I love relationships. Getting close, personal, and sexy with another human being truly is what makes the world go ’round – and not just for the euphoria and butterflies that go with them.
If anyone has ever been a part of one, regardless of seriousness, then they’re quite familiar with the facet of them that has been the inspiration for much of that euphoria and the majority of the romantic poetry that has been written over the years: the ‘honeymoon’ phase.
In that beautiful stretch of time, everything is right with the world. The air smells sweeter, birds are chirping a bit more than usual, and everything we do is enhanced in ways we never thought possible. We are in that moment, the very best person we can possibly be. It’s truly a gift, and one of the reasons why so many of us want to find love in the first place.
As with most good things in life, there’s a catch, and that beautiful symphony of emotion must come to an end. For some, the loss of this gift is too much to bear and they simply walk away. I know I spent a good part of my adult life hopping from honeymoon phase to honeymoon phase(s). For others, that thing they caught a glimpse of is so amazing that they’re remiss to let it go without a fight. For those in that category, the result is either a struggle that ends in a messy breakup, or the finding of someone we decide to spend the rest of our life with – with the vast majority of us falling into the former category, whether or not marriage is involved.
So what the hell happened? Where did the love go?
Some individuals hypothesize that it’s at the twilight of the honeymoon phase that the ‘shine’ begins to wear off of the other person and we see them as they really are, flaws and all. This supposedly triggers our doubts, and the palace of ivory begins to crumble.
I’m here to say that while that hypothesis does hold some weight, it’s really not at the heart of what happens.
To put it simply, it’s not the others person’s faults that come starkly into focus in this darkest of hours, it’s our own.
To explain my point, I’d like to begin with a little relationship/attraction meta-theory that’s been gathering steam in my brain over the past year or so.
I firmly believe that we are attracted to what we’re attracted to because that particular thing happens to be what will most directly cause us to go/grow where and how we need to at that particular point in time, and I mean that in the most Taoist of interpretations.
To use a fairly colorful example to explain this point, let’s say that at a given moment in someones life, he or she is drawn to the notion of sleeping with a bunch of people. This may be caused by some deeply rooted insecurities, or by any other number of reasons, but at that moment, that particular course of action is the best means for that individual to begin the journey that will ultimately end in overcoming whatever obstacles stand in his or way to personal realization and fulfillment.
Notice that this theory includes all things that many people could consider unhealthy or negative. While this may be the case in the short term, I believe that these actions are nevertheless the best path for a person to take. Even if it feels like you’re swimming upstream, the current is always carrying you in the right direction.
Attraction to other human being provide us the strongest and most direct path to this personal growth, and therein lies the reason why we are so crazily drawn to other people. I firmly believe that without women, men would end up wallowing in some gutter in the most depressing scenario imaginable, and vice-versa – with the mechanism through which this happens being one of the most brilliantly designed systems in the world.
You can never know who you’re going to be attracted to, and to what degree you’ll be attracted to them, but rest assured, there’s a method to that madness. Whoever that person happens to be, take comfort in the fact that you are placed on each other’s journeys to take you both where you need to go.
When it really happens – when you’re ready for it to happen – it hits you like a ton of bricks, and I’m certainly not the first to describe it in this way. As we’ve already mentioned, that honeymoon phase hits, and you are suddenly faced with a more perfect version of yourself than you ever thought possible. Your work goes extremely well, all of the other relationships in your life flourish, and you’re insanely open to anything and everything – you also may happen to notice that other members of the opposite sex can’t keep their eyes off of you.
As we’ve also mentioned though, this inevitably comes to an end and we’re now sitting face to face with that same person we were before all of this started. We are reminded, after a brief glimpse of heaven, that we’re still the same person with the same flaws that we were before love crossed our paths.
Because these two versions of ourself, the ideal and the reality, are now forced to stare each other down face to face, this point can be especially troubling. We being to feel depression-like withdrawals and other aspects of our life begin to suffer, including work and other relationships. Our openness is replaced by jealousy – and those fears and insecurities that this attraction was put in our place to overcome begin to show their ugly head.
As strange as it sounds, this is a point to celebrate. Up until now, these personal demons remained for the most part under the surface, but through this beautiful process, they are now brought to some level of light where they can actually be fought.
When faced with this situation, a person will always go in one of three directions.
1. They simply cannot bear the situation at this time, and decide to walk away. Maybe they’ll tell themselves that their other half simply wasn’t worth it or too flawed for them – and maybe they are – but they choose to wait until the next time attraction hits them over the head; a time when they’re better prepared to deal with their roadblocks through more experiences such as these.
2. They decide to continue the relationship, and use as much ‘warm fuzzies’ as they can muster to cover up the glaring issues. They’ll turn a blind eye to the unearthed feelings and hold the other person as tightly as possible with hopes that with enough “love” the shadows will eventually be banished.
Well those shadows don’t simply go away on their own, and the result of this course of action is the all too familiar pattern of love/hate that so many of today’s relationships find themselves falling into. The periodic episodes of hot and cold continue to escalate until a final blowup/breakup occurs, leaving both parties devastated in their wake.
The silver lining is that this path will ultimately lead to a good amount of personal growth after said blowup. The negative of course is that it’s often not without the cost of most of one’s mental and emotional health along the way.
3. This final path is the path is the most difficult to walk, yet is the one that leads to the greatest amount of ultimate personal growth and fulfillment.
Although it is the path of greatest resistance, some couple are actually able to use this opportunity to face their own personal demons, the ones that this attraction was meant to uncover in the first place, and constructively work through them together. This is often not accomplished without greater or lesser degrees of hardship, and it is rare that anyone can take on this type of endeavor without making some missteps along the way. It is, however the straightest and most powerful path to ultimate happiness that one can undertake.
At this point I must stress that there is no one path that is any better or worse than another. There is only what is best for a particular person at a particular time. If you know in your heart that someone is not the person to take you to the next level in a particular situation, then trying to tell yourself otherwise will only slow your pace.
So why is it again that we should even bother with all of this in the first place? Why is this natural inborn order so wonderful to begin with? The answer to these questions lies in the honeymoon phase that began our journey. The truth is that the person that you caught a fleeting glimpse of in that phase wasn’t merely a figment of your imagination. Although the vast majority of us are weighed down by not so positive experiences throughout our lives, primarily in our younger and most vulnerable years, we all have the potential inside of us to permanently become our best self, the version of our self that we were able to catch a glimpse of during the initial honeymoon phase.
That version of yourself is who you truly are, that is the you who can accomplish anything you desire – unbridled of your fears – and that is the you who can limitlessly impact the lives of everyone you encounter and the world in an exceedingly positive way.
No matter where you are and where you’ve been, take comfort in the fact that it has all happened for a very good reason. And with that, I can only hope that this article has given you a little extra nudge along the way.