For most of us, love resonates with the jet set pace. A fast-paced tour to a far-off exotic island. Filled with blistering intensity, with wild episodes of passionate sex. The creepy feeling of meeting someone new is mind-blowing. I would like to call it the preliminary or euphoria stage where each of you thinks he or she is the last man/woman on earth. Every word, every touch, every look works like magic.
The mere presence of that person creates a tornado and you are caught in the vortex. However, over time, the intensity decreases. You get to know each other – warts and such. You see sides of the person you thought never existed. Where is the epitome of perfection? It is at this stage that most of us make a mistake. Because we’re not just looking for the right person, we’re looking for the PERFECT person, a nearly impossible possibility. Take a look for yourself first. are you perfect Nobody is on this earth. The sooner we recognize this, the sooner we stop chasing a mirage, a pipe dream.
Consider this scenario. You have met the person who completely matches your choice. Not only do you find this person physically attractive and stimulating, but intellectually this person provides you with meaningful company. So, to use that cliché, you fell head over heels in love. One fine day, the “almost perfect” God-sent person starts to annoy you. You discover, to your great dismay, that this person has no sense of personal hygiene.
His/her erratic nature, something you found extremely “cute” is actually extremely dirty. His/her underwear, wish you’d never seen them. His/her dresser forces you to wear a mask because of the stench, every time he/she opens his shoes you turn away because the pair of soles now have a few holes. And worst of all, he/she keeps the toilet open without flushing it!
Enough is enough. Gradually, other shortcomings are amplified. What about his/her behavior around other attractive people? Was there a bit of serious flirting that caught your eye? What do you do in these circumstances? What action is she calling for? Throw away and run for life? Well, for a personal opinion, I don’t think you should. Still.
Although these look like extreme examples that I have seen, believe me, these can also be true. When we first notice the flaws, the shortcomings or the unexpected is expected, we tremble. Many relationships end here and go no further from this point. A long-cherished dream is shattered. The romance falls apart like a house of cards.
But if you accept that no one is truly perfect and that you may have certain flaws that are also despicable, then you don’t give up. You rise to the next level of relationship, with new challenges as new horizons open up. A whole new level of intimacy that is more mature can be triggered after this initial crackdown on illusions. Many of us at this stage simply close down or take up anger and resentment. Some of us just disappear and walk into oblivion. Unfortunately, if you decide to follow these steps (often cowardly), you’re missing out on a golden opportunity to move up to the next level in the relationship.
Euphoria in every relationship cannot be permanent. Or it wouldn’t even be called euphoria. When euphoric love ends, another phase begins – the phase of finding stability in the relationship. You suddenly ask questions like: Can I spend my whole life with this person?
Will she stay exactly as she is now? Do I want children from her? What will she be like as a mother and more so. These are very important steps in life for everyone. Fear and insecurity creep in with the questions. Something completely natural again. But this whole thought process often throws us off track because we were previously unwilling to ask ourselves so many questions.
Many of us overinterpret this fear and assume it is a sign of our unpreparedness or an indication that we should not move on. This is because the moment we start thinking about a person who is going to be prominent in our life, we become overly cautious and more critical in our views.
As we reflect and rethink, let’s not forget the human good sides that got us to this stage in the first place!
Learn to enjoy this phase of the relationship – which is full of possibilities and opportunities. Finally, remember that this word love means a lifetime commitment, a difficult proposition for many. It is a process through which we learn to love ourselves, the person we share our life with and others around us.
If you both decide to continue the relationship to move toward consistency and commitment, remember that this is the most critical time. Love cannot survive without sufficient nutrients. It’s like that little sapling that can only grow with the help of food and water.
As Erich Fromm wrote in The Art of Loving, published in 1956: “The art of loving is like any craft. It requires patience, trust, discipline, focus, faith and daily practice.” The only thing that is constant in life is “change”. Relationships are no exception to this rule. As it changes, it grows, matures and becomes more stable, weather-beaten and strong.
Maturity in every love does not come at the push of a button. It takes years, goes through numerous ups and downs, crosses many rivers and oceans before a person can have a “mature” love for another person. Your priorities should be, in order of preference, love for yourself, then your partner, and then your family.