- What Makes Love Last?
- Cheating - Why do Men and Women Cheat?
- Relationship Counselling - Why it's a good idea
- Relationship Counselling - How To Communicate Better
- Change In Relationship Counselling
- All About Love
- Couple Intimacy Exercise
- Relationship Counselling - "Be here Now"
- Stuck Relationship Patterns
- Affairs and Betrayal
All About Love
Expectations Of Love In Relationships
A good place to start is to look at our expectations of love.
At the start of a relationship there can be strong attraction and heady feelings of love for each other. This ‘falling in love’ is called limerence. Our romantic culture feeds the us images of “limerence” lasting forever and builds our expectation of it is how a relationship should be.
We know that limerence fades within the first few years of a relationship. It’s common for couples to want to get back to “how their relationship was in the early days”. It’s helpful to be clear of the difference between heady limerence which is a passing stage and a more subtle yet equally rewarding and more enduring love, that we call “loving attachment”.Expecting to recreate limerence is unrealistic. We tend to long for the thrill and downplay the insecurity that goes with it !
I find having an understanding about loving attachment helps makes sense of love and loving needs. It gives us a language to describe how we good and loving toward each other. It signposts what we need emotionally to feel loving feelings.
Our sense of having a loving bond with our partner fluctuates in a relationship depending on the level of certainty we feel in response to the following questions:
- Do you love me?
- Are you there for me when I need you?
- Have you got my back?
- Am I special to you?
- Am I safe and secure with you?
We are inter-dependent on our partner to get a special sense of belonging , loving acceptance and regard from each other.
Our early life experiences of relationships impact how much we can hold inside the feeling of being loved and how much we need reassurance. We deal with doubts to the above questions in different ways. Some people tend to seek closeness whereas others fear getting too close ’. We usually end up being attracted to someone that has the opposite tendency to ourselves. This gives us the opportunity to learn about love.
Loving Attachment Explains A Lot
Knowing that love is about maintaining a loving attachment with our partner explains the following
- It’s normal to be inter-dependent on each other in a relationship to feel loved and secure
- If events happen that bring up doubts about the questions above then it’s normal to seek reassurance and want to connect.
- If your partner is pulling away and you feel the disconnection, it’s normal to feel ‘needy’ . Neediness is more a relationship dynamic of one partner seeking reassurance and the other partner distancing than to do with one partner alone.
- Arguments and relationship problems increase when our sense of being loved and secure comes into question. Arguing is an attempt to reconnect. Even distancing and not talking can sometimes be an attempt to avoid further weaking an emotional bond.
Loving Attachment v’s Affectionate Regard
Loving attachment needs to be nurtured by both partners to keep a romantic sexual specialness. If you as a couple have become distracted from nourishing your relationship and are struggling it’s possible to work together to re-connect.
Sexual chemistry works on the coming together of opposites to give the spark of passion. There needs to be the room in the relationship for differences where you are true to yourself and enough friction to generate passion.
If there isn’t a physical relationship or room for differences a relationship stagnates. When there's a lack of spark it’s common for loving attachment to slide into an passionateness affectionate regard for each other. It's a this point couples feel,“I love you , but I’m not in love with you” and feel, “We are more flatmates than lovers “
What To Do To Build Loving Attachment
If you want to bring back the passion into your relationship and re-build loving attachment then I recommend reading Andrew Marshall’s book,”I love you , but I’m not in love with you” .It describes the points made in this article in more detail. Also consider coming for some relationship counseling which is an excellent way to get some support to deal with unaddressed issues to support to bring back loving attachment. Loving attachment is something you can rekindle even if right now you feel all the love and passion has gone.
Helen Fisher Talking About Limerence Love
Barry Long on Making Love
This is really good:
Barry Long - Making Love - Audio side 1