Seasons of Relationships: How Love Changes Over Time

Richard Lewis, famous American actor and comedian, once said: “When you fall in love, it’s the most glorious two and a half days of your life.” What could have been the thought that drove him to write something like that? Or more precisely, why did he assign only a short span, to the glory in love? Does love seem to die out in relationships after the first few days of romance? Let’s examine the reasons for couples not making it last and what could probably be the ideal balance that two people in love should strive for.

The early days: Days of rhapsodic promises

These are the days when the moon always appears full in the sky. Two people meet and seemingly get surrounded by an enchanting aura of love. Love seems to have no bounds during these days and the universe seems to work in perfect order. The heart suddenly becomes generous towards the poor and even the most passive of individuals are delighted to see flying birds in the sky. Life, on the whole, seems to be a wonderful gift of God.

Why do some lovebirds part their ways midair?

The sad part however is that in most cases, the early days of romance pass quickly. Two months or in some cases three or four months of courtship and suddenly life does not seem all that beautiful anymore. The waving trees seem routine and flying birds no more bring pleasure to the eyes. Couples that were once seen cooing around the woods can be found quarreling at marketplaces some six months down the line. Everything that they once seemed to love in each other suddenly seems intolerable in their eyes. Eminent psychologists have explained the possible reasons of break-up on a number of occasions. Loss of trust and confidence, expectation-reality mismatch, financial insecurity and infidelity are some of the most common causes of breakups.

The flip side: Some relationships last enviably longer

There is actually a scientific cause why people seem to become less inclined as the relationship progresses. During the infatuation and courtship stages, there is high hormonal secretion of adrenaline and this drives people to do many insane things for their partners. Over time, the “high” once associated with the beloved decreases. If the new feeling is one of peace and comfort – the relationship can proceed smoothly, but if one is expecting the high to remain – there will be difficulty adjusting to a different phase of relationship. Most people also do not understand conflict in their relationships. Perhaps less than 30% of conflicting issues in a loving relationship can be resolved quite easily, while 50-60% of conflict will be habitual. When we learn that some conflict will be habitual and learn ways to manage, rather than attempt to “solve” the conflict , then the couple can develop more realistic expectations

Think change

If you expect your love to remain the way it was when you started the relationship – you will likely be very disappointed. Everything in life changes – and love is no exception. Learn to recognize your unrealistic expectations for relationship – regular passionate sex, no conflict, joy at every thought of your beloved, etc. Because these changes do not mean that the love is dying, rather that it is maturing. Be alert to ways the relationship matures and keep focusing on what you and your partner can do together – not on what separates you.

Michael Winters is a Psychologist in Houston focusing on marriage counseling and therapy. Michael received his PhD from the University of Memphis and has been practicing since 1991.