I wanted to map the consequences of mature love and immature
infatuation - the path of healthy partnership vs shallow affairs.
Do you want to better understand your relationship habits and
fulfill your dreams of happy partnership.
Many couples start partnerships
based on fantasies, with high expectations and limited partnership skills
(let alone parenthood skills). They may wake up a few months or a few years
later ... perhaps with children and debts ... wondering what happened to love.
Perhaps we are playing a game
A game called we are not playing a game
If I ask about the rules our game
I break the rules of our game
(the game called we are not playing a game)
And you punish me
We help people understand their expectations and
fantasies in ways that they can discover both themselves and each
other. This opens possibilities for partnerships based on honesty
and maturity. We help couples achieve their dreams of happiness.
Is your Partnership Healthy? See
Solving Couple Conflicts
Relationship Problems are Normal
When I was a teenager, I thought that happy partnership
was mostly luck. Like so many people, I learned about relationships from
watching my parents, TV shows, movies and by listening to the lyrics of
popular songs. It wasn't at all clear to me then that happy partnership
requires supportive beliefs, shared values, teamwork and many,
many relationship skills.
As many people appear to lack mature partnership
and parenting skills, over half of the couples you know will likely suffer
Many people you know will separate and divorce more than once, or stay
together bonded by guilt.
Few couples that you know will live happy ever after.
My wife and I have been happy together for
40 years ... I am often told how lucky I am
my wife says that it took her years to mold me into something she could
live with ... I think she is joking ... Oregon
Did you know that there's little financial gain from happy people!
There's lots of money to be made from unhappy people who search for
distractions. There's lots of money to be made by selling
anti-depressants and stimulants. Unhappy people spend a lot of money
to forget how boring and senseless their lives are!
Observe how couples and families are portrayed on television
... listen carefully to modern love songs ... check the divorce statistics ...
explore what you and your family accept as normal! Those few mature
couples who enjoy lasting happy partnership have worked hard to develop and
maintain their joyful harmony - in a society where it may be normal for
immature partners to barely tolerate each other.
Sometimes, a partner says,
"Our partnership is fine"
while the other is preparing to leave.
Partnership Requires Maturity!
One step to maturity is emotional
freedom from your family of origin. If an adult is overly concerned
about pleasing a parent, that person may have problems sharing love with
a partner. If an adult feels closer to a family member than to a partner
(especially an opposite-sex parent, child or a sibling) - he or she may
be enmeshed in emotional incest.
(Consequences of emotional incest include immaturity,
impotence & frigidity,
In the following tables are some of the consequences of immature
infatuation and of mature love. I also compare immature and mature
partnership skills. Healthy partnership skills requires a mature
attitude that's easy to claim but hard to fake - you expose
your maturity with your every sentence and your every action.
1. Infatuation or Love?
Infatuation may last from a few days to a few years
and may be called true love although it is often the shortest phase of
partnership. Love at first sight often indicates
transferences (one or both partners
do not see the other as real people - rather as idealized images
based on their histories and needs). For more, see Soul Mates.
Steps to Infatuation
Steps to Love
|You meet someone
with whom you might fulfill your romantic fantasies
||You meet someone
who you find interesting, mature and attractive
|You hope that
this person can rescue you
||You check if
you are both available
|You don't want to
||You feel inspired
to develop yourself
|You will do anything
to prolong your good feelings of being with this person
||You explore your
shared goals, history, ethics, expectations, morals and values
|Your life feels intensely
||You enjoy exploring
each other's realities
|You hope that all your
needs and desires can be fulfilled effortlessly
||You together consider
and discuss ways to fulfill both of your needs and desires
|You believe that
your good feelings will last forever
||You do things together to
build trust and to see each other in many contexts, even stressful
|You break rules to
maintain good feelings
||You discuss the
rules of your relationship
|You believe that you can
communicate telepathically - without words
||You discuss many topics
candidly and you compare your heartfelt beliefs and values
|You evade important issues
and tell lies to avoid spoiling your nice feelings
||You tell raw truth to
|You ignore important parts
of your life (friends, family, work, savings, etc)
||You share important parts
of your life, including the darker times
|THIS is your
One True Love - your Soul Mate -
no other partner is possible!
||You know there
are many potential partners for you and this person seems like a good choice
You’re in love!
Love can last for lifetime if there is a strong basis for attraction,
mutual trust, shared values and a willingness to create happiness together.
Infatuation might lead to lasting love - yet
more often leads to disappointment and affairs.
(People who repeatedly build relationships on infatuation instead of love,
may be called love addicts - addicted to the intense emotions associated
with romantic fantasies and conflicts.)
2. Disenchantment or Responsibilities?
Infatuation usually reaches a peak and then diminishes.
Reality intrudes when people must make ordinary, practical decisions ... when
immature fantasies may start to feel unrealistic. Mature love will continue to
grow as people plan, assign and fulfill daily life responsibilities together.
Maturity and responsibility are choices - they are not
gifts that can be given.
You feel disenchanted
You accept responsibility
Your fantasy is replaced by daily life
life is the reward of your work
Romance is replaced by boredom or conflict
grows as responsibilities are shared
Something wonderful is slowly dying
wonderful is slowly emerging
You may feel that you are being cheated
feel that you are being rewarded
Your partner cannot fulfill your dreams
||You clarify your
dreams of partnership
You blame anything and anybody
... except perhaps yourself
credit for your efforts - and responsibility for your mistakes
You are very aware of other potential partners
partners exist ... so what?
If someone generally
avoids responsibility and commitment,
see Mother's Prince and/or
3. Conflict and Withdrawal!
Housework can be fun together-time or can become power contests.
Who takes out the garbage? Who washes these dishes?
What exactly does clean mean? Unless resolved,
many people, after a threshold of suffering, withdraw or react childishly.
They may consider separation
or affairs. Yet mature partners use those same
conflicts to improve their happiness together!
Conflicts LOSE energy
Conflicts GAIN energy
|You argue and fight over
||You find fun ways to manage
|You feel emotionally unavailable
||You find nice ways to be
in your body
|You become withdrawn or aggressive
||You find interesting ways to recharge
|You fear loneliness or
||You know that you are
friendly and competent
|You long for lost
intimacy and passion
||You explore ways to
|Sexual intimacy decreases or
stops and flirting or affairs seem more interesting
||Sexual intimacy ebbs and flows,
and you learn to ride the tide and go with the flow
We coach people to build healthy relationships.
We help people solve partnership problems.
Continued in Partnership
Skills 2 ... Evaluate and Decide
Online Life Coaching & Couple Counseling
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