Like Carrie Bradshaw said, “I’m looking for love, real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t live without each other love.”
Does this love exist? If it does, can it last? That is the million dollar question. Sometimes it is easy to find that person who gives you goosebumps and butterflies in your stomach. However, it may not be so easy to maintain that excitement in a long term relationship.
In the beginning it is easy to feel excited and have the anticipation of getting a text and seeing that person again. However, over time the excitement can fade. Does that mean the love has faded? Does it mean you aren’t IN love anymore? That depends. Let’s just say it’s complicated, and I’ll try to explain it as best as I can.
Drug addicts will tell you that every time they use they are chasing that first high. They know it will never feel that way again, but it was so great, they can’t help but try. Love is kinda like that. Once a person becomes familiar they can’t become new to you again. The difference with love is that familiar isn’t a bad thing. If you’ve been with someone a long time you may not feel that same anticipation when they text or when you see them. However, there is a comfort in knowing you can depend on them, and that they know you so well.
It isn’t better, it is just a different phase of the relationship. I have some students ask me if they should break up with someone because they don’t feel the same way about them. This can mean a few different things. Sometimes in a relationship you can hurt each other emotionally over time. This can start to kill the love you had in the beginning. If you always argue and fight, it causes a lot of stress. That stress can overwhelm you, and your feelings do start to change.
Sometimes, it just means this person has become more familiar to you. You may not feel the fireworks every time you kiss or catch their eye. That doesn’t mean you aren’t in love with them anymore. Hopefully what you feel is deeper and stronger than those initial sparks in the beginning. Even great relationships are work. It takes effort to listen and be there for each other through tough times. That time and effort creates a different kind of bond. However, it may seem boring to some people.
This can cause some people to chase that spark only to be disappointed when it fades with every person they date. Although, I do tell people that the initial spark is somewhat important. That is what determines whether this person is friend material or dating material. It sucks when one person has fireworks and the other person doesn’t. You could be the perfect date and do everything right, but sometimes it just isn’t enough. Fireworks aren’t something you can force or create. You either have that spark, or you don’t. If you get into a relationship without having any initial sparks it could mean you are settling just to be in a relationship or feel bad because the person is nice and you don’t want to hurt them.
I know people who don’t want to be too picky, and others who are afraid they might be settling for something they really don’t want. In time, it will become obvious if you are doing either of these things. Some relationships just have to play out because you may not be sure about what you want. Fireworks are important at first, but don’t give up on a relationship if it feels less intense over time. It is natural to lose some of that initial excitement. Hopefully you still feel a little flutter when you see or hear from your boyfriend or girlfriend, but that totally intense, all-consuming feeling usually fades in time. Don’t worry, that is the natural progression of a relationship and doesn’t mean you are necessarily no longer “in love”.