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Q: RelationShips, Man and Women, Love ( Answered 3 out of 5 stars,   4 Comments )
Subject: RelationShips, Man and Women, Love
Category: Relationships and Society > Romance
Asked by: coleishebrewforvoice-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 15 Sep 2002 01:54 PDT
Expires: 15 Oct 2002 01:54 PDT
Question ID: 65201
What are the steps to reclaim the emotional passion that a long term
(four years) relationship, betweena man and a women, had at one point
where their love shined brighter than it has in about a year an a
half. We have had some emotional trust intrusions, that when the
situation that first arrouse causing the initial doubts, reoccurs in a
similar sitaion creating a feeling of distance and doubt about our
        I have lived with my girlfriend for 3 years now and want it to
Any help?
Subject: Re: RelationShips, Man and Women, Love
Answered By: knowledge_seeker-ga on 15 Sep 2002 09:14 PDT
Rated:3 out of 5 stars
Hi coleishebrewforvoice-ga,

I’m going to give you way more than your $2 worth here because I feel
like you’d like to hear it, and because I think a lot of other people
would benefit by understanding the dynamics I’m going explain here.

What you are going through is typical for any love relationship.  Many
scientists agree that love goes through three phases and all of these
phases are chemically driven. Now this may all sound rather clinical
and non-romantic (it will have nothing to do with buying her
flowers!), but the fact is, we are biological species and are driven
to act and feel in certain ways in order to propagate the species. I’m
sure that once you read through this you will recognize the different
phases in your own relationship and maybe it will help you understand
where you are now.

A quick note – different scientists have given these phases different
names. I’ve arbitrarily chosen one to use here.

The first phase is the LUST phase. This phase is hormonally driven
(testosterone and estrogens) in order to cause humans to seek out a
partner. It’s sort of the “shopping” phase, where you are scoping
potential partners.

The second phase is called ROMANTIC LOVE.  This is the phase you are
in when you’ve found the perfect woman! You can’t stop thinking about
her.  You write her all that bad poetry and send her emails 4 times a
day. It’s that amazing high you get just thinking about her, and that
heart-flipping joy you get when you see her walk into the room. When
you’re in this phase you wake up every single day knowing that you are
IN LOVE!  This phase is driven by the chemicals dopamine and
norepinephrine and other biochemicals, the same chemicals that many
high-inducing drugs release into your brain; hence it’s one of the
greatest feelings of all time.

The biological purpose of this phase is to force you to focus on just
one person in order to form a pair bond. Ever notice how when you feel
this way, other women don’t seem all that attractive any more?  That’s
the brain chemicals at work. Only she can trigger that euphoria in
you. You want her and her alone.

Now the bad news is that that phase only lasts 2-4 years. Long enough
to form the pair and supposedly reproduce. Remember, we’re talking
biology here, not culture. You may NOT reproduce in the first few
years, but that’s what biology intended so that’s how we’re chemically

Once that’s done, our body chemistry moves into the third phase
--ATTACHMENT phase. This is where you are now. That heady feeling of
“being in love” has been replaced with a calm. No more major
heart-flutters when she comes home. The little “I love you” notes are
fewer and farther between, and they just don’t do what they use to do
for you. Everything seems kind of … well .. bland. Normal. Not sparkly
like it used to be.

This biological phase is designed to be the calm that allows you to
raise children without the distraction of that earlier phase. Anyone
who has ever left a marriage and fallen in love again will testify how
difficult it is to focus on the kids during that time. Our brains
aren’t designed to work that way.

So, where you are now is in the calm-after-the storm. You’re
questioning why the sparks aren’t there and you’re wondering what this
means for the future of the relationship. This is the part of the
relationship where everyone gets nervous. Have I made a mistake?  Does
this mean it’s over? How can I reclaim those old feelings? If I love
her, why don’t I feel like I’m in love?

Many people do bale on their relationship at this point because the
only thing they had in common was that chemical euphoria. When they
come out the other end of that they don’t want (or don’t care) to
build a stronger relationship on a foundation of common interests and
steady love. Some people thrive only on the high and so chase one
relationship after another almost like an addiction. The minute it
gets stale they move on.

So, enough of the biology lecture. Let’s get back to you. Rather than
try to recapture that old feeling, you and your partner have to decide
if you can live together in this new dynamic. You have to find the
things you have in common and see if you get any pleasure out of just
doing them together. You have to assess whether you really do share
long-term goals. You need to decide if you have fallen “out of love”
because you really had nothing solid to begin with, or if you have
just moved into the next phase of love -- the pure contentedness of
just living life together. And, last but not least, you need to figure
out if you’re both on the same program. Unfortunately, just because
you want the relationship to work, doesn’t mean she will.

The entire key is communication. Flowers are nice. Love notes are
nice. Sex is nice. But in the end, if you can’t sit down and have an
open conversation about your relationship and where it’s going, then
you’ll never get there. If you can’t do it alone, there are plenty of
counsellors out there who will help you. Sometimes it takes fresh eyes
and ears to really hear what you’re both saying and ask the right
questions. There are also a million self-help books out there on “how
to put the zest back in your relationship,” but fixing the superficial
problems is never a long-term solution.

Love is a verb. It’s not something you sit around and wait for. It’s
something you take active part in. Two people who are in love --
really in good solid love—will naturally attend to all the little
things that make the relationship stick, not because they read it in a
book, but because they care to. They don’t work on “the relationship.”
They work on life, and because they love each other and share life
goals, they grow in that life together as couple.

