I wanted to map the
consequences of mature love and immature infatuation - and of healthy
partnership and romantic affairs. This is for people who want to
understand their relationships and fulfill their dreams of
sharing happy lives together.
Many couples start a partnership
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 were playing a game
A game called we are not playing a game
If I asked about the rules our game
I broke the rules of our game
(the game called we are not playing a game)
And you punished me
We coach people to recognize expectations and their fantasies, in ways that they can discover both themselves and each
other. This open the possibility for a reborn partnership based on honesty and
maturity ... as couples start again as real people with practical dreams of
Is your Partnership Healthy? See
Coaching for Couple Problems
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 family, 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 so few people appear to use 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, USA
Part of the reason may be that there's little financial
gain from happy people! There's tons of money to be made from lonely, bored
people who search for distractions. There's tons of money to be made from
anti-depressants and stimulants. There's tons of money to be made from unhappy
Observe how couples and families are portrayed on television
... listen carefully to modern love songs ... check the divorce statistics ...
explore what you and your children 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, one partner says, "Our partnership is fine"
while the other is preparing to leave.
Partnership Requires Maturity!
A 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 (especially an opposite-sex
parent, child or a sibling) than to a partner - he or she may be enmeshed in
(Consequences of covert emotional incest include immaturity,
impotence & frigidity,
and affairs, although there are many other
causes of marriage problems.)
In the following tables, I compare the consequences of
immature infatuation with those of mature love. I
also compares immature and mature partnership skills. (The use of
partnership skills requires an attitude that I generally call maturity -
an attitude that's easy to claim and hard to fake).
1. Infatuation or Love?
Infatuation may last from a few days to a few years
and may be called true love. 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 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 love addicts - addicted to the intense emotions associated
with fantasies and drama.)
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. Yet mature love can 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 you or your partner 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 some threshold of suffering, withdraw or react childishly.
Perhaps they start considering separation
or affairs. Yet mature people can use these same
conflicts to improve their relationships!
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
We help people solve partnership problems.
Continued in Partnership
Skills 2 ... Evaluate and Decide
Online Life Coaching & Couple Coaching
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