Unrequited love is one of the most painful experiences of our lives. We’ve all agonised over it, and some of us have developed the types of patterns described in this wise and eloquent post by Girl Rebuilt. Read on if you dare!
“But that afternoon he asked himself, with his infinite capacité for illusion, if such pitiless indifference might not be a subterfuge for hiding the torments of love.” ~ Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera
With Valentine’s day approaching, I was recently challenged to answer the following writing prompt in one of my writing groups:
Did you ever experience unrequited love, where you really felt you loved someone and they simply didn’t love you back? What were the circumstances? Did it last for a long time?
Whoa. Did they know who they were dealing with? I was the queen of unrequited love.
Unrequited love was probably my only version of love until D. I don’t say that lightly. In fact, my very first unrequited love was most definitely my dad. I loved him with all my heart and he wanted very little to do with me. My…
I came across this article when I was doing some research for this blog (and the book behind it) about search engine terms and questions people look to have answered on the fascinating subject of dating.
It’s interesting to read of appropriate ‘phases’ in relationships, and the idea that everything has a time and a place.
I guess we imbibe this in the many social and cultural cues that surround us from the moment we enter the world, even within our own home. Our backgrounds clearly influence who we become – if we are raised in a family of over-sharers or over-relaters, that is bound to have an affect on how we interact with others, just as the opposite is true.
Having said this, a part of me rebels at the idea of ‘correct’ and ‘incorrect’ ways to go about living our lives and forming relationships. Some of the most significant relationships of my life have been formed because one or both of us ‘broke the rules’ – society’s conventions about what must happen when and in what order.
As I write this I am mindful of the ongoing debate among daters about matters like when to have sex, when to kiss or be intimate with your date, when to follow up and how to read their communication style.
For example, the authors suggest delaying having sex together to marinate the lust and extend gratification. There are daters on both sides of this fence and I’ve heard all the arguments – but there are so many exceptions to this ‘rule’ that I’m not even sure where I stand on it myself! (Even looking at my relationship with my beloved, we did not ‘delay gratification’ very long at all – on the third date the deed was done and we’ve never looked back since!)
If we view these questions through a lens of relationship stages it all becomes clearer – we focus on physical/mental attraction in the ‘dating’ phase and then move onto the ‘relating’ phase after that. It sounds so easy – and dare I say, boring?
I get that for genuine relating, the couple must have a solid basis for compassion, empathy and shared values. But we connect with each other on so many levels, and surely life is not that clear cut? We are messy, spontaneous and complex creatures, after all!
When I read the mini case study I thought it was an intro to a successful relationship story, so that just goes to show that we can’t always second guess what works and what doesn’t.
So here goes the article from Jake & Hannah Eagle. I’d love to see what readers make of this advice and the ‘science’ behind it.
The Key To Successful Romance
It was their first date. Before dinner was over she was telling her potential partner that because of the abuse she experienced as a child, she needed a man who would never surprise her. She needed him to always be honest, even if he was worried that she might not like what it was he had to tell her.
Their likelihood for successful romance was doomed.
Why were they doomed?
Because they were “dating,” but she was jumping ahead to the “relating” phase of a relationship. There is nothing wrong with “relating,” but when it’s done out of sequence, it has no foundation to rest upon. The proper brain chemicals aren’t sufficiently in place to support dealing with serious issues.
We have defined three stages that romantic relationships go through. The first is dating, which might last a couple of months, followed by the relating stage, which can last approximately two years, and then mating, which can last our entire life times. To deeply understand how to succeed in each stage look at our Dating Relating Mating Course on Amazon.
Many couples make the mistake of starting the relating phase without having spent sufficient time in the dating phase. And many forms of counseling encourage this when they suggest that couples “work” on their issues. But that’s not appropriate in the dating stage. For one thing, to move into the relating stage we need to have the right chemical cocktail present in our brains.
Dating emphasizes attraction
When we are in the dating stage we are releasing chemicals associated with lust and attraction. These include testosterone and estrogen, also dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. One of the healthiest ways we know to enhance the dating stage is to postpone jumping in bed too quickly. If we allow ourselves to swim around in this cocktail of lust for a few months we will develop a pattern of delayed gratification that will serve us for years to come. Think of it as simmering in maturity.
Relating emphasizes attachment
When we shift to the relating stage of romantic relationships we require a different chemical cocktail. All the previous chemicals are still active, but now we see the introduction of what some people call “attachment” chemicals, which help us bond at a deeper level than “attraction” chemicals. These attachment chemicals include oxytocin and vasopressin, both of which are thought to help strengthen a couple’s bond.
In an experiment done with prairie voles, scientists gave male voles a drug to suppress the effect of vasopressin. The result was that the pairs’ bond diminished as the males lost their devotion to their partners.
So, before you start sharing “heavy” details about your past, and establishing your boundaries, and making the 5 agreements that couples need to be successful—wait until you have the right cocktail of chemicals in your brains. If your suitor is the “right” person, he or she will be willing to wait a couple months before having sex and willing to wait before you start “working on your issues.”
Please share your thoughts, and thanks to Jake and Hannah for their story.