A fledgling relationship is not unlike finding a new favourite restaurant. The first time you dine there, you’re excited by all the menu items to explore and try, by the enchanting atmosphere, and by the flavours of each food you sample. You go back for more on a regular basis, and while you still ‘love’ it, the initial excitement and glimmer wears off a bit. Now, the restaurant is comfortable and always reliable for a good meal and experience. It seems to make you happy and so you continue to go back to it, but your initial feelings towards it have adapted.
what we think of as ‘Love’ is similar—albeit much more complicated! New ‘love’ is exciting, filled with adventures and discoveries about yourself and your partner, and passionate. However, after a while those feelings wear down a bit to something a little less heart-pounding. They become softer, gentler, and hopefully, deeper.
However, many people describe such kind of ‘love’ as boring. In fact, it’s often people’s reason for committing infidelity—they’re searching for the excitement they no longer find from their partner. But isn’t that the kind of relationship we all want: full of unconditional love, a deep connection, and comfortable intimacy? When ‘love’ changes, we have the tendency to discount it as an inferior form of ‘love’ compared to that of the “Honeymoon Stage,” rather than appreciate it as a stepping stone and put the work in to deepen it into unconditional love.
‘Love’ means something different to everyone, right? So why do we assume that ‘love’ doesn’t adapt and evolve as we do? As the context of our lives change—from young adults, to married with kids, then empty nesters, and finally as old geezers—the way we experience and define love will hopefully change as well, and that’s okay! In fact, it should change.
Comparing the present stage of our relationships to the earlier version of ‘love’ with our partner, and trying to get it back, will set us up for disappointment and resentment. Perhaps we no longer lose our breath when seeing our spouse, but that sharp intake of lust is now replaced with a sigh of contentment and acceptance of the person they really are. We should appreciate that new response. Warmth and acceptance are wonderful emotions to feel towards our partner.
When our relationships and the way we experience ‘love’ changes, don’t recoil—lean in, learn more about unconditional love and appreciate what it is becoming!