While it is problematic to define love, it is much easier to break it down into stages because we can all relate to the feelings associated with these stages. The first stage is the most obvious of all three.
Coined by the American Psychologist Dorothy Tennov in 1977 this refers to the ‘crazy’ phase of love known to last somewhere between eight months and three years. You know that feeling when the thought of someone else completely blinds you to all that is rational. Just the thought of them can send butterflies fluttering in your stomach. At this point you see the other person to be imperfectly perfect, and even the most normal of their habits is intriguing to you. You ever hear someone say something silly like ‘I like how she brushes her teeth’? At this point you will swear you share some type of divine chemistry with the other person and in some respects that isn’t far off the truth. At this point even our brain is in on the scam fueling us with oxytocin and testosterone to encourage blind trust and sex marathons. Most of the romance movies we have seen take place in this time frame and must not be trusted for like all hormonal phases of life, this too will pass. And God help you if you don’t like what you see when this madness is over.
2. Affectionate Regard
This is also known as relationship anthrax. Affectionate regard is what we have for our close friends and parents. When intimate love slips into this phase it becomes everything but intimate. You know that point when sex becomes a mandatory chore and we would watch the most boring thing on TV (that would be cricket for anyone not a fan) just to avoid having to talk to the other person. For a lot of couples this is the beginning of the end. If there is no serious attempt at resuscitation, cheating and other types of compensation mechanisms set in and before you know it the party is over. It is not that you do not care for each other anymore, it’s just that you do not feel attached enough to feel like your lives are still interwoven with each other.
This is more or less the happy medium anyone in a long term relationship is hoping to settle into. Unlike the idea that love is absolutely unconditional and will be reciprocated as such, this is a higher level of thinking of love as a give and take relationship. Giving can be in form of time, intimacy, attention, encouragement, and yes even money. The day to day nature of this phase of love makes it very difficult to fit into a song or even a movie, but ask any happily married or long term dating couple and they will tell you all about how love is a job that is never truly finished.
Have you experienced any of these phases with someone? Are you in one right now? Let us know what you have gone through or what you are going through. Please use the comment box. You can also comment anonymous.
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