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The Psychology of Romantic Love

The Ideal Stage of Romance

There is an amount of healthy idealization that helps us fall in love.

However, if we’re depressed or have low self-esteem, we’re more likely to idealize a prospective partner and overlook signs of trouble, such as unreliability or addiction, or accept disrespectful or abusive behavior. A lack of a support system or loneliness might also blind us to potential faults.

It is far better to first deal with these concerns before entering into a relationship.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

The Psychology of Romantic Love

The Psychology of Romantic Love

https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-psychology-of-romantic-love/

psychcentral.com

6

Key Ideas

Falling in love

To us, being loved in a relationship is perhaps the highest ideal. It gives our lives meaning and purpose. Being loved validates our sense of self-esteem and soothes our fears of loneliness.

Our brains are also wired to fall in love. Dopamine provides a natural high and ecstatic feeling that can be as addictive as cocaine. 

Whom We Find Attractive

Our self-esteem, mental and emotional health, positive and negative life experiences, and family relations all influence whom we’re attracted to. 

The Ideal Stage of Romance

There is an amount of healthy idealization that helps us fall in love.

However, if we’re depressed or have low self-esteem, we’re more likely to idealize a prospective partner and overlook signs of trouble, such as unreliability or addiction, or accept disrespectful or abusive behavior. A lack of a support system or loneliness might also blind us to potential faults.

It is far better to first deal with these concerns before entering into a relationship.

The Ordeal Stage of Romantic Love

As romance and idealization fade, we enter the ordeal stage.  We learn more things about our partner that displease us and discover habits and flaws we dislike and attitudes we believe to be ignorant or distasteful. 

Two things can damage a relationship during this period.

  • We fear losing or upsetting our partner and hold back feelings, wants, and needs. 
  • We complain and try to turn our partner into who we first idealized him or her to be.  

The Real Deal

Getting to real love requires self-esteem, courage, acceptance, and assertiveness skills. It requires the ability to honestly speak up about our needs and wants, to share feelings, compromise, and resolve conflict. 

It requires a commitment by both partners to get through the ordeal stage with mutual respect and a desire to make the relationship work.

Steps to Make Love Last

  1. Know yourself, your needs, wants, and limits.
  2. Take time to learn who the person you are dating really is and how you both resolve conflict.
  3. Be honest about who you are and what your expectations are in a relationship. 
  4. Self-worth is essential to healthy relationships.
  5. Learn to be assertive to express your feelings, needs, and wants and set boundaries.

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