Wednesday, September 15, 2010

When Is The "Honeymoon" Over?

At the start of a relationship, or, as some people refer to it, the “honeymoon period”, partners look at each other with stars in their eyes. Annoying habits may be regarded as cute; no one is rocking the boat; both are enjoying the excitement of early courtship; and all the layers of the true self have not been revealed. When this “fantasy” world is eventually brought to ground, if reality is not as pretty, then the relationship can falter.

In The Psychology of Romantic Love, What Love Is, Why Love Is Born, Why It Sometimes Grows, Why It Sometimes Dies, Dr. Branden states, “One of the clearest requirements for a successful romantic relationship is that it be based on a foundation of realism. This is the ability and willingness to see our partner as he or she is, with shortcoming as well as virtues, rather than attempting to carry on a romance with a fantasy.When and if we choose to see our partner realistically, not deceiving ourselves, love, if it is real in the first place, has the best of all opportunities to grow."

Feeling safe to disclose one’s inner thoughts is a hallmark of a deepening relationship. It is, of course, necessary to be in touch with these inner thoughts and truly understand them yourself.

Allowing another to see all sides –- the dark and the light -– and sensing an acceptance as a complete person who has human failings, creates an atmosphere of trust. With that inherent trust and acceptance, love can bloom.

To go one step further, trust and acceptance do not necessarily mean agreement with a partner’s thoughts and actions. Dr Branden says, "You can’t expect a partner to applaud your every action – only to offer an atmosphere where we can express ourselves without fear of moral condemnation or attack – in an atmosphere of respect and acceptance. We can only give our partner what we can give ourselves."

Next up ... Conflict: A Chance For Growth

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