Romantic Love Is Over… What do you do when romance dies? We asked the pros
Relationship Firsts, we ask experts several questions that inevitably come up at some point in relationships. From how to introduce a sex toy to what to do when your sex life wanes, we cover the gamut of what you’re too embarrassed to ask (or admit) your friends.
It’s no fun to admit, but the romantic love phase of a relationship isn’t meant to last. According to Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., there are three phases of relationships: the Ideal, the Ordeal, and the Real Deal. When we fall in love (the first stage), our brains are flooded with the neurochemical phenylethylamine, which increases our positivity, relieves pain, and makes us feel secure and calm. They motivate us to commit to a relationship. So the first phase is all well and good – but what happens when it ends?
We asked the experts what to do if you feel that romance has died.
Remember the ‘D’ word
Alain de Botton, author and philosopher
The paradox of marriage is that when we love someone very much, the thought that they might leave us inspires us to sign up for a lifetime “lock.” Once the “lock” is in place, the fear of loss diminishes so much that we abandon all the normal precautions required to inspire someone to want to stay with us. The cure, in a sense, is to realize that marriage guarantees nothing. We should use the fear of divorce as a continuing defense against complacency. not because we want to divorce, but because a vivid impression of a partner’s freedom wards off fateful dangers of complacency.
de Botton’s latest book is The course of love
Dr. Dain Heer, relationship consultant and international speaker
Romance dies as a result of judgment. What you want to do is write down all your judgments of your partner and ask yourself, ‘Will you let these go?’ Maybe burn or destroy the list, then put your arm around your partner and tell them how grateful you are for them you. You do this every day and start expressing your gratitude for them, for them out loud and mean it. Then find 3 things you are grateful for her for every day and tell her every day. As your gratitude for her grows, so does your desire.
Heer is the co-creator of Access to consciousness
Keep your expectations in check
Juliet Grayson, relationship counselor
Romance will die; it’s natural. Harville Hendrix talks about the ‘ideal’, the ‘ordeal’ and the ‘real deal’. Ideal is the romantic stage, the ordeal is the next stage where you get into the power struggle, and you reach the real business if you are lucky after that. Although we don’t stay in the real deal, we cycle around the ordeal and the ideal for the rest of our relationship.
I always say, don’t do anything in the first 30 days that you’re not willing to do in the first 30 years. If you start a relationship with unrealistic expectations of how you will be, you will disappoint your partner as soon as he starts a long-term relationship with you. Therefore, it is better to set realistic expectations from the beginning about how attentive you will be (and even how much money you will spend on it, promised trips, etc.).
Grayson is the author of Landscapes of the Heart: The Working World of a Sex and Relationship Therapist.
Do the little things (again)
Jo Usmar , Writer of the well-being
This [eine Beschwerde, dass die Romanze gestorben ist] is usually code for ‘I feel like you are taking me for granted’. We all take our partners for granted occasionally, but it can make people feel angry and sad. The good news is that it takes very little effort to turn things around and show your appreciation. It’s the little things that count, not the big sweeping gestures. Bring them tea in bed, be compassionate when they have a hangover, make them dinner, bring them flowers for no reason, buy them what they admired when they didn’t think you were paying attention, pick them up Work, take a bath, make sure to thank them when they do something for you, no matter how small they are. It’s amazing the arguments and stress we would all avoid if we just showed a little appreciation.
Usmar is co-author of This book will reassure you.