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Intimate Relationships: The Typical Cycle

Spoiler Alert: They start like a fairy tale and end like a train wreck.

"My papa told me...
Boy, don't put your faith in love..."
- The Lemon Tree Song

"If love is blind, then I just want to say...I totally can't see you at all!
So I think this is going to work out great!"

article by LiveReal Agent Courtney

"Is he the one?" "Bow. Bowow. Woof."

Your dedicated LiveReal Agents are exploring the treacherous terrain of modern relationships, while trying, with every sinew in our sleek, svelte, caffeine-powered bodies, to keep our sanity intact...

Maybe we're seeing things, but it seems that with all the hype and fuss about romance and relationships...

- well, when we honestly examine the way many romantic relationships in the real world turn out...

- maybe they aren't all they're cracked up to be...

How it seems to work:

Around the time we turn, say, 11 to 15, we begin to experience a rush of strange and powerful interest in certain other members of the human race. This rush, to one degree or another, typically continues throughout the rest of our lives.

To our surprise, we suddenly find our hearts pounding, our voices quivering, our breath short, we think of "him" or "her" aaaall the time...they become our doorway to happiness, holding our trembling heart in their hands, ripe with the promise of ever-lasting bliss...

- or maybe this just launches us on a predictable chain of events.

"The Typical Cycle" of Intimate Relationships

Step One: "The Catch"

Going through life. Someone catches your eye. Thought: "They can make me happy!" "This is what I've been waiting for all of my life." Promise of fulfillment. The future is bright, and bursting with potential.

"Love is what happens to a man and a woman
who don't know each other."
- W. Somerset Maugham

Step Two: "Courtship"

You display your best features, hide the bad ones. At this point, either get painfully rejected several times and return to Step One, or if the courtship is successful, fall in "love."

"When two people are under the influence of the most violent,
most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions,
they are required to swear that they will remain in that excited,
abnormal and exhausting condition until death do them part."
- George Bernard Shaw

(Editor's Note: Marriage may occur at this step, or after any any of the following steps.)

Step Three: "Romance"

Time moves on. Swell of passion begins to fade. He/she is still "perfect" . . . mostly, well except maybe for this one little thing...

"The duration of passion is proportionate
with the original resistance of the woman."
- Honore de Balzac

Step Four: "The Honeymoon Has Ended."

A wide assortment of minor problems emerge, usually each party blaming the other, either loudly or secretly.

"Men are April when they woo,
December when they wed;
maids are May when they are maids,
but the sky changes when they are wives."
- William Shakespeare (As You Like It, Act 4, Scene 1)

Step Five: "Rude Awakening"

Problems, issues, and troubles.Infatuation fully fades away. You realize that this other person is just another normal, flawed, breathing, scratching, coughing, fearful, complicated human being, just like yourself, more or less. They find out the same about you. Guys begin to think "Why is she like that?" Girls begin to think, "He'll never change." Often this is accompanied by feelings of betrayal, of having been wronged, let down, disappointed, or hurt.

"Love is something that hangs up behind the bathroom door
and smells of Lysol."
- Ernest Hemingway

Step Six: "This isn't what I expected."

One or both people realize that what they thought was the real solution, IT, the Answer, the end of loneliness, boredom, unhappiness...wasn't.

Now they find themselves, in a way, right back where they started, lonely, discontent, looking and longing for something more.

This is the stage where, as the saying goes, "You go to bed soulmates, wake up cellmates."

"Marriage is like paying an endless visit
in your worst clothes."
- J. B. Priestley

Step Seven: "Crossroads"

This step consists of how one copes with the previous step. Here, one is at the following crossroads: Either

  1. Break up or divorce;
  2. Separate, or take a breather, and resume problems at a later time;
  3. Both partners find a way for the relationship to evolve to a deeper level of understanding and maturity;
  4. Have an affair (return to Step 1 in that relationship, while simultaneously moving on to another of these steps with the original); or
  5. Resign yourself to a dull, colorless life full of crushing disappointment, barren drudgery, and hopeless resignation.

"Typical love is like two poor people
where each believe that the other is rich.
Sooner or later, each finds out
that the other person is just as poor as they are."
- Roy Masters

Step Eight: "Rest a bit."

Ponder on what went wrong, and try to come up with theories and/or explanations of what happened. The quality and accuracy of answers vary, depending on how in touch with reality one is, one's honesty, and often the quality of relationship books one is reading. Typically, the solution is to conclude that it was the other person's fault, and the way to not make the same mistake again is to find a "better" person. (Note: this step can, and often is, skipped by those who move immediately to a new partner, thus returning again to the cycle at Step One.)

"There are very few people who are not ashamed of having been in love
when they no longer love each other."
- Duc de la Rochefoucauld

Step Nine: "Start looking for a new catch."

Return to Step 1.

"Love is only a dirty trick played on us
to achieve the continuation of the species."
- W. Somerset Maugham

...and THAT is "The Typical Cycle" of intimate relationships!

"Love is the word used to label
the sexual excitement of the young,
the habituation of the middle-aged,
and the mutual dependence of the old."
- John Ciardi

So now, of course, the question becomes...how do you "get off" or avoid "The Typical Cycle"?

"If Romeo and Juliet would have stayed around,
then they would have soon been bickering over the dishes
and who was going to hang the curtains."
- Unknown

Our answer is this:

By breaking or bypassing key steps of the cycle at some point.

OK, and just how, exactly, do you do that?

Well, this sounds like a job for LiveReal.

We're working on it.

Stay tuned.

"A man falls in love with a woman because she is attractive and has a beautiful, sexy body.
She falls in love with him because he is handsome and successful.
They take out a thirty-year mortgage on a lovely home
and produce three darling children.
Maintaining such a life is stressful.
To cope with the stress, he starts drinking and watching sports on TV
and she overeats and smokes.
Slowly their attraction to each other
is no longer the basis of the relationship
and they are forced to define it differently,
usually as a kind of duty or obligation.
As the love slowly dissipates they begin to quarrel.
Even if they manage to patch things up for the sake of the children,
new desires and fears come into play, forcing them to continually react and adjust.
Eventually, the desire for freedom trumps the desire for love and the relationship terminates,
leaving them with a negative view of relationships, the opposite gender, or indeed, romantic love itself.
If nothing is discovered about the way likes and dislikes operate to condition the love,
they may think they chose the wrong person, blow life back into the romantic fantasy,
and set out to remove the loneliness inspired by ignorance of the self
by repeating the same experiment again with someone else."
- James Swartz

Appendix

Check this out:
"Love" relationships typically turn into "love-hate" relationships.
Why?

Related Links

What is “Love”?

What is “Happiness”?

What is "Intimacy"?

The Search for “IT”

The Relationship Arena: The Search for Intimacy

Relationships: The Best Science Has to Offer

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