaps are closed, permanently. Your differences no longer matter as you enter the effortless maintenance phase of your true love relationship and become a lifelong card carrying member of the three percent club.