Can you remember when you first fell in love? Awesome wasn’t it?
And there’s a reason for that – you were off your face on drugs!
Not in a bad way I hasten to add, and you couldn’t help it. It was just your bodies very cunning way to get you to find a mate and reproduce.
The Romantic Phase
In Imago Relationship Therapy, we call the first phase of a relationship the Romantic Phase. Many things are going on, but one of the key changes you will experience is the chemicals that are being bumped into your body by your brain.
Let’s spend some time taking an unscientific look at some of the magic juice your body produces when you are in the romantic phase of the relationship.
This is one amazing chemical and the basis behind many an addiction. Dopamine makes us feel happier, helps us focus for longer and gives us energy to do things.
Many stimulants that us humans take (including cocaine) increase the levels of dopamine. They give us a dopamine hit. The reason you eat that second slice of cake is because it releases dopamine. You become hooked on porn because dopamine in released when you watch it. Dopamine is full on stuff!
Often called the cuddle hormone, oxytocin does a whole heap of amazeballs things to you. Former assistant clinical psychiatry professor at the University of California, Carol Rinkleib Ellison calls it the “hormone of attachment”.
What can this bad boy do for you? well amongst other things:
- Promote feelings of attachment and loyalty
- Ease stress
- Intensify fond memories
- Boost sexual arousal (schwing)
- Help you sleep
- Increase feelings of kindness
And how do we get the biggest release of oxytocin? Orgasms my friend, Orgasms!
Vasopressin is the bonding hormone that makes you want to hang out with your loved one.
Scientists have done research into prairie voles that bond for life and found high levels of vasopressin in their brains. If they block this (as evil scientists are wont to do), the male abandons his partner and heads off down the pub to shoot pool with his mates instead (true story).
Vasopressin makes total sense from a survival perspective. You partner up and both of you protect the kids and you get to share the washing up. Such is love.
Corticotrophin Releasing Factor (CRF)
CRF makes you miss your other half when you part, explaining why you “want to be together” with your new love.
When I first started dating my partner, I’d come home from my therapy practice in the evenings sometimes as late as 10.30pm at night, but we would still sit up, drinking wine, transfixed with each other.
That phase is over now and we’d far more likely find each other snoring in bed at that time of the day whilst giving off an “I’ll talk to you tomorrow, don’t you bloody dare wake me up!” vibe.
It happens to us all!
This keeps you pumped and makes you feel sexy. Now don’t quote me on this but I’m sure I read in the research to this article somewhere that scientists have observed male rats have far more spontaneous erections when you inject them with adrenalin.
This brings forth to me many questions about how scientists spend their time, but I guess the point is that adrenaline even puts rats in the mood for some gooooorrd luvin!
So both men and women increase their testosterone levels when they fall in love. This makes them more attentive and feel horny. Remember how when you first met your new love you were at it like rabbits? Yup – hormones. Mother Nature well had you off!
The most common amount of sex I hear couples having (not literally) in my therapy room is no sex. The drugs have gone; the kids are needing their bath, you’re knackered after an exhausting day and even the thought of the old one two makes you flinch.
This is normal.
It’s also something you can change for the better, as sex is great for your relationship, good fun and a great way to bond.
Oestrogen is released by women when they first meet their new partner. They feel sexy, want to take care of themselves more and are perceived by men to be more attractive when it’s flowing. Oestrogen makes you feel bootylicious!
So you can see now what little chance you had?
Firstly you had no chance to avoid feeling fantastic when you first met your partner and secondly it was inevitable that all of this would end.
Your body can’t keep up giving out these hormones and nor does it have to because its mission is complete.
You’ve partnered up, found a mate, had lots of sex and guaranteed the continuation of the species. You’ve been mugged off by mother nature and there’s bugger all you can do about it!
Kind of fun though wasn’t it? One hellofa ride!
Do The Workshop
Welcome to reality my friend! You’ve crashed out of the Romantic Phase and into the Power Struggle just as everyone who has ever had a relationship has done before you.
The good news is that the Power Struggle Phase has it’s great bits too! It’s there to give you an opportunity to heal and grow with your partner like you’ve never done before.
Want to learn more? The “Getting The Love You Want” Couples Weekend Workshop is all about how to build an amazing relationship once the drugs have gone and reality hits. Click here to find out more.
Read The Book
For a good read on how to improve your relationship, try “Getting The Love You Want” * by Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt. Harville and Helen really know their onions when it comes to relationships and Imago has changed thousands of relationships for the better across the world, mine being one of them.