I’m going to end my lecture here and give you some further reading. I
hope that you can apply what I’ve said to your relationship and
understand that there are no quick fixes. No “10 steps to pure
happiness.” No magic bullets. If that sounds like bad news, it isn’t.
You can take it from me, although that early euphoric stage of love is
one of the best feelings on the planet, there is really nothing like
the feeling that comes with the solid love of a long-term

The Science of Love

Love Chemistry; New Studies Analyze Love's Effects

What Is Chemistry in Love Relationships?

The Chemistry of Love

The Chemistry of Love:

Mysteries of love really boil down to chemistry suggests U.S.

I wish you the best in your relationship, and in life. As I said, I
hope what I’ve written here helps you to understand what you and your
partner are now facing in life. Sit down, be open, talk to each other,
and if you think you need it, find a counsellor to help you through
the process. Only when you understand how you both feel and where you
both want to go, will you be able to move forward together as a couple
through the passage we call life.



Search terms:

Love chemistry
Long-term love

Request for Answer Clarification by coleishebrewforvoice-ga on 17 Sep 2002 12:04 PDT
Possible that I was unclear in my question: 
        We both want it to work. But both of us have been abused in
relationships in the past and have a difficult time when it comes to
trust and communication there of.
         I want to find a way to put these issues behind us, when we
have had good communication in the past it has only been helpful for a
brief time.
         There was a time where the issues never even came about, that
is what I want back.
I know there are phases of a relationship, and I don't strive for the
googly-eyes and flippy heart thing. Just that we can both be happy.

Clarification of Answer by knowledge_seeker-ga on 18 Sep 2002 11:40 PDT
Hi again, 

Yes, it is hard to put past relationships, especially abusive ones,
behind you. The abuse gets ingrained into our subconscious and so many
of our reactions to our current partner are really knee-jerk reactions
based on our former dynamics. The question is, how do you get past
this?  Rule number one is still the tried and true maxim: “Recognition
is the first step to recovery.” You need to recognize when you are
reacting based on some other issue.

One of the best descriptions of a relationship I ever heard was the

Imagine your relationship to be a large cup that you and your partner
are sitting in, facing one another. Now what are you sitting on? You
are each sitting on a suitcase. That suitcase is your baggage. It’s
all of the things that you have brought from past relationships, your
childhood, your experiences in life.

Now here’s the problem – you can only see the other person’s suitcase.
You can’t see your own.  To you it’s perfectly clear why she is acting
the way she is. Her baggage is obvious. But what about yours? She can
see it, but you can’t.  She knows how to fix you and you know how to
fix her. As a result, you each spend more effort addressing the other
person’s suitcase, trying to “help” clear out their baggage. Each of
you knows that if the other would just “get over it” then everything
would be ok.

No, the key is work on your own suitcase.  As you have found, you
can’t just push the issues behind you. They just keep resurfacing
every time there is stress or tension in your life. You have to face
the issues -- process them and understand them -- before you can move
past them.

Now, how to do that?

You have one huge thing working in your favour. BOTH of you want this
to work. BOTH of you are willing to take the steps to help each other
work through the issues that plague you.

You’ve tried talking it out but it’s hard to know what you need to
address and how to make changes. The temptation is always to think
you’re over a certain situation and then just move on. This is where
you need help. I really truly believe that joint counselling is the
best answer. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed in your relationship or
that you are incapable. It just means that you and your partner are
committed enough to each other that you’re willing to work extra hard
to make your relationship work.

There are many resources for such services: online sources, private
counsellors in your area, retreats, worshops, and public service
counsellors who offer services for little or no fee.

Here are some links to examples of such services. These will give you
an idea of the types of services offered. I’ve included my search
terms so that you can use them to find services in your own area. Just
add your city name as part of the search.


Here is a full online service that includes individual phone
counselling, classes, coaching, retreats, and much more. Run by
psychologist and authors John Grey, Ph.D. and Bonney Grey, R.N.





*a note on the retreats if they interest you – make sure they offer
counselling. Retreats that just offer a “week of quiet relaxation” for
the couple does not solve your problem.






Finally, if cost is an issue, you can search your local phone books
for Counselors, Marriage counselors, and Mental Health services for
free or low cost services near you.  An example I can give your from
my local area is that both Catholic Family Services and Jewish Family
Services offer free (or near free) private and group counselling to
anyone who asks for it (without regard to faith). Also the county
mental health office offers private and couples counselling on an
income-based fee scale.

I hope this information suits your purposes better. I’m glad to have
had the opportunity to clarify my previous answer. Thanks for your
question and best of luck!

coleishebrewforvoice-ga rated this answer:3 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: RelationShips, Man and Women, Love
From: klubkid-ga on 30 Oct 2002 19:56 PST
Amazing.. The most informative answer I've seen on GA so far!
Subject: Re: RelationShips, Man and Women, Love
From: spence2680-ga on 03 Nov 2002 22:41 PST
Excellent answer!
Subject: Re: RelationShips, Man and Women, Love
From: mikelant-ga on 15 Nov 2002 12:57 PST
Thanks for that answer, I'm sure it helps a lot of people.  I will put
it in my bookmarks and read it again sometime.
Subject: Re: RelationShips, Man and Women, Love
From: steph1000-ga on 30 Jan 2003 01:38 PST
I would recommend a book called: 
When I Say No, I Feel Guilty  
by Manuel J. Smith 

It's the best book on communication and relationships I've seen.

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