Were you taught that falling in love was an essential step to a happy life?
Were you taught that partnership is easy ... if you love each other enough?
Do you still believe this?
Few topics are more fascinating than love, and the
opposite of love is probably not hate - it's apathy. Yet many people
have described loving a person and disliking or even hating that same
person simultaneously - in the same moment.
Most of us know how it feels to
love someone ... and how it feels to dislike someone. But we may not
understand how or why we fall in love ... or why we fall in hate.
When you meet someone, you may assess their age, figure, weight,
clothes, posture, grooming and perhaps speech. Your assessment may
motivate you to move towards or away from that person. It is normal
to feel attracted to people who appear physically and emotionally
healthy; and repelled by people who are physically or mentally ill.
Depending on your personal history, you may feel
attracted to or repelled by ...
- people with authority
- people who appear rich
- people who resemble a media figure
- people similar to a parent, sibling
or past love
Most people select potential partners both consciously
and unconsciously. Can you consciously change your unconscious attractions
or compulsions? This is easier if you understand a little
Psychobiology of Love
Your brain chemistry changes when you are in love, in similar ways
to some mental illnesses or drugs. Falling in love can be addictive,
and falling out of love is often compared to withdrawal symptoms!
Falling in love seems to have three phases, Lust, Attraction
and Attachment, each associated with hormones and neurotransmitters.
- Lust is driven by estrogen and testosterone
(affects both men and women).
- Attraction is associated with dopamine and
serotonin. People in love may feel obsessed. They may
eat less, sleep less and day-dream about their partners.
- Attachment supports lasting commitments and helps
bond lovers together. Feelings of connectedness are associated
with vasopressin and oxytocin.
Most people experience a surge of oxytocin during
extended touch, for example during sex or massage, and a surge of
dopamine during arousing activities. Although both can trigger
feelings called love and romance - who are you in love with?
With a person - or with your own good feelings?
As the feeling of love can be addictive, people in love may show symptoms
similar to substance abuse, and people falling out of love can suffer
serious mental health consequences, similar to symptoms associated
with withdrawal from addictive drugs.
I can't stay with my partner and
I can't leave.
We love each other
but we both resent and sometimes even hate each other. Toronto
Falling in love is usually a wonderful feeling; and
falling out of love often brings profound suffering. Have you ever loved and
disliked a person simultaneously? Such love–hate relationships can occur if:
- part of you is in love - and
some other part of you is not
- the person you love behaves totally
differently at different moments
- you cannot fulfill a loving relationship, yet
you feel bonded to that person
- you thought your partner was like someone
else - and later found it was not so
Both love and hate can be accompanied by strong emotions,
and both can lead you to obsessive thoughts or irrational actions. One
minute you love someone and the next minute you cannot stand them.
Love-hate relationships are common relationship styles. One
minute you love the person and the next you simply cannot stand them. Why is
this? Have you both lost the passion that you once had for each other?
Why should I get married again?
I can just find a woman I really dislike and buy her a house!
Solutions for Love-Hate Relationships
You may have believed your first infatuation was
true love because you had never experienced such emotional intensity
before. You will probably remember this experience for the rest of your life
... and compare other experiences to it.
If you love someone, you will likely compare your feelings to
your first-love experience. If your feelings are similar, you may decide that
you are in love.
If your feelings are not similar - you may decide that there
is no hope for this potential relationship.
Intimate love-hate relationships may feel like
roller coaster rides, but rarely support lasting happiness. Some
simple steps to improve a partnership are:
- Avoid criticizing each other - and give clear
- Forgive each other for irrelevant behaviors and
- Strive to understand your own and partner's words
- Accept that you both have qualities and issues -
work to improve yourself
- Share life experiences and pleasures
- create memories that you can enjoy
We coach people to learn from
disappointments ... and step towards healthy partnership.
Love and Finding Happiness
I often define happiness as a profound and lasting
experience of well-being and fulfillment that can survive
and even grow during difficult times. Many people have told
us that they feel emotionally whole when they care about certain
important people; and when they feel cared for by those people.
Yet love is sometimes a cover or excuse for unhealthy behavior.
When I coach people who describe unhappy partnerships, I often
ask, "Why do you want to stay together?"
Often the first answer I hear is "because we love
You asked us, "Why do you want to
stay together?" I was shocked ... I told you lots
but my real answer was fear ... fear of being alone,
fear of a cold bed,
fear of a worse relationship and so on. Montreal, Canada
To enjoy a healthier intimate partnership, you can
examine your beliefs about romantic love. Unhealthy beliefs support
unhealthy relationships. If your beliefs about love are based on
fairy tales, popular songs and movies, then you are likely to be
disappointed in your intimate relationships, again and again.
Children notice that if they are obedient and cooperative, their
parents smile and perhaps touch them gently and speak kindly. With gentle
words and kind behavior, parents communicate their love for their children.
Real children sometimes fight, make noise, get bad grades and make
a mess. Do their parents still smile and speak gentle, loving words? Or do the children
learn: “I am only loved if I am obedient.”
Substitutes for Love
Do you try to fill your emptiness with distractions? As with drugs, the pleasure of praise, power,
fun, money and sex can become very brief and artificial. If you don't feel connected
by mutual love, you will soon feel disconnected, in need of another fix.
Often, falling in love is an exchange of substitutes.
Many people start relationships based on what they hope to receive
and expect to give. This marketplace attitude may be fine for
brief affairs, but is a poor foundation for committed partnership.
Relationships built on substitutes will fail -
no matter how good the couple felt.
When the feelings wear off, as they must, being based on lies, people are
often left clinging to broken dreams and limiting beliefs.
We can help you build healthy loving relationships on a
of connectedness based on maturity and partnership skills.
Online Life Coaching & Counseling for Loving Relationships
I thought you were just
another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.
Plagiarism is theft. Copyright ©
Martyn Carruthers 2010-2018
All rights reserved.