When you were little, did you dream of falling in love with Prince Charming, getting married, and living happily ever after?
I sure did!
I was obsessed with the idea of love, passionate about all things Disney fairytale, and always dreaming of meeting my prince!
Then I grew up.
Of course, I still believe in romantic love and am fortunate enough to have met and married my prince.
But the love my husband and I have for one another today is different than the love we experienced in our relationship 20 years ago.
Over the years, our love, like most love, has changed. It has been through many twists and turns. It has ebbed and flowed; it has evolved.
The Three Phases of Romantic Love
Researchers have studied love and found that our brains go through three different stages of love.
The first stage is our libido, driven by the hormone testosterone, and does not necessarily involve another person. While we can feel desire when we are with someone, we can also feel it when we are alone. You may experience desire while watching a movie, reading a book, driving in your car, etc. The “mood” can just hit you! This phase or stage of love is more about our innate drive as humans to physically connect, rather than our need to attach emotionally.
The second phase of love is attraction or lust, and is what great love stories are written about, think “The Notebook.”
The attraction phase of love is intense, passionate love. It is love that you cannot get enough of, almost obsessive love. Love that CONSUMES you!
When you are in the attraction phase of love, all you want is to be with your love interest. You think about them constantly and talk about them incessantly. You spend all of your time with them and neglect friendships, work, exercise, and chores. Your life begins to pile up, but you don’t care because you are in LOVE.
Typically in this phase, there is frequent, passionate sex, sleepless nights spent talking, cuddling, and making love. It is like you CRAVE this person, NEED this person, are ADDICTED to this person!
Eventually, if a relationship lasts, the final phase of love that a couple evolves into the third phase called Attached Love.
Attached love is secure, reliable, stable love. This phase of love provides a sense of safety in the world.
When you are in a securely attached relationship, you will feel confident, secure, and grounded. You’re more likely to take positive risks, reach goals, and implement positive coping skills. Securely attached individuals are also more financially secure and happier overall.
This phase of love is not what great romantic poems describe, but it is what all humans are hard-wired to seek out.
Humans are HARD-WIRED to attach.
Humans crave the consistency and stability of a secure relationship.
We all want to know that we have someone in our corner, someone we can turn to when we’re in need.
And while the attraction phase of love (Stage 2) is more exciting than the attached phase of love (Stage 3), it is not sustainable. Eventually, we have to get back to real life. We have to return to work, pay our bills, spend time with our friends and family, exercise, take care of our lives, and focus on activities other than making love!
Romantic Love and Human Survival
If we think about the stages of love from a survival perspective, it all makes sense.
First, we need to have a basic biological drive to procreate (Stage 1).
Next, we have to find a desirable mate and work on procreation… lots of lovemaking! (Stage 2).
And finally, we need to ensure our survival and the survival of the offspring we created in Stage 2 through attached love (or partnership). (Stage 3).
So while falling in love is exciting and an amazing experience, it also is a drive that ensures the survival of the human race! Meaning we are biologically hardwired to create and attach.
Romantic Love, Marriage, and Happily Ever After
Let’s apply this to your love life.
If you’re reading this, you are likely married and in the attached phase of love. At your core, you love your husband and want your relationship to last, but there may be hours, days, weeks, or even months when you feel less in love.
Maybe the arguing has increased, maybe you feel neglected, lonely, hurt, or disappointed. Maybe you’re stressed or overwhelmed. Or maybe the life you are building is not what you hoped it would be.
This is all normal.
It’s normal for your love to shift, change, ebb, and flow.
It’s normal for your love to feel less passionate and intense.
And it’s normal to question if you chose the right partner.
At the end of the day, love is a choice.
Happily Ever After is a Choice
In the beginning phases of love, it is powerful and intense. You feel compelled to be with your love interest.
But when you move from attraction to attached love, you are unconsciously making a choice. You are choosing every day to wake up and stay in love. You are choosing to treat one another with love and respect, to honor your marriage. You’re choosing to repair and work through disagreements. You’re choosing to be faithful, kind, and compassionate. And you are choosing to remain married to your prince.
After the Fairytale Ends
When we’re little, and we watch Cinderella marry Prince Charming and ride off together in the carriage, we don’t get to see what happens next.
We don’t watch Cinderella adjust to her new life in the castle, struggle to make new friends, feel lonely after having a baby, or resentful when the Prince plays golf on a Saturday morning.
What we see is a tiny snippet of their intense, passionate (new) love.
Your love, like most love, has likely evolved through these stages, and there are times when you feel hurt, lonely, resentful, underappreciated, overworked, tired, stressed, and frustrated.
Of course, you love your husband, but your love is different, and the increased arguments and resentment are getting the way of keeping your love alive.
Marital Dissatisfaction After Baby Is Born
Couples who move into attached love and have a baby are at risk for decreased marital satisfaction. In fact, 70% of couples feel less satisfied with their marriage after having a baby.
The good news is that you can get your love back on track and learn how to have healthy, connected, securely attached love instead of disappointing, distant love filled with resentment and doubt.
Learn the 4 Secrets for Living Happily Ever After
If you want to feel closer to your husband, stop resenting him for playing golf/basketball/tennis/mountain biking, etc, it’s time to take action!
It’s time to put your love first. To reconnect with the passion you once had. To find stability, security, and comfort in your relationship, and to treat each other with kindness and respect.
Too many couples allow distance and resentment to interfere with the quality of their marriage.
Rather than giving up and resigning to a less satisfying marriage, do something about it! Take small steps that in time will lead to big changes in your marriage.
If you are tired of hurting and feeling lonely, want the arguments to stop, and miss the passion of those “early days”, DOWNLOAD 4 Secrets for Living Happily Ever After Quick Guide NOW!
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