We all want to be super attracted to our partners. The movies pretty much represent the false promise of happily every after – including the fireworks. Because movies last two hours, and then say ‘THE END’. Our minds take over and just assume that it all lasts forever. Then we wonder what went wrong in our own relationships.
It just isn’t a true comparison.
Sexual chemistry is fun. Our neurological and biochemical responses to meeting a mate haven’t evolved much in the past 13,000 years. When you meet a person you like and who likes you, and has the promise of forever, biochemically, your body is telling you that you are safe.
In this day and age, it is often difficult to think in those kinds of practical terms. You just get happy. All of a sudden you have different thoughts. You are more beautiful, you are more witty, the days are more sunny, the bills will get paid soon enough, your mom isn’t really that bad. And, the sex is great!
When you meet a person you like and who likes you, basically you are dating your imagination. As are they. So everything seems so wonderful. Who hasn’t said to themselves, “This is the one! I know it. We talked all night!!” Basically deciding in 5-10 hours that you have met your partner for life.
We call it FIREWORKS!
Why we get so, so, so happy that we have met our true partner is a complicated story. It takes a bit of science talk mixing evolutionary psychology with neurology and physiological responses all mashed up with an internal map of reality that tells us we are safe. And, it can also be a simple story: our deep need for safety and belonging are met.
Then, the inevitable happens. Slowly and surely, we discover who each other really is. If you are lucky time passes and you are still together. You are less and less dating your imagination and more and more dating another human being. Most often this person is not who you imagined. They actually have ‘stuff’ they are dealing with. And they discover the same about you.
Most of us don’t have the communication skills to navigate this part well. We don’t think we should mention the small things we are beginning to not like, so we don’t say anything. Then we get mad that things aren’t changing. We start losing our connection, becoming resigned and suffering in the memory of what could have been, and certainly isn’t. No longer able to hold it in, we use our habits of communication that aren’t very effective. For some it is yelling. For others, it is getting quiet and going away. It is all very dramatic. Kinda like FIREWORKS!
DRAMA does not equal FIREWORKS.
This year try something new.
Rather than being disappointed and resigned, thinking once again you got with someone who isn’t ‘the one’, try speaking up. Share in a way that is responsible for your own experience and share it honestly and compassionately with your partner. Offering your thoughts and judgments as ideas to navigate rather than some kind of truth. Give yourself fully. Invite curiosity into the conversation. Listen to your partner with new ears. Listen for what is in their heart. Hear their deepest truths, concerns, hopes, and their history — accept them for who they are. Be their soft place to land. Listen fully and with an open heart and mind. And share yourself in this same way.
You will quickly see that this kind of intimacy with another is where true FIREWORKS live in a relationship.