The fuzzy pink cloud of love at stage 1 shows you nothing less than a match made in heaven. But what happens when the realisation kicks in? What happens when you realise you just woke up next to your biggest nightmare?
It’s not all pink and fluffy anymore. You start noticing things you didn’t notice before and wonder if this is the person you fell in love with in the beginning. Did he change or is it you who is a different person by now? You might start to feel insecure in moments where you never felt like this or be annoyed by things you previously didn’t notice. I mean, does he really have to clip his toenails on the couch? Has he always been this sloppy with his stuff and is it you or is he just really self centered?
Is this truly the person you fell in love with when everything was still unicorns and rainbows?
This stage is about struggle. It’s about coming back to your individual once more and forming a partnership. You’ve entered a power struggle and the whole pretty pictures of ‘romantic love that will last forever’ is off the table. You’re now left with disappointment, and anger. Disappointment in your partner and in yourself. How could he do this to you and how could you have ever forgotten about yourself that much to make this work.
Don’t worry. These are absolutely normal thoughts and everyone has them. It’s a stage every relationship goes through. This is the point in which you fight or flee. In stead of focussing on all the similarities the focus has shifted to the differences. You try to change the other to get him back to the person he was when you so fell in love with him. But let’s not forget; he is still the same, it is your view on the relationship that has changed. You’ve lost your high.
Even if your truly committed to making this relationship work, as a real drug addict you will subconsciously look for your next high. You might find it in another person, another country or a completely different life far away from the place where the high has ended. You need that drug and if you allow yourself to be open for it you will find yourself that next high. You’ll be easily tempted to experience the high with another person. But watch yourself, this high will end as well. Do you want to spend your whole life running to the next high like a true drug addict?
This is the stage in which most couples break-up. It mostly happens after 2 to 4 years when the relationship is just not what they thought it would be. They’re not committed enough to this relationship or they’re simply out for their next high. Especially in todays society, people just give up easily. You hardly see relationships with real work and effort put into them. But keep in mind, when you’re committed enough to struggle through this stage, you’ll get more than you’ve ever imagined possible.
I knew it the moment I saw him. He was the one. He was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, no matter what. I knew there were going to be hard times, I knew we were going to pass moments in which we would lose hope. But I also knew that this was the one I was willing to fight for, no matter how hard the struggle I would never leave his side. Not just because it was love, but because I knew he was my partner for life. The person I wanted to share my life with, the person I wanted next to me in all the happy and the sad. That for me, is true love.
You will struggle. You will fight. You might ignore each other for hours on some days. Some relationships are stuck in this stage after years of being together, so are some marriages even after having children and having settled down. This is the stage in which you’re truly getting to know each other. The stage in which you figure out how to be two individuals in one partnership. You fight, you laugh, you cry but most important; you talk. You find a way to make this work, simply because you are committed to yourself, to the other and to your relationship.
You have to learn how to accept and appreciate each other’s differences. You learn how to share power and how to be on the same team. You’re in a partnership, not in combat. You’ll learn how to live in harmony and how to simply let life happen to you. You have faith in what’s to come.
Love isn’t just that magical moment where everything seems to fall into place. Love is so much more than just unicorns and rainbows. Love is the conscious choice to spend the rest of your life with that person, no matter what. The struggle is worth it.
So the choice is yours. Will you flee, or will you fight?