Where Did the Love Go?
You’re floating through life having a marginally fulfilling time at best — busying yourself with work, exercise and happy hour. During the week you embrace your role as a corpbot, occasionally looking up at the glass ceiling but not feeling much of a sense of urgency to sling a rock at it after all your office already has a Miranda Priestly. At night you have your beauty routine, DVR lineup & glass of Red , and “the most adorable fur ball in the world” at the foot of your bed. Like clock work you set the sleep timer, select a recording from your list and fall asleep wondering if Jon Snow is really dead??? In the morning you’re awakened by the now pungent scent of the empty wine glass on your nightstand. You walk the fur ball, shower and dress then it’s off to the race!
Sure things could be better but you find a sense of comfort in your laptop and cappuccino when all of the sudden BAM: he walks in. Tall, handsome, intelligent, successful – just an all around great guy. The kind of guy that everyone seems to like. You know the phrase: women like him, men want to be like. And this wonderful piece of a man has taken a deep liken to “little ole you”.So you blissfully proceed in love with your new found gem. You’re loving him and he’s loving you back. Two and half years into the relationship he pops he question: Will you marry me? You can’t believe it! It’s finally happening! “Yes. Yes. YESSSS!!!”, you stammer as he slides the ring on to your finger. That evening you steal a moment from the kissing marathon in your living room to devilishly update your Facebook relationship status to “Engaged” to include “HE LIKED IT!!!” And now you’re the envy of all your friends and you can’t help to relish that your friends list includes a few “not-so-forgotten” ex-lovers. Sure, comment how happy they are for you but privately they are brooding in jealousy, you sense this and you LOVE it!In what feels like a spellbinding whirlwind, you plan your dream wedding: sun, beach, tropical breezes and all your envious but supportive BFF’s in tow. You “I do” he do too, then it’s off to evening of smoldering passion, breathy “I love you’s” and morning pleasure pain. You use the cuff of your plush Chenille bathrobe to wipe the steam off the bathroom mirror, look at your reflection and say to yourself “Yep, this is what true happiness looks like”.
Five years and 2.5 children later you hit a relationship lull. You’re not as happy to see each other as you were before. He comes in from work(later and later you’ve noticed) and you barely look over at him as your wipe melted Baby Cubes off the kitchen floor. He comes over kisses the baby, gives you a playful pat on the rear; two fingers later he’s asleep in the media room. For you bedtime has a few reoccurring themes:
quick and unfulfilling transactional sex, Sex In the City re-runs, or angry 3 AM elbow nudges to the rib cage of the snoring, inconsiderate oger you married.So what happened? By all accounts this is still the same person you fell in love with and as far as you’re concerned you haven’t changed. Sure you’ve picked up a few baby pounds and sometimes you forsake your beauty regimen to invest more time in bedtime stories but you’re just a but the core you remains the same. And what about him? He’s just as sexy as the day you met; professionally he’s kicking ass; everyone around you still finds him to be a very likable person and he seems to be committed to his household. He’s supportive of your endeavors as you of his. But most importantly, here are no signs that he’s cheating. But your certain that something has change between the two of you and you have no idea what or how to fix it. The good news is that your hunch is right. The bad news is that your hunch is right.According to Dr. Gary Chapman’s book “The 5 Love Languages” the eternality of the “in love” experience is fiction, not fact”. His book further this theory by referencing a study conducted by the late American Psychologist Dr. Dorothy Tennov. After studying scores of couples she concluded that the average life span of a romantic obsession is two years. If it’s a secretive love affair, it may last a little longer. Eventually, however, we all descend from the clouds and plant our feet on earth again. Our eyes are opened, and we see the warts on the other person. Her endearing “quirks” are merely annoying. His sharp sense of humour now wounds. The little bumps we were in love with now become huge mountains (Love and Limerence – the Experience of Being in Love, Tennov, Dorothy (1979). Love and Limerence. Maryland: Scarborough House).
In 1979, Dr. Tennov introduced the term “limerence” (in her book entitled, “Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love) to described such feelings of “in love” as a state of mind which results from a romantic attraction to another person typically including compulsive thoughts and fantasies and a desire to form or maintain a relationship and have one’s feelings reciprocated. During her years of research into romantic love experiences, she obtained thousands of personal testimonies from questionnaires, interviews, and letters from readers of her writing, in an attempt to support her hypothesis that a distinct and involuntary psychological state occurs identically among otherwise normal persons across cultures, educational level, gender, and other traits. Tennov emphasized that her data consist entirely of verbal reports by volunteers who reported their love experiences (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limerence).
As concluded by Dr. Chapman, author of 5 Love Languages, once the experience of falling in love has run its natural course (remember, the average in-love experience lasts two years), we will return to the world of reality and begin to assert ourselves. He will express his desires, but his desires will be different from hers. He wants sex, but she is too tired. He dreams of buying a new car, but she flatly says, “We can’t afford it.” She would like to visit her parents, but he says, “I don’t like spending so much time with your family.” Little by little, the illusion of intimacy evaporates, and the individual desires, emotions, thoughts, and behavior patterns assert themselves. They are two individuals. Their minds have not melded together, and their emotions mingled only briefly in the ocean of love. Now the waves of reality begin to separate them. They fall out of love, and at that point either they withdraw, separate, divorce, and set off in search of a new in-love experience, or they begin the hard work of learning to love each other without the euphoria of the in-love obsession.